Sir Kim Darroch Resigns as British Ambassador to the United States

Sir Kim Darroch has resigned as the UK Ambassador to the United States, following the US President’s attack on him and the British Prime Minister. Donald Trump, the US President, reacted angrily when leaked reports that were critical of him were leaked.

Darroch said in a statement:

“Since the leak of official documents from this Embassy there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as ambassador. I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.

Although my posting is not due to end until the end of this year, I believe in the current circumstances the responsible course is to allow the appointment of a new ambassador.

I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries. I have been deeply touched.

I am also grateful to all those with whom I have worked over the last four decades, particularly my team here in the US. The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands.

Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, acknowledged the letter, saying:

“On behalf of the Diplomatic Service, I accept your resignation with deep personal regret.

Over the last few difficult days you have behaved as you have always behaved over a long and distinguished career, with dignity, professionalism and class. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and whole of the public service have stood with you: you were the target of a malicious leak; you were simply doing your job. I understand your wish to relieve the pressure on your family and your colleagues at the Embassy; I admire the fact that you think more of others than yourself. You demonstrate the essence of the values of British public service.

I want to stress my deep appreciation for all you have done over the last four decades. In a series of demanding roles – including National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the European Union – you have loyally served the government of the day without fear or favour. We have been lucky to have you as a friend and colleague. You are the best of us.”

Foreign Office Statement on Iran’s Commitment to Nuclear Deal

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that the British Government is concerned about the current situation with regards to Iran’s commitment to their previously stated intentions on their nuclear obligations.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

“Iran has broken the terms of the JCPoA, following its announcement that it will start uranium enrichment above the 3.67% limit agreed in the nuclear deal. While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations. We are coordinating with other JCPoA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal, including a Joint Commission.”

Foreign Office Summons Chinese Ambassador Over Comments on Hong Kong

Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, has been summoned to the Foreign Office after comments made by the Chinese Government saying that the British Government had a “colonial mindset”.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Government had said:

“The UK considers itself as a guardian which is nothing but a delusion. It is just shameless to say that Hong Kong’s freedoms are negotiated for them by the British side.”

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, posted on Twitter:

“Message to Chinese govt: good relations between countries are based on mutual respect and honouring the legally binding agreements between them. That is the best way to preserve the great relationship between the UK and China.”

British Government Condemns North Korean Missile Launch

The British Government has condemned a missile launch made this week by North Korea. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, also condemned the launch and said that “nobody’s happy about it”.

A statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

“The UK regrets North Korea’s decision to carry out further short range ballistic missile launches. As we have made clear, we fully support the US in its efforts to achieve North Korea’s denuclearisation through negotiations.

Until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in accordance with the Resolutions passed by the UN Security Council, sanctions must remain in place and be fully enforced.”

Foreign Office Issues Statement on Iran

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today issued a statement alongside numerous other European countries with regards to the current situation in Iran.

A spokesperson for the FCO said:

“The UK and a number of European partners today jointly raised with Iran our deep concerns about hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in Europe. Such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences.

We informed the Iranian authorities that those responsible for the June 2018 bomb plot planned in France are being included on the EU list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and will be subject to restrictive measures.

We also condemned other illegal activities, including the recent thwarted assassination plot in Denmark and two assassinations in the Netherlands.

We remain committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for as long as Iran continues to implement it in full. This agreement remains central to international efforts to halt nuclear proliferation and is crucial for the security of the region. But we are clear that this commitment does not preclude us from addressing other hostile and destabilising activities”.

Government Issues Statement on Elections in Zimbabwe

Jeremy Hunt

The European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States present in Harare (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and the Heads of Mission of Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America have joined together to issue a statement on the elections in Zimbabwe.

The text reads:

“The Heads of Mission of the EU, Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America note with grave concern the eruption of violence and occurrence of serious human rights violations following the peaceful election on 30 July 2018. These tragic events stand in sharp contrast to the high hopes and expectations for a peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible election in Zimbabwe.

The Heads of Mission express their condolences to the families of the victims.

The Heads of Mission condemn the violence, attacks, and acts of intimidation targeted at opposition leaders and supporters. These human rights violations have no place in a democratic society and contravene the fundamental tenets of international human rights standards.

The Heads of Mission urge the government to respect the rights of the Zimbabwean people as enshrined in the Constitution. All allegations of incitement to violence or violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of property, should be investigated in accordance with the rule of law, and perpetrators held legally responsible.

The Heads of Mission welcome the President’s commitment to establish an independent commission to investigate the violence against civilians and look forward to the commission starting its work as soon as possible and reporting its findings in a transparent manner.

The Heads of Mission call on the Government to ensure that the Zimbabwean Defence Forces act with restraint, in full respect of international human rights norms and their constitutional role.

The Heads of Mission call on all stakeholders to act responsibly, to adhere to the principles of the Peace Pledge, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances and to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process”.

UK Government Support US Declaration Condemning the Annexation of the Crimea

The British Government has said that it will back the US Government’s declaration which condemned the Russian annexation of the Crimea.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said:

“The UK echoes the United States’ firm statement of opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The UK position is clear: we condemn Russia’s continued breach of international law; Crimea is Ukrainian territory. We remain fully committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The UK also remains deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Crimea, where we have seen the systematic persecution of minority groups and of those who voice their opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of the territory. We call again for Russia to release all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and in Russia, and to allow unrestrained access for international human rights monitoring bodies to the peninsula”.

Sir Simon Fraser departs the Foreign Office

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have confirmed the departure of Sir Simon Fraser, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary since 2010.

Sir Simon said:

“It has been a tremendous honour to lead the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over five exciting and demanding years. I feel that this is the right time to stand down and to allow someone else to guide the organisation through the coming phase under the next Government. I pay tribute to the dedicated and skilled staff of the FCO who give such outstanding service to our country every day in all corners of the world. I am also pleased to have been able to contribute to the wider leadership of the Civil Service in my time at BIS and the FCO”.

A successor will be appointed after the General Election.