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This week on the Foreign Office Global Conversations blog

South Sudan, trade and Libya were amongst the topics discussed by Foreign Office bloggers this week.

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

James McCamley, Consular Caseworker based in Nicosia, Cyprus tackled the issue of Child Abduction in Cyprus:

“Cyprus is one of the top 13 countries dealing with child abduction. Last year we dealt with 16 cases - and that doesn’t include the literally hundreds of calls we take on related issues. Thankfully not all these calls turn into full blown child abductions.”

Ambassador to Sudan Nicholas Kay discussed the emergence of the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign state. Ambassador Kay tackled economic issues facing both states:

“An agreement with South Sudan on transitional financial arrangements, including arrangements on oil, is urgently needed if we are to avoid continuing economic uncertainty. Markets and investors hate uncertainty. Both North and South will be affected by it.”

His counterpart in the Republic of South Sudan Alastair McPhail attended the independence ceremony. He observed:

“Since 9 July the South Sudanese have continued to celebrate. People have had a spring in their step and happily greet strangers on the streets of Juba. I hope it is the same throughout South Sudan. There are flags everywhere, on buildings, cars, people. A sign of their new status came last Thursday when the Republic of South Sudan became the 193rd member of the United Nations and the national flag was raised in New York.”

Ambassador to the Philippines, Stephen Lillie hosted a guest blog from Lord Green, the UK’s Trade and Investment Minister. Lord Green heralded the success of British business:

“We have an excellent research and development base with UK expertise being behind 90 per cent of the chips used in mobile phones, involved in half of every Airbus plane, and responsible for developing or discovering fifteen of the world’s 75 top-selling medicines.”

Foreign Office Political Officer David Clay in Benghazi examined the National Transitional Council’s proposed Charter:

“The Charter aims to provide a framework for Libya’s transition to democracy after the fall of Qadhafi and talks about elections, constitution writing, a referendum etc. It also set out the rights and freedoms that all Libyan citizens should enjoy.”

The Head of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Michael O’Neill based in Lashkar Gah examined the future of the team that he leads noting that:

“as Transition picks up pace over the next three years, our role will be increasingly hands-off. In parallel the PRT will evolve and gradually grow smaller. There’s still plenty of work to do to build Afghan capacity, upgrade key infrastructure like roads or canals, and support private sector-led economic growth. But PRT drawdown over time, and disappearance by the end of 2014, are a necessary and logical function of Transition. The principal criterion to assess progress is not what we have done ourselves, but what Afghan authorities can do in future.”

Finally, Julie Chappell who is the British Ambassador to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador asked the question ‘How young is too young?”. Julie is one of the youngest British Ambassador’s and she observed one of its advantages:

“…I started to discover all the benefits of being young. One of my favourite advantages is that it has given me great access to other young actors in Guatemala and an insight into the new wave of energy that is creeping through Guatemala’s civil youth movements, young entrepreneurs and young politicians.”

Published 22 July 2011