His Excellency Mr Christopher Stuart said:
Minister Bold, Ministers, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,
I would like to begin by expressing my considerable thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and through them to the Mongolian people for this evening’s reception which celebrates a most important year in the relationship between two countries.
The 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations is not only a testament to the enduring ties between our two countries but moreover is an acknowledgement of the UK as the first Western hand to reach out to Mongolia in recognition of the existence of Mongolia as a State.
The United Kingdom is very proud of this fact and of the foundation it laid for the growing and enduring relationship that has characterised the succeeding years. A period in which we have come to know one another and to build a deep relationship that thrives on the basis of trust and confidence that exists only between the closest of friends.
It is interesting to recall however that January 1963 was not strictly the first occasion on which the Mongol and Anglo-Saxon peoples had enjoyed a diplomatic encounter. In the 13th century Argun the Mongol Khan of the Il-Khanate sent an emissary to King Edward I England. Records however suggest it was many years before contact was re-established through British merchants and missionaries travelling to Mongolia in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Independence of Mongolia in 1911 coincided with a number of unofficial British expeditions to Mongolia which continued into early years of the Mongolian Republic.
The re-emergence of Mongolia onto the Global stage however came in 1961when supported by UK, Mongolia’s candidature for the UN was finally successful. By supporting Mongolia’s application the British had gone a long way to recognising Mongolia as a state.
In December 1962 in Peking, British and Mongolia representatives finalised discussions over establishing diplomatic relations, resulting in January the following year in the establishment of a permanent mission in Ulaanbaatar.
Since then our relationship in all areas, political, cultural, economic and social have continued to grow; exchange visits have taken place, most recently with the President having visited London for the Olympic Games and Prince Michael of Kent having visited Mongolia, latterly the Vice Foreign Minister having visited London for the UK/Mongolia 10 Roundtable.
This 50th Anniversary year however not only provides us with the opportunity to view our relationship through the lens of history but more importantly will set the tone and direction for the crafting, deepening and expanding of our relationship to come.
It will be a year of celebratory activity, of deepening political, economic and cultural ties and all importantly a year where the British and Mongolian public at large come to know one another as never before through an expanding friendship and understanding.
Thank you for attention and looking forward for a successful year!