Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has resigned from his role today in advance of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister. Duncan worked with Johnson at the Foreign Office and has recently been critical of the former Foreign Secretary’s behaviour following the leak of documents written by Sir Kim Darroch.
Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has said that he is disappointed at the news that the Guatemalan Government ending their agreement relating to the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala.
In a statement Duncan said:
“The UK is extremely disappointed by the announcement of the Guatemalan Government on Monday 7 January unilaterally terminating their agreement with the UN on the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a decision which has since been suspended by the Constitutional Court. CICIG has made a valuable contribution to the fight against corruption and impunity in Guatemala, strengthening the national institutions of Guatemala in the process.
The UK, along with the EU and other international partners, has been a strong supporter of CICIG and we value their work and close cooperation with the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Guatemala.
The UK supports the statement made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations rejecting the Guatemalan government’s decision to unilaterally terminate the agreement establishing CICIG and calling for the Guatemalan Government to allow CICIG to continue its important work until the completion of its mandate in September this year.
The UK supports the statements made by the G13 donor group and the EU, and calls on the Government of Guatemala to respect the rule of law and the importance of strong, independent institutions, which are vital for ensuring security and prosperity.”
Iván Velásquez, a spokesperson for the CICIG, said:
“Since its establishment in 2007, the CICIG has worked resolutely – in accordance with its mandate, accompanying national institutions – for the identification and dismantling of illegal organizations and clandestine security apparatuses, as well as promoting legal and institutional reforms to prevent their reappearance.”
Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has welcomed the move towards parliamentary democracy in Armenia. The country was a former Soviet republic which became independent in 1991 when the USSR collapsed.
The country is aiming to move towards a western European style of democracy and is part of a project to become closer to the European Union. Duncan will speak at the National Assembly in Armenia, but said before his visit to the country:
“My first visit to Armenia is an opportunity for me to celebrate the UK’s support to Armenia in its consolidation as a democratic, resilient and prosperous country. Over the 25 years since we established diplomatic relations, co-operation has flourished across a range of spheres – including political, commercial, educational and cultural.
We believe there are further opportunities to deepen our co-operation. I look forward to meeting President Sargsyan, Prime Minister Karapetyan, Foreign Minister Nalbandian and other high level officials in Armenia. I will outline the UK’s readiness to support Armenia’s efforts to embed democracy, good governance and human rights and explore ways to boost trade between our two countries”.
Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has criticised the on-going political situation in Venezuela. Opposition leaders in the country have questioned the damage being done to the democratic system, with extra powers being given to the Constituent Assembly.
Duncan said in a statement:
“I am utterly appalled by the decision of the sham-democratic Constituent Assembly in Venezuela to remove legislative powers from the elected National Assembly. This is a shocking blow to democracy in Venezuela, and a direct attack on a legitimate democratic institution. It ignores the will of the Venezuelan people and will only further undermine confidence in Venezuela’s democracy. The National Assembly and its Deputies must be respected and their rights honoured.
Poverty in Venezuela continues to rise, with more Venezuelans being forced into poverty every day by bad governance. This is a tragedy in a country with such enormous resources. This move will do nothing to tackle the urgent economic challenges that ordinary Venezuelans face
It is time for President Maduro and the Venezuelan Government to act responsibly. They need to reduce tension, respect democracy, and take responsibility for working with the Opposition to agree a positive way forward for all Venezuelans. The UK stands with the people of Venezuela and will work with international partners in our collective response to the gravity of this situation”.
The Foreign Office has welcomed steps towards democracy in Macedonia, following a delay in forming a Government in the country. Early elections took place in December 2016, but progress had since been stalled.
Sir Alan Duncan, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said in a statement:
“I welcome the decision of President Ivanov to allow the parliamentary majority led by Mr. Zaev to form a government. This is an important step forward.
The UK calls on all political leaders to work together constructively and in the interests of Macedonia and all its citizens. We stand ready to support those efforts and to support Macedonia in its EU and NATO ambitions”.
The Israeli Government has issued a full apology after a secret recording was made of Shai Masot, an Israeli working at the embassy in London. Masot said that it was Israel’s intention to “bring down” Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office Minister.
The Israeli Embassy in London issued a statement saying:
“The Embassy of Israel rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable; the comments were made by a junior embassy employee who is not an Israeli diplomat, and who will be ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly”.
Masot also referred to Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, as “an idiot” , but the comments were rejected by Mark Regev, the Israeli Ambassador in London who had served as the Israeli Prime Minister’s official spokesman from 2007 until 2015.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that Regev had made a personal apology and added that “the UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed”.
Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office Minister, has said that his colleague Boris Johnson never wanted Brexit to happen.
Duncan’s comments are being broadcast this week on a BBC documentary on Brexit, but were recorded just before the Brexit vote. Duncan said:
“By championing leave, Boris can be the great heir apparent of the future, darling of the activists, but actually it would be quite good if he didn’t actually win the referendum because there would be total chaos”.
Johnson, the current Foreign Secretary, has yet to respond to Duncan’s comments.