Nick Ferrari questions Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab | Watch Live from 7.50am

Nick Ferrari questions Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab | Watch Live from 7.50am

nick ferrari at breakfast call 0345 6060973 10 minutes before eight will continue to assess the strength of the special relationship in a moment but let’s get an update on affairs in afghanistan in kabul from foreign secretary dominic raab who joins me now yesterday you were able to tell us so you wrote that they had 1372 british nationals and their dependents 3 866 former interpreters and others 1167 nationals from other countries and 226 eligible people including british embassy staff what are those figures updated this morning a foreign secretary good morning good morning nick so over the last 24 hours we secured around 2 000 extra people out which is the combination the total of those groups if you take it uh since the 15th of august we’ve secured safe passage of over 9 000 people if you go back to april and the commercial flights and our message to british nationals to leave afghanistan the start of the arab scheme for afghan workers over 11 000 people have returned to the uk no country has done better uh in this regard and i think it’s the most challenging and the biggest uh safe passage airlift operation conducted in living memory but of course what we’re focused on in the hours and days ahead is getting out the the residual number of people that we that are still in kabul or stood in afghanistan you say hours and days you know i’m going to press you on this foreign secretary are we talking days yes i think we’re talking uh days rather than weeks but uh the precise time frame will depend on how much the military planners need to get out at the end of the evacuation their personnel and their equipment so what we’ll focus again we’ve got the output because of the brilliant team we’ve got in kabul backed up by the foreign officers emergency response team it’s a cross-government initiative we’re going to keep maximizing that output 2 000 people in the last 24 hours and so the days ahead will be critical and we’ll get as many people out the brits uh the the afghans that worked for us uh we’ve already got uh the achieving scholars coming out we’ve got journalists and others uh female rights activists are scheduled to come out in the um hours and days ahead we’re going to maximize the number we can given the situation and subject to the situation on the ground everything looks clear in hindsight but can i put it to you we should have perhaps been looking to move more people earlier in the piece you you mentioned from april or around 11 000 but you also said from the 15th of august 9 000. so april until the middle of august a broadly speaking 2000. look it’s so easy in hindsight but we could have done a lot better for the secretary well you’re absolutely right that it has been something like 2500 um since april uh but of course it was only as the situation deteriorated and that came late in terms of the collapse of uh authority in kabul given that trajectory it wasn’t if you like a slow incremental deterioration that’s why you’ve seen this last surge or a relatively late surge to the door the point um that i think is obvious and demonstrable from april is that we had the the capacity and we were providing the support consular support the arab scheme for afghan workers to get people out um so but but but dealing with the situation on the ground is is is being very challenging where everyone can see that from their their tv screens and it’s even more complex um than that is being able to show can you give my listeners a rough idea how many individuals are left hoping for evacuation well as i say we’ve got uh over 11 000 out no sorry how many are left my apologies yeah i i i look the the they’re um it’s difficult to gauge the numbers because it’s not just those that are left but it’s those that actually want to come out so just to give you a sense we’ve we’ve uh secured the return of around 2500 british nationals including their dependents almost all of the mono british nationals that’s just straight british nationals with documentation have now returned almost all so we’re left with the very complex cases which sometimes means large family units of whom some are national some aren’t some are documented some aren’t so it’s working through those and we’ll get through as many of those cases and make sure that those that are eligible can come back in the way that we have done as i said since april um looking at events yesterday in the g7 summit is a special relationship over foreign secretary no of course it isn’t it’s um it matters a huge amount you say of course it isn’t it wasn’t particularly forthcoming or fruitful conversations between the prime minister and the president biden was it well i think the prime minister was right to convene the g7 as a whole i think a lot of countries wanted a test can we have some more days it’s very clear from the the the that we’ll now be working to the end of august we’re going to have to work with that reality but i think also as well as safe passage it was in right that the pm got the major economies the major countries together to not just talk about the safe passage but counter-terrorism the humanitarian situation what we’re going to do to exercise moderating influence on human rights and of course um the taliban is saying and overnight their spokesperson says that they want to avoid the brain drain from afghanistan um and the only way they’ll be able to achieve that is by uh exercising a more a less malign and more inclusive approach than the previous taliban regime and we’ve got to exercise every lever we’ve got at our disposal to try and exercise maximum moderating influence you’ve got to do that with a broader caucus of countries and that’s why the pm got the g7 together but and i’m sure he tried very hard but isn’t this a role for the united nations foreign secretary yeah absolutely they will have a role which is so at the g7 meeting the un secretary general was there i spoke to in the last 24 hours jean or no the afghan special envoy from the secretary general what we want to try and achieve is not just g7 approach we want to bring in the permanent members of the security council that includes china who i’ve spoken to my opposite number inc will include russia we also need to bring in the regional partners uh pakistan india i’ve spoken to both of those foreign ministers and the um will have an important coordinating role but also a role in relation to the humanitarian effort which will require the taliban to allow a permissive environment if i could put it that way because uh western countries and donor countries will not give directly to the taliban they’ll want to give via human rights uh sorry humanitarian agencies and u.n agencies that are on the ground if that’s gonna happen the taliban will have to do some things too okay um is it true now that the taliban are preventing afghan nationals from trying to get to kabul airport we’ve seen pitted examples of this um right in recent weeks and uh the the taliban are saying that they on the one hand they don’t want their talented people to leave and i think that the uh what’s happening on the ground reflects that equally they’ve given us assurances about getting out our nationals but also the people that work for us um and other groups so we will hold them to those assurances and i think it’s an incredibly important test if the taliban wants to avoid a collapse of their economic their social system they’re going to need to engage constructively uh with the international community and the uk the us and many others so this will be an important test for them and whether the the this iteration of the taliban is uh less malign and capable of being more inclusive than the previous one notwithstanding the message in your article in yesterday and yesterday’s daily telegraph candidly foreign secretary this is what defeat looks like isn’t it look we we no one is saying that we wanted to be in this situation but this is definitely isn’t it when we can really only operate with the compliance of the taliban this is a defeat look we deal with the reality the i think the answer can i put it to you again the reality it is a defeat isn’t it well it depends it depends if the taliban given the levers we have at our disposal the international financial institutions that they want to access the odor the avoiding further sanctions if they want to engage in a more inclusive way they’re going to have to bring in other factions of afghan political representation there is therefore the possibility of a more positive more constructive regime um but look we we’re uh not happy about the situation and concerned about the situation but we deal with the reality as we see it and our priorities are counter-terrorism safe passage of our nationals and those that work for us and trying to avoid a devastating humanitarian crisis which looms and it looms for the taliban which i don’t think wants to inherit that and would have an impact on regional stability as well can you just take briefly take you back to some figures you quoted us earlier you said that no country has done better than the united kingdom eleven thousand repression we have double checked this figure the united states has got 70 000 people out so clearly they’ve done better have you got i mean but proportionately to the nationals and the size of our country i don’t think uh in the time frame we’re dealing with people on the ground in afghanistan aren’t we we’re not with a chunk of the united states population it’s what you are presented with so for you to say we’ve done better than any other nation eleven thousand plays the united states seventy thousand is palpably wrong proportion of as a proportion of the nationals and the workers that they have in country so there are seven times the number of americans are there i look i i don’t think if you look at the number and the quality and the range of people that any country has done better but look we it’s a team effort we’re working with the united states with the other countries um and i think we should be uh of course uh surging every single an effort to get uh everyone out uh by uh or as many people out by the the deadline they’ve got but the fact that we’ve secured the safe passage of 11 000 people out is a significant achievement i don’t think it’s been done uh before and certainly not in living memory of the uk just the last couple of things it’s reported that the prime minister is thinking that billions of pounds of frozen afghan assets could be unfrozen if the taliban were to grant more time to allow people to leave the country would you support that of course the pm and i are very clear if the taliban want access to the international financial institutions and the and the resources that will be enable them to avoid the collapse of institutions the economy they will have to do a range of things too safe passage is the top priority but it’s not the only one they’ll need to give clear credible verifiable issuances that uh that they they’re clamping down on the on the risk of terrorist attacks from outside of afghanistan there are other things around the way they treat women but that gives you an example of the one of the levers that we’ve got such as they are so you would support that the unfreezing just to be specific i i support the use of all the tools and all the levers we’ve got including access to financial institutions uh and that will be a multilateral decision uh the the scope for further sanctions and indeed uh the being clear on the insurances in order to provide any aid would never be done to the taliban but via third-party groups like the un like ngos they will have to step up to the plate and provide assurances and demonstrate through their conduct that they can live by those assurances if they want to access those kind of funds and avoid the collapse of the situation um in afghanistan a couple of other matters reminding of course the listeners your role in brexit we’re waking up headlines today that retail crisis stocks are at their lowest level since 1983 is this as a result of the brexit that you helped deliver well i think there’s been an issue reported i think referring to the hgvs and the question of whether uh produce can get through to the stores this is the confederation of british industry saying stock levels in relation to expected sales are at their lowest level in august since tracking began in 1983. and i think there is any association with the brexit that you helped deliver and i think they’re attributing it to the availability of staff for hgvs and what we’re doing is streamlining the process uh to get more uk uh and other people uh being able to man those hgvs um i would point uh of course to the huge opportunities that we talked about in relation to brexit the the growing number of free trade deals that we’ve not just done uh concluded but but are seeking to conclude including the trans-pacific um the the cptpp uh trans-pacific free trade deal which will create enormous trading opportunities and liz trust is working uh shoulder to the wheel on all of those so we’ll deal with the hgv situation i think we’ve got uh the the department of transport got a good grip on that and we’ll manage those challenges but we’re also ready to grasp the enormous opportunities and i think the trade secretary has done a great job in all of that and the foreign office is backing her up all the way all right lastly it was reported on the weekend that it was requested you came back from that holiday now that infamous holiday on friday but you did not return until the early hours of monday morning is that true no that’s not true i’m not going to get drawn on all of that i answered those questions over the weekend our focus as a government mine was on making sure we secured the airport and the capacity to get as many people back as possible and we got over 9 000 people back i think that shows you that in the foreign office myself and across government we were on the job all right and last year’s anyone spoken to paul or penn farthing he’s the former marine who’s running an animal uh charity in afghanistan he’s trying to get a number of his colleagues out there had been exchanges between him and your former your colleague i’m sorry your colleague ben wallace have we picked up those communications again has someone spoken to the marine well there’s uh engagement with uh his charity uh we’re trying to do what we can for the staff but i i in terms of the animals and uh the question of whether they can be prioritized ahead of uh the other people that are trying to get out i don’t have anything more to add to what the defense secretary i think rightly said um uh over the last 24 hours foreign secretary dominic rob thank you for your time appearing here on obc one four minutes after eight news is next on your radio on global player and play lbc leading britain’s conversation this is lbc from global’s newsroom at eight o’clock joe biden says the sooner american troops can leave afghanistan the better because of the increased
rn

Nick Ferrari questions Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab | Watch Live from 7.50am

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *