This week at the Foreign Office

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A look at the work of the Foreign Office and its embassies overseas this week.

Gaza and southern Israel

The Foreign Secretary welcomed the ceasefire agreement in Gaza and southern Israel he said: “The priority now must be to build on the ceasefire and to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including more open access to and from Gaza for trade as well as humanitarian assistance, and an end to the smuggling of weapons.”

Whilst travelling in the region Minister Burt highlighted UK support for the innocent victims in Gaza, particularly £20m DFID funding for the UN refugee agency working in the region.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The Foreign Secretary William Hague and International Development Secretary Justine Greening called for the immediate withdrawal of the M23 militia from Goma. Commenting on the UN report on the Democratic Republic of Congo they said: “We judge the overall body of evidence of Rwandan involvement with M23 in the DRC to be credible and compelling.”

Minister Simmonds travelled to the region to support international efforts to bring an end to the crisis currently engulfing Goma.

Scotland and the EU

The position of an independent Scotland in relation to the EU was considered by Hugo Swire in a speech this week, the Minister said “The most likely scenario by far is that an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the EU as a new state,” He concluded: “It is the clear position of the UK Government that Scotland is better off in the UK, and the UK is better off with Scotland in it.”

G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting

The Foreign Secretary will host the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in London in April next year. The Foreign Secretary highlighted priorities for the meeting including; preventing conflict, the Middle East Peace Process, supporting partners in Arab Spring countries and preventing sexual violence.


Talks between The Foreign Secretary and the Bahraini Foreign Minister resulted in a new ministerial-level dialogue. Welcoming the new forum for discussions the Foreign Secretary said: “It is critical that the Bahraini Government continues to address concerns about human rights, through further implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and Universal Periodic Review recommendations. “

Also this week