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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007, 13:49 GMT
'Not enough was done' over terror
Ed Balls with Chancellor Gordon Brown
Mr Balls is a close ally of Chancellor Gordon Brown
One of Gordon Brown's closest advisers has said the government should have "done more at an earlier stage to fight the cultural war" against terrorism.

Treasury Minister Ed Balls said this did not mean ministers should "have done less on military and security".

But there was a need for a "stronger cultural dimension", he told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend.

On Saturday, the chancellor said it was important to win "hearts and minds" to defeat terrorism.

'Political challenge'

He told a conference in London that the government had to win "hearts and minds" to improve the UK's security.

BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabati said Mr Balls' comments would be "seen as a clear indication" of Mr Brown's intentions if he becomes prime minister.

Mr Balls said: "We should have done more at an earlier stage to fight the cultural war - which isn't to say that you would have done less on military and security, but you would have had that stronger cultural dimension too.

"In the same way, I've been doing a great deal of work on the Middle East and the Palestinian and Israeli peace process... that is an inherently political challenge, but at the same time there's a very important economic dimension.

"And probably in retrospect we should have done more on the economic road map to allow economics and prosperity to support the political process."

On Saturday, Mr Brown said: "If you take security, which is a huge issue now, I actually think what's been undervalued is the importance of winning hearts and minds.

"You will not solve the security issues we face, particularly in relation to terrorism, simply by military, policing, intelligence and security action, important as these are."

Mr Brown also said that Africa was a frontline in the fight against terrorism and that bringing Africans out of poverty would be a top priority for his leadership.

"Africa is a strategic as well as moral issue for us," he said.

Last week, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke said Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign policy aspirations had "turned to dust".

He also questioned whether Mr Brown - widely tipped to take over at Number 10 Downing Street - would provide "committed international engagement".

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