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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 news from the Foreign Office and its embassies overseas this week.

This week the Foreign Secretary laid out his foreign policy priorities for 2011 in the first of his regular video blogs. Next week he will visit Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang visited the UK this week. In a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister he witnessed the signing of UK-China agreements worth an estimated £2.6 billion. Vice Premier Keqiang also met the Foreign Secretary to discuss bilateral relations.

New Minister Lord Green took up his role as Minister for Trade and Investment this week when he joined the Prime Minister at an event for Business Ambassadors.

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt met with Education Ministers from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. He also travelled to Qatar to attend the Forum for the Future, part of the G8-Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative. On Monday he called for Iran’s authorities to overturn the sentence of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

The annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue took place this week in London. Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne joined the Dialogue.

Voting closes this weekend on the Southern Sudan referendum. Writing for the Guardian.co.uk, Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham talked about the UK’s commitment to helping Sudan’s people. British Ambassador to Sudan Nicholas Kay talked about the work of the Embassy and the situation in Abyei in his blog.

Lord Howell took part in a debate in the House of Lords on the economic and strategic role of Turkey in Europe and the Middle East. The full record is available on the Parliament website

Ahead of the Autosport International trade fair in Birmingham, the Director-General of UK Trade and Investment Germany wrote about why German motorsport companies should invest in Britain.

In Travel News this week we covered the latest advice for British travellers visiting Tunisia, as well as countries affected by flooding such as Australia, Sri Lanka and Brazil.