Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Paddy Ashdown's letter to Baroness Warsi

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has written a letter to Baroness Warsi, following her resignation from the Foreign Office.

Below is his letter in full.

Dear Sayeeda,

I am writing to you following your resignation this morning from the Government.

It must have been an incredibly difficult decision to step down as Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Your work on human rights, particularly on freedom of religion and belief, is admired by many – including me. I especially recall your efforts to commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica massacre.

Like you, I believe the UK must stand firm on upholding international law. The UK’s international reputation suffers if we do not. I therefore understand the frustrations you voiced in your resignation letter.

You may feel as I do that this is an issue which transcends party politics. And that it is therefore important that those of us who recognise the part that international law and multilateral institutions should play in working towards a lasting peace in the Middle East should work together across party divides.

Of course Hamas’ actions in indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel are plainly illegal. But Israel’s response in Gaza, is clearly disproportionate and has resulted in the collective suffering of innocent men, women and children. As you know, Nick Clegg and I have not shied away from saying this publicly.

We believe Israel should lift the crippling blockade of Gaza and talk directly to Hamas, and we have pushed for the EU to play a greater role in the peace process.

Because of your expertise from the FCO working with international institutions I wonder if it might be worthwhile discussing the next steps needed to secure peace and a just outcome for all innocent victims of the latest crisis?

Yours

Paddy Ashdown