[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
In full: David Miliband speech
Here is the full text of Foreign Secretary David Miliband's speech to the 2007 Labour Party conference:

I feel a profound sense of responsibility as we discuss foreign policy today.

With the successes but also the scars of ten years in government, we have to learn the right lessons and address the new issues.

Succeed and we'll move on with unity and confidence.

Just reflect on our world today.

Fewer countries at war than ever before.

More democracies than ever before.

More children surviving infancy, more girls and women getting education.

More trade, more travel, more connections between people.

Around the globe, aspiration unleashed.

And I don't know about you, but I think, from Tsunami Relief to the battle against climate change, that there is a stronger sense that we share this planet, and so need to do more for each other.

We all just listened to Ikhlas Mohammed.

Let's give her a message back: we will not forget you and we will not let you down.

The progress is inspiring.

But the insecurities are real and potent.

Religious extremism with one brutal aim: to use murder to divide us.

Global inequality symbolised by one shocking fact: in our rich world, richer than ever, 2.

6 billion people, nearly half of the developing world's population, live on 1 a day.

And climate change sending one stark warning, every week and every year: the world, we, have got to stop living beyond our means.

New, global, complex, overlapping insecurities, compounded by international institutions defined for the power politics of the 1950s not the realities of our lives in the 21st century.

Ten years in government.

New challenges.

Time to learn the right lessons and move on.

For ten years we've been uncompromising in defence of our values, unapologetic that every citizen of every nation deserves the freedom and equal rights of a true democracy.

I believe we were right to do so.

But when I went to Pakistan, I met young, educated, articulate people in their 20s and 30s who told me millions of Muslims around the world think we're seeking not to empower them but to dominate them.

So we have to stop and we have to think.

The lesson is that it's not good enough to have good intentions.

To assert shared values is not enough.

We must embody them in shared institutions.

That's why Europe can't be a closed Christian club, why a lasting settlement for the people of Kosovo is a defining test for the whole of Europe, and why Turkey should become a full and equal member of the EU.

We're right to be supporting the Government and people of Afghanistan in driving back terrorism.

But we also need them to work with Pakistan to build strong, stable, democratic countries able to tackle terrorism on both sides of the border.

And Al Qaeda are using the suffering of the Palestinians as an excuse for violence.

We need to remove the excuse.

We need urgent progress to address Israeli security and Palestinian rights through the only solution, a two state solution in the Middle East.

Ten years in government.

Time to learn the right lessons and move on to address the new issues.

Four times we've sent young men and women to fight for our values.

Rightly in my view.

And we cannot forget their bravery and their sacrifice.

But while we've won the wars it's been harder to win the peace.

The lesson is that while there are military victories there never is a military "solution".

There's only military action that creates the space for economic and political life.

The war in Iraq was divisive in our party and in our country.

It was a huge decision and the passion on all sides was sincere and understandable.

But whatever the rights and wrongs, and there have been both, we've got to focus on the future.

We need to continue to support the development of an effective Iraqi Security Force.

We need to keep our promise to all Iraqis that they will have an economic stake in the future of their country.

And we need to work with all the neighbours of Iraq to reconcile Sunnis and Shias, to prevent that conflict first fragmenting the country and then spreading like a contagion across the Middle East.

Ten years in government.

We've talked about being a bridge between Europe and America.

I've made that speech.

I'll always defend our alliance with the US and our membership of the EU.

For me, both are permanent commitments, beyond individual personalities, not tactical positions.

But I have to acknowledge that both Europe and America are less popular now than ten years ago.

It's not enough to talk about a bridge.

So what do we do? Some want distance from America.

Others want distance from Europe.

The Tories want divorce from both.

But those are the wrong lessons.

We share core values with America.

It has more power for good than any nation in the world.

And we must come together in a great project.

In the 1940s and 50s we built international institutions to promote peace for a divided globe.

Today, we need institutions which re-define the global rules for our shared planet.

From Burma to Zimbabwe we need to ensure all countries feel it's better to play by the rules rather than ignore them.

And while I'm at it wasn't it brilliant to see Aung San Suu Kyi alive and well outside her house last week.

I think it will be a hundred times better when she takes her rightful place as the elected leader of a free and democratic Burma.

And the EU, for all the attacks on it, is one international institution we need today.

The European Arrest Warrant snared the 21st July bomber.

European commitments are leading the fight against climate change.

Europe needs to look out, not in, to the problems beyond its borders that define insecurity within our borders.

It doesn't need institutional navel-gazing and that is why the Reform Treaty abandons fundamental constitutional reform and offers clear protections for national sovereignty.

It should be studied and passed by Parliament.

And to every Tory MP we should say: there are 8 members of your shadow cabinet who voted against a referendum on The Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

Europe has divided them for 15 years and it's not going to divide us.

Ten years in government.

Now a new chapter.

Yes the world can be a scary place.

Yes it's tempting to lower our sights.

But in progressive politics we must always be restless for change.

And that means we have to be restless about the future, not the past.

Who says in ten years time, we will not have turned back the inexorable rise in global emissions? Who says in ten years time every child in the world won't be at school? Who says in ten years time, there can't be a democratic and respected Iran, cooperating with us and the international community against global terrorism? I'll tell you who.

The same people who say my generation doesn't care about politics.

But my generation has seen the force of progress.

We heard the President of East Germany say the Berlin Wall would last 100 years.

One month later, we watched young people, our age, in East Germany tear it down.

We are the optimistic generation not because we are young but because of our experience.

So from the debates at the UN Security Council to the arguments on the doorstep let's move on with humility but also pride.

Progress is possible.

Britain has a vital role to play.

And the prize is immense.

Not the end of history but more people better educated, better fed, better off, better able to make their own history.

Better able to share, peacefully, this "crowded, dangerous, beautiful world".

And that, after all, is what our foreign policy, the second wave of New Labour foreign policy, is all about.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific