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British PM Calls For Global Action On Terror

PM calls for global action on terror

The Prime Minister has called for greater cooperation between countries to combat terrorism and the ideologies that fuel it.

Speaking at a press conference shortly after arriving in New Delhi for the second leg of his overseas trip, Mr Brown said he wanted "closer ties" between the UK and India to isolate extremists and win the "battle for hearts and minds". Measures that could be introduced to disrupt terrorist activity include more secure detection at ports and airports to prevent the movement of terrorist weapons or bomb-making equipment, he said.

The PM said:

"What I would like to see is greater contact between our two countries in winning the battle of hearts and minds, isolating extremist ideologues who are trying to poison young people in the views that they have. What I would also like to see is greater cooperation between our security agencies."

Speaking separately to Sky News, Mr Brown added that he had asked India to sign up to the Financial Action Task Force, joined recently by China, the international body charged with uncovering and disabling funding channels of terrorist organisations.

He said:

"In all countries in the world, we should have a very strong message going out against extremist ideologies which poison young people in particular and breed terrorists for the future."

The PM was greeted at New Delhi airport by Commerce Minister Ashwani Kumar and will later hold talks with counterpart Manmohan Singh. Discussions are expected to focus heavily on economic and trade issues as well as security.

***

PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT

Prime Minister: Can I say what a great privilege it is for me to be here in Delhi and here in India to celebrate what I believe is a partnership of equals, India and Britain, two confident 21st century economies, the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy working together for common objectives. And I am here to build a stronger and strengthening relationship between our two countries. Trade between India and Britain has doubled in the last five years, it is rising by 20% a year. We have Indian companies locating in Britain and British companies locating in India, there are $10 billion of contracts waiting to be signed for important new developments that will build stronger bridges between our two countries, Britain benefiting from Indian ownership of British Steel for example and 26 companies now registered on the London Stock Exchange, at the same time India benefiting from massive telecommunications investment from Britain, pharmaceuticals investment, infrastructure investment and of course new education exchanges between India and Britain.

So I believe in the next two days we will be able to strengthen that economic relationship and we will work together on great issues that affect both our continents - security and terrorism, the environment, education and science exchanges, and today of course I am visiting the Women's Empowerment event here, and later I will go on to an Entrepreneurs Seminar where entrepreneurs in both India and Britain will be exchanging views about the future. This partnership of equals will move forward with stronger bonds in the years to come and I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Singh later today to discuss how we can work together also to reform and renew the international institutions.

I am very happy to answer any questions that people have.

Question: Prime Minister on cooperation on terrorism between Britain and India, what is not happening now that you would like to see happening?

Prime Minister: I think every country in the world will look at how it can do more to strengthen its resolve and strengthen the weapons it will use in the fight against terrorism. And we have just heard reported today an incident in Spain where there have been arrests, and these arrests of course raise questions about how we can cooperate internationally in the fight against terrorism. What I would like to see is greater contact between our two countries in winning the battle of hearts and minds, isolating extremist ideologues who are trying to poison young people in the views that they have. What I would also like to see is greater cooperation between our security agencies. And I believe that we can introduce at our ports and airports even more sophisticated detection systems that will enable us to prevent people who are carrying weapons or explosive materials from moving between countries. So in all areas in all countries in Asia and Europe, as well as in America, I expect cooperation in security and against terrorism be intensified in the years to come and I will talk about these very issues with Prime Minister Singh this evening.

Question: ... criticised the Indian government for doing very little on this front. What do you feel about this?

Prime Minister: The Indian government played a very notable part in the Bali talks on the environment and we now look forward to further discussions that Britain, India and many other countries will be involved in in making sure that the post-Kyoto agreement on climate change yield all the results that we want, and that is that we see carbon emissions brought under control in the world, we see investment in renewable and alternative sources of energy, and we see a worldwide agreement that can work post-2012 in which Asia, Europe, indeed all the continents can play their part in making work. So from Bali I am positive about the constructive role that Britain and India can play in securing a new climate change agreement.

Question: Prime Minister on Northern Rock, back home people are looking at the government's latest plans and are thinking it looks like a subsidy to whoever buys Northern Rock - probably Richard Branson. It looks like you are sweetening the deal for him, coming to a cosy arrangement with someone who happens to be with you on the trip. Can you reassure them?

Prime Minister: I can reassure people entirely that any negotiations about Northern Rock will be taking place in London. If a number of commercial companies are expressing interest in the future of Northern Rock then it is right that the government explore all options available to us. And I repeat that all options are under consideration and that includes the public ownership of Northern Rock, and that will be a decision that will be made once the negotiations are moving forward and we see what are the results of the discussions that are taking place. So we would be failing in our duty if we did not look at the commercial offers that have been made. The Goldman Sachs report has recommended a number of different options. These will be explored in the next period of time and then a decision will be made. But I remind you that the reason why we had to intervene in Northern Rock, the reason why there are now discussions taking place is that it is in everybody's interest that we secure the stability of the financial system. And what happened in August was a danger that the problems at Northern Rock, which were caused by a bad business plan, would spill over into other financial institutions and have a major effect on the British economy. The reason why we intervened was to secure the stability of the financial system, that is what has happened over the last four months and that is the basis on which we move forward. At all times the stability of the financial system will be our first priority.

Question: My question is on Myanmar. Was it raised in your talks with the Chinese leader, will you be discussing it with the Indian leaders and will you pressurise them to take a more pro-active stand on the issue?

Prime Minister: It is very important that we realise that international action is necessary to persuade the Burmese government that they have got to take seriously all the problems that exist in their country. And I want to see regular discussions between Aung San Su Kyi and the Burmese administration so that we have reconciliation and a move towards democracy in this troubled country. I want to see an end to all the violence and the release of political prisoners in Burma. I am pleased to say that the Chinese government is working with the UK government. We will be looking at how we can persuade the Burmese regime that it is important that Mr Gambari, the UN Envoy, returns to Burma as soon as possible. I would like to see the UN Secretary General empowered to visit Burma at a later date, and I would like to see an agreement that the Burmese government will move towards not only reconciliation with those people where there has been disagreement, but also that there is a move towards democracy in the country. I will also be raising the issue, as I have done so in telephone calls, with Prime Minister Singh because I believe that India, as well as China, has an important role to play in making sure that the end to violence happens in Burma and there is reconciliation between the different parties.


ENDS

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