WITH election fever in the air, it is easy to dwell on domestic politics and forget what is happening in the world beyond.

But events like those in Burma remind us both of the stability of our own country and our duty to parts of the world where oppressive regimes and natural disasters prevent millions of people living their lives in peace.

Earlier this year I visited the West Bank and saw conditions for Palestinians living under siege conditions in their own country. Recently I spoke about what I saw at a meeting of the West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign, alongside politicians from all parties and a representative of the Palestinian Government.

There are two foreign policy issues that dominate my postbag. The Middle East is one, Africa is the other. Zimbabwe, Darfur, the Congo and continuing hostilities in the Horn of Africa are some of the greatest challenges facing the international community. But they are also of great concern to constituents here, whether or not they have a personal link to the countries concerned.

Africa dominated the agenda at a recent local meeting organised by Oxfam at which I spoke. The subject was how should Gordon Brown tackle global poverty?' But speakers and audience alike turned to the immediate problems of Africa.

I am very impressed by the knowledge and commitment shown by so many local people about events happening across the world. And this includes Labour's new candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, Bassam Mahfouz, who made a very well-received speech to the Labour Conference last week about the situation in Darfur.

In my new role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Africa and Asia, I hope I will be able to contribute more to what the Brown government is pledged to do internationally.

Both Bassam and I run websites where these issues are discussed, please visit us at www.andyslaughter.com or www.bassam4ealingacton.com