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UK Switches Diplomatic Focus to Emerging Powers

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TEHRAN, May 11 (ICANA) – Foreign Secretary William Hague Wednesday unveiled changes to the way Britain deploys diplomats around the world, with fewer to be stationed in Europe and more to go to emerging powers, such as China and India.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10:47:25 PM
UK Switches Diplomatic Focus to Emerging Powers

The rebalancing, which also includes more 'frontline staff' sent to Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia, has been adapted in a response to a 10% cut in the Foreign Office funding as well changes in the global power structure.

In a statement to parliament, Hague said that numbers would increase “in China by up to 50 officials and in India by 30, working to transform Britain’s relationship in their fastest growing cities and regions.”

“We will add diplomatic staff in all of the following countries or places: Thailand, Burma, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.” he added.

To pay for the expansions and meet the Foreign Office's budgetary target of a 10% real cut by 2014-15, savings are to be made in Europe, the most expensive region.

Other savings will also be found as Britain over time reduces its diplomatic footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are very large relative to the rest of the network.

'Our Embassies and High Commissions are the essential infrastructure of our country’s influence overseas and of our economic recovery. They provide an early warning system for threats to our security and to wider peace, and assist British nationals in times of crisis.” Hague argued.

“They support our economy and help British businesses access markets abroad. They promote our values of democracy and political freedom across the world and help craft vital international agreements from nuclear proliferation to climate change,” he said.

The aim was to “embark on a substantial reinvigoration of the diplomatic network to make it ready for the 21st century; to expand our connections with the emerging powers of the world, and to signal that where Britain was retreating it is now advancing.”

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