Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

Interested parties are invited to comment.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Monday, 12 September 2011

British Foreign Secretary talks about Britain's new diplomatic thrust

Thursday September 8, Foreign Secretary William Hague outlined Britain's new foreign policy outlook in a speech at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. I have picked out the most interesting points from his talk; strikingly, the admission of Britain's waning influence across the world.

"We are significantly increasing our diplomatic presence in India and China, the world’s two emerging superpowers by increasing the number of frontline staff in each country by 30 and 50 positions respectively, and focussing on their fastest growing cities and regions in each country, some of which have GDPs larger than whole European countries.

We are substantially expanding our diplomatic strength in Brazil, Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines and our presence in Taiwan, maintaining the strength of our delegations to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, NATO and the European Union and keeping our network of Consulates General across the United States.

We have made a firm pledge that this Government will not close any of the existing 140 UK Sovereign Posts overseas - which means Embassies or High Commissions - during the lifetime of this Parliament; and we will open six new Embassies and up to seven new Consulates General in the emerging economies, including one in Recife in Brazil.

Our new Embassies are in South Sudan, where we opened our new Embassy the day that new state came into being;

In Kyrgyzstan, where our new Embassy will open later this year;

In Côte D’Ivoire, where I announced this week that we will re-open the Embassy that was closed in 2005;

In El Salvador and Madagascar where we are also reopening posts closed by the previous government;

And in due course, we hope to open a new Embassy in Somalia. It is not possible now because of the security situation, but we will be ready as soon as we judge that circumstances permit, and in the meantime we will set up an Embassy for Somalia in Nairobi.

This effort is aimed at preventing what I call the strategic shrinkage of Britain’s influence in the world.

In the countries where Embassies had closed that we are now re-opening, we are sending a signal that Britain is back in the business of serious diplomacy with them. Where we are increasing the numbers of FCO staff and consulates, we are able to build deeper diplomatic relationships and do more for British business and British citizens."

No comments: