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Warning over 'Islamist Autumn'

Warning over 'Islamist Autumn'
The Foreign Secretary has urged the West not to lose faith in the Arab Spring, after his predecessor warned it was in danger of being succeeded by an “Islamist Autumn”.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband said the “political winners” of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip were the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and their Islamist sister-party Hamas.

He claimed there was “a new set up” in the region, with three emerging powers - Turkey, Egypt and Qatar – fostering close links with Islamists.

“It’s old violence in a new Middle East. The big losers are obviously the very high numbers of Palestinian casualties, also five Israelis killed. But the political winners are clearly Hamas and president Morsi of Egypt,” he said.

“Egypt is returning to a very powerful role in the Middle East. In fact there are three countries that are really on the rise in the Middle East. There’s Egypt, there’s Turkey and there’s Qatar.

“That’s why I think it’s right to say that the Arab Spring is being succeeded by an Islamist autumn. These countries, these three countries, they’ve got close links to Hamas, they’ve got links into Iran as well, and they have difficult relations with the West. That’s the new set up in the Middle East.”

Appearing on the same programme, William Hague said the UK must “tread carefully” in the region, but warned against the West “losing faith” in the Arab Spring.

“Each crisis that we’re seeing in the Arab world is different from the others, but nevertheless they have something in common, which is people who do want what we want for our country: economic success, dignity, a peaceful way of life,” he said.

“We’ve got to respect that and keep some faith with those people, with millions of people who want those things, understanding though, that this process will throw up endless crises, conflicts and difficulties over a long period of time. So I don’t think we should lose faith in the Arab Spring.”

Green Box: Warning over 'Islamist Autumn'Click to open

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On air

William Hague: Sometimes less is more in Europe

25/11/2012 on The Andrew Marr Show, BBC 1