Muslim-West security cooperation 'vital': former British FM
Saudi-US security cooperation on an October parcel bomb plot showed the "vital" need for Western security collaboration with Muslim states, a former British foreign minister said on Monday in Abu Dhabi.
"Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States in the recent bomb plot originating in the Yemen is a stark demonstration of the vital need for real-time cooperation between our countries on security issues," David Miliband said in a talk in Abu Dhabi on the need to expand Muslim-Western cooperation.
The New York Times reported on November 5 that Saudi Arabia gave Washington a credible warning that Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen was planning a terrorist attack against the United States, citing unnamed US and European officials.
Parcels posted to the United States from Yemen containing the deadly explosive PETN were discovered in Dubai and Britain on October 28, in a plot later claimed by Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch.
However, Miliband argued in his speech that cooperation between Muslim and Western states should be expanded across the board, and not limited to security issues.
"The rationale for cooperation is often linked to security issues, but... I think this is insufficient," he said, adding that "if we only focus on that, we would compound the sense of disrespect and imbalance in relations."
"The case for closer cooperation between the West and Muslim-majority countries is very urgent."
"Across the world, a billion-plus-strong Muslim community... represents a source of wealth, of ideas, of innovation that are going to be vital in solving the world's problems," he said.
"In other words, our fate is bound more closely together than ever before."
Miliband, of Britain's Labour party, was foreign minister for three years from 2007, until a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government took power following general elections in May.
© 2010 AFP