Kabana Restaurant, Glasgow played host to the Question Time with the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband yesterday when the Cabinet met in the city for the first time ever. Organised by the Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA), the event provided a rare opportunity for young Scottish Muslims to put their views and questions to the Minister on matters relating to the UK Government’s foreign policy.
He started by stating that he was the Foreign Secretary for all the communities in the UK and had been to similar gatherings around the country talking to people of different backgrounds. He sought to clarify the misconceptions on what motivates foreign policy, which, he believed amongst others, were human rights and global justice.
The first round of questions concerned the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary said that the UK was not trying to create a colony in Afghanistan and denied that there was any link between the Government’s involvement in Afghanistan and the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan. In relation to Pakistan, the Foreign Secretary reiterated that the UK has long been a staunch promoter of democracy in the country and said this was highlighted by the £480 million worth of aid to the country to tackle poverty and improve health care.
In response to questions relating to the Middle East conflict, the Minister expressed the view that there was no apartheid in Israel stating that Israeli Arabs had recently participated in the country’s general election. He said the Government had long been committed to a two-state solution in accordance with the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the shared capital and a fair return for the refugees.
Speaking to people afterward, the feedback was that it was a smooth performance by a suave and sophisticated politician but while it was great that he spent time with us, it left no more questions answered at the end than were open at the beginning.
Posted by Umar Malik