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'Failed states can harbour terrorism'

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown does not specify any country in the context of failing states but it is seen as veiled reference to Pakistan.

delhi Updated: Jan 21, 2008 18:38 IST

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday underlined the dangers posed by "failed states and failing states" by harbouring terrorism and proposed a global network to combat extremists.

In a major speech in New Delhi, Brown did not specify any country in the context of failing states but it is seen as veiled reference to Pakistan which is regarded in the West as a breeding ground for terrorism and extremism.

"Failed states can harbour terrorism and be a source of disorder and then spread right across the international community," he said during a meeting with industry leaders of the two countries.

Brown, who is on his maiden visit to India after becoming Prime Minister, said the world was not currently equipped to respond to the rise of non-state terrorism and spread of weapons of mass destruction.

"So it is time to set a new and ambitious agenda to prevent conflict and to stabilise and reconstruct failing and failed states," he said.

He spoke of "serious challenges" from Iran and North Korea and wanted a powerful signal to be sent to the international community that the "race for bigger stockpiles of nuclear destruction is over".

Sharing India's concerns over terrorism, Brown said Britain would stand together with this country in combating the menace.

He recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's words that the two countries would work together in a "coherent global effort with shared perspectives and commitments to combat terrorism wherever and whenever such attacks take place".

Brown proposed that all countries strengthen networks of global law enforcement authorities, intelligence agents, police and financial regulators.

He said stalemate on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) must be addressed.

"Britain is prepared to utilise our expertise to help determine the requirements for the verifiable elimination of nuclear warheads," he said.

The British Prime Minister spoke of "significant new interest" in nuclear power as a source of energy supply.

"This increased interest brings with it increased risks of proliferation," he said without directly referring to India which has been seeking global support for securing civil nuclear energy.

"So Britain will press for early agreement to a new IAEA-led international system to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need, including through an enrichment bond," he said.

Brown, however, put a rider saying this offer must be made "only in return for firm commitments to the highest non-proliferation standards".

On the issue of climate change, Brown proposed creation of a $ 2 billion global fund within the World Bank Clean Energy Investment Framework for financing low carbon investment, sustainable forestry programme and climate resilient development in the poorest countries.

This fund would build on Britain's $ 1.6 billion international environment transformation fund.

"There should be a new international framework for providing climate change assistance from the developed to the developing world - a change which can reduce environmental degradation and increase prosperity for all," the British Prime Minister said.

He said as the international community moved from breakthrough at Bali last month towards a post 2012 global climate agreement "we must devise a framework that benefits the world's poor as well as its developed and emerging nations".

While the World Bank's focus on poverty reduction should be strengthened, integrated climate change approach should be ensured, he said.