General

  By a Newsnet reporter

The UK Government, represented by Foreign Secretary William Hague, will today sign an agreement in Ottawa with the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to allow the UK and Canada to share embassies in third countries.  The measure is intended expand the global presence of both countries while keeping costs down.

As part of the agreement, in countries where the UK has a diplomatic presence but Canada does not, the two states will share the embassy or consulate – and vice versa.   The UK Government has already signalled its intention to sign similar deals later this year with Australia and New Zealand, allowing the four Commonwealth members to pool their embassy and consular resources.

In a statement, Mr Hague said:

“We have stood shoulder to shoulder from the great wars of the last century to fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and supporting Arab Spring nations like Libya and Syria.  We are first cousins.  So it is natural that we look to link up our embassies with Canada’s in places where that suits both countries.  It will give us a bigger reach abroad for our businesses and people for less cost.

“As the Prime Minister said when addressing the Canadian Parliament last year:  ‘We are two nations, but under one Queen and united by one set of values.'”

A spokesperson for the Canadian Government said:

“At a time when governments around the world face more demands for their foreign investments than there are funds, collocating with our most trusted allies and making the most of our shared resources makes perfect sense.  It increases our diplomatic reach in a cost-efficient way.”

The deal is another blow to claims by anti-independence parties, who have asserted that in the event of Scottish independence, Scotland would lose out on access to UK embassies around the globe, and would face the expense of building its own embassy network from scratch.

The Scottish Government maintains that an independent Scotland would be entitled to a proportional share of the UK’s embassies and consulates.  The fact that the UK Government has now signed a deal with another independent nation to share embassies sets a precedent for an independent Scotland to share embassy facilities with the rump-UK.


Comments  

 
#
Desperate Dora
2012-09-24 09:50

An independent Scotland could share an embassy with any other country which agreed to it. There is no reason why that other country would have to be rUK. It could be Ireland, for example. In fact, some countries don’t have embassies at all, just roving ambassadors who are sent to other countries when required – I think one of the Scandinavian countries does this, maybe Denmark.

We really need to get away from the idea that an independent Scotland will be Westminster writ small and start to think outside of the box. It’s time to look at doing things differently.
 
 
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hiorta
2012-09-24 10:16

Burlington Bertie, but just pretend to be wealthy and no one will twig.
 
 
#
IXL
2012-09-24 11:34

Quoting hiorta:

Burlington Bertie


Absolutely !
“Burlington Bertie – I rise at 10:30,
My people are well off you know…”

No – someone else’s people are well off you know – and we’re taking it ALL with us. 🙂

Alba Gu Brath

 

 
#
Jimbo
2012-09-24 11:38

So, will the Canadian embassy get a share of the money the UK embassy charge the Scottish whisky trade for promoting their brands?
 
 
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Roll_On_2011
2012-09-24 15:15

This is the only act of common sense from the Westmidden government for decades. They must realise they will not be able to afford them post 2014 so they have started to downsize now.
 
 
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ButeHouse
2012-09-24 16:17

certainly kicks the ‘couldn’t afford Embassies if Independent’ argument into touch.

1. The Great Britain can’t afford embassies everywhere.

2. They have ‘shown’ us the way, share with other countries when necessary.

This is certainly not the ‘Empire where the sun never sets’ now is it?

VOTE YES
 
 
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red kite
2012-09-24 19:17

“Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird ” is of Scottish roots. Family from Lanarkshire.
 
 
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paulmahon
2012-09-24 21:12

While the UK-Canada embassy pact makes a nonsense of the yet another unionist argument, I would suggest that an independent Scotland should not share embassies with other states, but should take a more dynamic approach to the issue of embassies. It would seem to me to be in the interests of an independent Scotland to establish low cost foreign embassies by making them open, community-based facilities (as opposed to colonial mansions or imperial compounds) and by paying staff in the currency of their station. As an additional advantage of this latter aspect, the diplomatic service would be, as it should be, a calling for patriotic rather than a job for corrupt.
 
 
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oldnat
2012-09-25 00:58

Norway could afford to have lots of palatial embassies – but has more sense.

aftenbladet.no/…/…
 

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