November 28, 2013
MONDAY 9 DECEMBER - Ambassador of Paraguay
November 19, 2013
Ambassador of Costa Rica, 18.11.2013
Report to follow
October 26, 2013
Assistant Editor of international Arab newspaper, 14.10.2013
Mina Al-Oraibi, Assistant Editor in Chief of Asharq Alawsat Newspaper
Ms Al-Oraibi spoke about the latest developments in the Middle East in a briefing entitled ‘Middle East in Transition’. The challenges and opportunities facing the Arab World, and in particular Iraq, Syria and Egypt, were discussed. The Iraqi-British journalist spoke of the need to look at militancy and sectarianism more as organised crime, rather than being misled to believe it is driven by religious interpretation.
Ms Al-Oraibi highlighted the need to reform immigration and refugee-resettlement policies in the UK and EU, so that those most in need of resettlement are not exploited by traffickers. She also spoke of the need to continue support to countries hosting refugees in the region, especially Jordan and Lebanon, while maintaining political will to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches Syrians, Palestinians and others who need it in their own countries.
Ms Al-Oraibi took questions on the roles of the US, Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Arab world.
Rehman Chishti MP was in attendance and responded briefly to questions about Pakistan.
Link to Asharq Alawsat’s website is: www.aawsat.com
Her twitter handle is @AlOraibi
September 24, 2013
Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Chile, 23.09.2013
Mr Rodrigo Espinosa, Minister Counsellor for Chile, gave a fascinating wide ranging briefing about UK-Chile links particularly touching on the history and politics of the country. The Cultural Attache, Mr Cristian Leon, and the Commercial Attache, Mr Cristian Lopez, also gave enthusiastic briefings about the unique geography, diverse culture and economy on the rise.
Speech by Mr Espinosa
1.- The links between Chile and the UK go back to our very beginnings as a newly discovered land, of them related to the UK’s seafaring missions. Pirates, sailors and buccaneers were the first British people to adventure along our coasts. Perhaps the first significant contact between our two nations took place 40 years or so after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to Chile, in 1576, in which Sir Francis Drake, surprising the Spanish, shelled and sacked the port of Valparaíso The plunder included a ship full of Chilean wine, forewarning what was to become, centuries later, a £160 million a year export business to the UK, currently the principal export destination and consumer for Chilean wine worldwide.
2.- It is worth to mention also that the UK was pivotal in the independence of Chile from Spain. The country’s eventual liberator Bernardo O’Higgins, was educated in Richmond – on the outskirts of London - between 1795 and 1798. It was during that time that he first became aware of the liberal thinking then prevalent, and was deeply influenced by the Venezuelan Francisco Miranda, who was in London trying to convince Canning to fund and participate in the revolutions against Spain.
3.- O Higgins was perhaps one of the first Chileans to come to the UK to improve their education, a trend that has made the UK one of the preferred destinations for Chilean students enjoying government scholarships to obtain masters degrees or PhDs. In 2012 and 2013, the UK has received the highest number of Chilean students on the scholarship program, surpassing the USA.
September 10, 2013
Deputy Ambassador of The Netherlands, 09.09.2013
Diplomats at the Embassy of The Netherlands generously hosted us and gave an outline particularly on their position with regard to the EU and the internal market as well as key world issues. A lively discussion followed.