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Cook's motorcade gets the Prescott treatment ... Gabriel ELECTION 2000: 'Ethical dimension' to be pursued if granted more time: CAMPAIGN TRAIL ROBIN COOK: He was under fire again yesterday but the foreign secretary has no regrets about his 1997 pledge. Financial Times; May 25, 2001 By ANDREW PARKER Robin Cook yesterday insisted he had no regrets over his much ridiculed "ethical" foreign policy and hinted he was confident of remaining foreign secretary after the election. Asked if he hoped to realise his ambition to become the longest-serving Labour foreign secretary - breaking the five-and-a-half year record of Ernest Bevin - Mr Cook said it was a matter for Tony Blair to decide. "I have enjoyed the last four years, and we have a lot of work in hand," he told the Financial Times. "I will be glad of the chance to finish the task which I have set in hand, but it is the prime minister's call." A second Labour term would allow Mr Cook to continue to promote the potential benefits of British membership of the euro, which he believes are substantial. "It would deal a fatal blow to rip-off Britain. It would make people ask why they pay more for CDs here than they would in the EU," he explained. But a dominant theme of a second term could also be his determination to persevere with an "ethical dimension" to foreign policy. It came under fire from angry students when Mr Cook visited Norwich yesterday to support the local Labour candidate. Students at the University of East Anglia complained that Labour had not been tough enough on Burma's military regime and criticised the government's stance on Iraq. Eggs were thrown at the foreign secretary's car as he left the university's sports centre. Asked if he had any regrets about his 1997 promise to deliver the "ethical dimension" - repeatedly lampooned by the Conservatives, partly because Labour has allowed arms sales to countries such as Zimbabwe - the foreign secretary replied: "Certainly not." He added: "Many of the people who follow the human rights agenda closely have given a lot of support to what we have done." But Mr Cook tacitly admitted that Britain and the US have been losing the propaganda war with Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq. Former United Nations officials have accused the UK and the US of prolonging the suffering of the Iraqi people through UN sanctions. Britain is working on a new UN Security Council resolution to improve the sanctions regime. "It's important we change the terms of the debate and make clear where the responsibility lies for the suffering of the Iraqi people," Mr Cook said. "It is with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime." He also defended the government's failure to pass legislation to overhaul Britain's antiquated arms export controls, as recommended by the 1996 report into the arms-to-Iraq affair. Mr Cook pointed to draft legislation published recently. The foreign secretary did nothing to dispel the impression that he is highly sceptical about the US administration's plans for missile defences against rogue nuclear states. The prime minister signalled his support for the defences in February but he told the Commons this month the government would not spell out its position until the US produced detailed proposals. Mr Blair faces increasing opposition from Labour MPs to the US plans because of fears they will unleash a new arms race. Mr Cook, asked if Labour supports the US plans, said: "No. Tony was quite specific in the House of Commons. We cannot give an answer to a question until we know what the question is." As well as avoiding lengthy discussion of the US plans, the government is desperate to stop the euro becoming an issue in the election campaign. Mr Cook is reluctant to explain if Britain is closer to satisfying Labour's five economic tests that would determine euro membership than when the criteria were announced in 1997. Opinion polls suggest people are three to one against membership but he believes a referendum can be won early in the next parliament if the tests are met. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk