Paul Johnston joined the UK Civil Service in 1990, working for the Ministry of Defence initially.
He has served in Paris and New York and has also had a wide range of political and security roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Paul joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993 as Desk Officer for Bosnia. As part of this role he was also Private Secretary to EU negotiator Lord Owen, and his representative on Bosnia Contact Group.
His first foreign posting was to Paris in 1995-99 as Second Secretary Political. He was Private Secretary to the Ambassador and latterly part of the UK delegation to the Kosovo Rambouillet negotiations. Then he returned to London as Head of the Kosovo Policy Team, leading work on post-conflict policy in the EU, NATO, UN and G8.
Before his second overseas posting to New York in 2005, Paul held a variety of other EU policy and security appointments in London, such as Head of European Defence Section between 2000-01 and Head of Security Policy Department between 2002-04.
As Head of the Political Section in UKMIS New York, he advised on major policy issues for the UK on the Security Council and the UN World Summit, including the UK EU Presidency in 2005.
Paul returned to London in 2008 as Director, International Security for the FCO. He was responsible for policy on UN, NATO, European Security, arms control and disarmament, human rights and good governance.
Paul was British Ambassador to Sweden from August 2011 to August 2015. He is currently the Acting UK Permanent Representative to NATO.
UK Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council
The Ambassador’s role is to represent the UK within an international organisation, engaging with every other country or organisation that belongs to or observes the body. The Ambassador is also responsible for the direction and work of the Mission. Ambassadors to multilateral missions are often referred to as ‘Permanent Representatives’.
Previous roles in government
British Ambassador to Sweden
- 2011 to 2015