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Diplomatic Service

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will list the countries where the UK has (a) closed and (b) downgraded its embassy or high commission in each year since 1997. (97505)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 26 October 2005, Official Report, column 467W by the then Foreign Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker). The following is a list of British embassy and high commission closures since this answer was given:

Year: 1 April to 31 March

Mission closed

2005-06

Abidjan1, Port Vila and Nuku’alofa

2006-07

Dili

1 Operations have been suspended due to the uncertain security situation in the Ivory Coast.

No British embassies or high commissions have been downgraded since 1997 and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has no current plans to downgrade any such missions in the future.

The FCO continuously reviews the deployment of its resources and aligns them flexibly in line with UK interests to benefit the British taxpayer.