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This week on the Foreign Office Global Conversations blog

Ramadan, Libya and maternal mortality in Afghanistan were amongst the topics discussed by Foreign Office bloggers.

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

Ramadan was the focus for Deputy Ambassador to Egypt, Thom Reilly who reflected on what was his fifth Ramadan in the Middle East:

“Last year in Egypt, I was amazed by the atmosphere as maidat-al-rahman sprung up under the bridges, on the pavements, along the Corniche in Zemalek. I was privileged enough to serve at one and watched the extraordinary charity work that was undertaken. I loved the fiesta-like atmosphere and the fire-works in the evening; the feeling of community and voluntary service.”

In what will be his final blog post Foreign Office Political Officer David Clay talked about his last three months in Benghazi:

“This is my last blog. After three months in Benghazi, I am looking forward to seeing my family, friends and girlfriend again. But I also feel a twinge of sadness about leaving just at such a critical time in the fight for Libya’s future’. I hope that the ideals of the revolution will stand up to what lies ahead. The liberation of Tripoli will be a moment for celebration. But it will also be the moment at which the different groups that have been united by the single objective of getting rid of Qadhafi begin to look to their own interests. The revolution will face setbacks, crises and frustrations in the months after liberation. However, I remain an optimist. I believe that Libya will come out of this crisis a more just, freer and more prosperous country than it was before.”

The Team Head of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Michael O’Neill based in Lashkar Gah has begun a series of blog posts looking at ‘Different faces of the campaign’ In the first of these Michael focuses on maternal mortality:

“Maternal mortality is a particular priority, with 24,000 women dying in childbirth each year - the biggest cause of death in Afghanistan, owing to early marriages and frequent pregnancies, and lack of healthcare and services.”

At the British Embassy in Washington Deputy Head of Mission, Philip Barton started a new blog where he reflected on the past three months of his new role:

“I have two big first impressions. First, how foreign the US feels. Yes, we speak the same language (more or less…). Yes, we share similar beliefs and values. Yes, we are both democracies with free-market economies. But beyond these important fundamentals, the differences are also striking. The role and power of the British Parliament and of Congress in our respective political systems are very different. (I am not saying which I think works better!). The political “mainstream” in our countries is also different, which gives the discourse between left and right here a very different feel”

Published 19 August 2011