Rt. Hon. Dr. Liam Fox, MP, Secretary of State for Defense, UK, and the first acting British defense secretary to visit Israel in decades, discussed the volatile situation in Egypt in his address at the eleventh annual Herzliya Conference nothing that, "We have to ensure that there are building blocks for democracy across the Middle East. The things that give us a higher moral authority is something we cannot deny other nations."
Dr. Fox noted that "threats originating in one part of the globe can be threats toward the rest of the globe and very quickly" and added that "deterrence seeks to avoid conflict and therefore has inherent legitimacy." At the same time, however, he added that deterrence "relies on maintaining the ability to act and having the capability to do so."
He said that the British government was working closely with its major European allies and the United States and pledged to take measures to defuse regional aggression in the Middle East. He also added that "Israel is a key partner in the fight against international terrorism and we should assist each other in intelligence and counter-intelligence." He also stressed that reaching a two state solution was crucial for dealing with the Iran issue and "strategic for regional security."
Fox warned the world that we "must believe that time is not on our side" with regard to Iran; and he stressed that the "international community can be caught out by assuming that the situation is rosier than it is." Using the example of Egypt, he noted, "nothing is set in stone" and events can move at great speed and our ability to control them may be limited. "We will keep the door open for talks if Iran is prepared to talk openly and honestly" but, he ensured, "if Iran gets nuclear weapons, then it can become a disaster…Iranian weapons won't be tolerated by the international community….we will not look away and we will not back down".
Reaching out to the international world, Fox concluded, "Successful nations will be those who look forward and outward, not backwards and inwards…We face many common challenges. We will all be stronger if we face them together with our friends."
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