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United Kingdom
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The diplomatic foreign relations of the United Kingdom are implemented by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The UK was the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[1] Throughout history it has wielded significant influence upon other nations via the British Empire, and until the 1950s was considered a superpower. However, the cost of two World Wars and the process of decolonisation diminished this influence. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom remains a major power and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a Member State of the European Union, and a founding member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Council of Europe, OSCE, and the Commonwealth of Nations, which is a legacy of the British Empire.

Contents

Major international disputes since 1945

Sovereignty disputes

Commonwealth of Nations

The UK has varied relationships with the countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations which originated from the British Empire. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the head of the Commonwealth and is head of state of 16 of its 53 member states. Those that retain the Queen as head of state are called Commonwealth Realms. Over time several countries have been suspended from the Commonwealth for various reasons. Zimbabwe was suspended because of the authoritarian rule of its President[13] and so too was Pakistan, but it has since returned. Countries which become republics are still eligible for membership of the Commonwealth so long as they are deemed democratic. Commonwealth nations such as Malaysia enjoyed no export duties in trade with the UK before the UK concentrated their economic relationship with EU member states.

The UK was once a dominant colonial power in many countries on the continent of Africa and its multinationals remain large investors in sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays the UK, as lead member of the Commonwealth of Nations, seeks to influence Africa through its foreign policies. Current UK disputes are with Zimbabwe over human rights violations. Tony Blair set up the Africa Commission and urged rich countries to cease demanding developing countries repay their large debts.

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Australia

Australia – United Kingdom relations are close, marked by shared history, culture, institutions and language, extensive people-to-people links, aligned security interests, and vibrant trade and investment cooperation. The long-standing relationship between the United Kingdom and Australia formally began in 1901 when the six British Crown colonies in Australia federated, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed as a Dominion of the British Empire. Australia fought alongside Britain in World War I, notably at Gallipoli, and again in World War II. Andrew Fisher, Australian prime minister from 1914 to 1916, declared that Australia would defend the United Kingdom "to the last man and the last shilling." Until 1949, the United Kingdom and Australia shared a common nationality code. The final constitutional ties between United Kingdom and Australia ended in 1986 with the passing of the Australia Act 1986.

Barbados

The two countries are related through common history, the Commonwealth of Nations and their sharing of the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II as their Monarch. The British High Commission was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1967. There is a Barbadian High Commission in London.

Canada

London and Ottawa enjoy cooperative and intimate contact, which has grown deeper over the years; the two countries are related through history, the Commonwealth of Nations, and their sharing of the same Head of State and monarch.[14] Both countries fought together in both World Wars, the Korean War, and more recently cooperate in the coalition in the War in Afghanistan. Both are founding members of NATO, and also belong to the G7 (and the G8). Canada has been referred to as the "linchpin of the English-speaking world", by Winston Churchill, as it connects the three anglo countries. America, Britain, and Canada were the first countries to share the knowledge of the atom bomb together, as the three all worked on the Manhattan Project together.

India

India was a colony of Britain since the British East India Company ruled over large parts of central and eastern India from the 18th century before that. Since 1947, relations between the two countries have been good, now there is some disagreements over the status of Chagos Archipelago, which involves Mauritius. Around two million Indian immigrants live in the United Kingdom. India is the second biggest investor in the UK following the US. Indian culture and cuisine are very popular in the UK. Tea is imported to Britain from India. Both India and the UK, are members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Ireland

Despite a long history of conflict from English Tudor plantation in Ireland to the Irish War of independence, the UK presently works closely with the government of the Republic of Ireland in areas concerning the peace process in Northern Ireland as well as on many security issues. In 1949 the Irish Houses of Parliament passed the Republic of Ireland Act, making the Republic of Ireland officially fully independent; the country withdrew from the Commonwealth. Under the Ireland Act 1949 Irish citizens are treated as though they are Commonwealth citizens and not aliens for the purposes of law. Until 1998, the Republic of Ireland claimed Northern Ireland, but this was rescinded under the Belfast Agreement through an amendment of the Irish Constitution, which now states an aspiration to peaceful unity. There is an ongoing dispute that also involves Denmark and Iceland, over the status of the ocean floor surrounding Rockall. However, this is for the most part a trivial issue rarely makes it onto British-Irish meeting agendas.[11]

Malaysia

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong in a carriage with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on the state visit to London, 1974.

The United Kingdom has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in London. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Both the UK and Malaysia are part of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah paid a state visit to the United Kingdom in July 1974.[15] The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak paid a state visit to the United Kingdom in November 1993.[15] HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom paid state visits to Malaysia in October 1989, and in September 1998.[16]

New Zealand

Up to about the 1960s, New Zealand also had extremely close economic relations with the United Kingdom, especially considering the distance at which trade took place. As an example, in 1955, Britain took 65.3 percent of New Zealand's exports, and only during the following decades did this dominant position begin to decline as the United Kingdom oriented itself more towards the European Union, with the share of exports going to Britain having fallen to only 6.2 percent in 2000.[17] Historically, some industries, such as dairying, a major economic factor in the former colony, had even more dominant trade links, with 80-100% of all cheese and butter exports going to Britain from around 1890 to 1940.[18] This strong bond also supported the mutual feelings for each other in other areas.

Nigeria

Nigeria, formerly a colony, gained independence from Britain in 1960.[19]

Pakistan

Pakistan was a colony of Britain from 1 November 1858 to 13 August 1947 as part of the Indian Empire. Both UK and Pakistan are active members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

United States

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) conducting diplomacy, hosted by then President of the United States, George W. Bush at Camp David in March 2003.

The United Kingdom and the United States are close military allies. The two countries share cultural similarities, as well as military research and intelligence facilities. The UK has purchased military technology from the USA such as Tomahawk cruise missiles and Trident nuclear missiles, and the US has purchased equipment from Britain (e.g. Harrier Jump Jet). The USA also maintains a large number of military personnel in the UK. In recent years, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States have often been close friends, for example Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and later with George W. Bush and in the 1980s the often like-minded Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Present British policy is that the relationship with the United States represents Britain's "most important bilateral relationship".[20]

Europe

The UK has had good relations with the rest of Europe since the Second World War. It became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973. The EEC eventually became the European Union through the Maastricht Treaty of the European Union in 1993.[21] Although the UK does not use the Euro and is not a member of the Eurozone,[22] it still plays a leading role in the day to day workings of the EU. The UK has clashed with other Member States of the European Union, particularly with France and Germany, most recently over the US-led war with Iraq.[23]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Albania
 Austria

Both countries have diplomatic relations since the Middle Ages. Austria has an embassy in London and 4 honorary consulates (in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Grand Cayman and Hamilton). The United Kingdom has an embassy in Vienna and 4 honorary consulates (in Graz, Innsbruck, Lauterach and Salzburg). Both countries are full members of the European Union.

 Belarus See Foreign relations of Belarus
 Belgium See Belgium – United Kingdom relations

The two countries have trading links going back to the 10th century, especially wool trade from England to the County of Flanders.

 Bulgaria 1879-07 See Bulgaria – United Kingdom relations

Bulgaria has an embassy in London, and the United Kingdom have an embassy in Sofia. Both countries are members of the European Union and NATO.

 Croatia See Foreign relations of Croatia
 Cyprus See Cyprus – United Kingdom relations

The UK maintains two sovereign area military bases on the island of Cyprus. The UK is also a signatory to a treaty with Greece and Turkey concerning the independence of Cyprus, the Treaty of Guarantee, which maintains that Britain is a "guarantor power" of the island's independence.[25]

 Czech Republic See Czech Republic – United Kingdom relations

The Czech Republic has an embassy in London and 3 honorary consulates (in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newtownards). The United Kingdom has an embassy in Prague. HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom paid a state visit to the Czech Republic in March 1996.[26]

 Denmark See Denmark – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom has an embassy in Copenhagen and Denmark has an embassy in London. Both countries are full members of NATO and of the European Union. HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark paid state visits to the United Kingdom in April/May 1974, and in February 2000.[27] HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom paid state visits to Denmark in May 1957, and in May 1979.[28]

 Estonia See Foreign relations of Estonia
 France See France – United Kingdom relations

As with Germany the political position of both countries can be seen as very good, the British population engage in a lively and highly tongue-in-cheek relationship and mostly friendly rivalry with France, stemming from hundreds of years of rivalry and enmity between the two countries and perhaps epitomised by The Sun newspaper's relentless bashing of French institutions and personalities. There have been continual clashes publicly and through national newspapers over such issues as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) where France is seen as a major net recipient and unduly so. However in important times the United Kingdom and France normally stick close together. The two nations maintain a mutual respect for one another as both countries suffered greatly during both World Wars in which both were members of the Allies.

On a two-day summit which began in London 26 March 2008, Queen Elizabeth II threw a lavish banquet at Windsor Castle after taking the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on a carriage ride through the streets of Windsor. The visit cemented a warm relationship with Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, and offered a chance to discuss France's positive new stance toward the United States. Other weighty topics were: expansion of France's military role in NATO and Afghanistan, a joint nuclear energy program, immigration, and the Subprime mortgage crisis that has spread from the United States to Europe. After visiting the queen, Sarkozy and Bruni-Sarkozy laid a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey -- a gesture designed to emphasize that Britain and France fought World War I and World War II together, Also France is heavy supportive of the British rule in the Falkland Islands and provided invaluble help to the British during the Falklands War.

 Georgia See Foreign relations of Georgia
 Germany See Anglo-German relations

Since World War II the UK has enjoyed excellent relations with West Germany, as well as the reunited Germany. The UK also maintains a large military presence in Germany since World War II. Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder also enjoyed a good relationship although this was tempered by the Iraq War, where Germany aligned with France in not supporting military action against Iraq. The former German Democratic Republic was a socialist state with which the UK was naturally hostile towards during the Cold War. Germany and the UK are both members of the EU.

 Greece See Greece – United Kingdom relations

The two countries share membership of the European Union and NATO, but the issue of the Elgin Marbles removed from the Parthenon by the Earl of Elgin in 1806 and still housed in the British Museum has not been resolved.

 Holy See 1982 See Holy See – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom did not re-establish relations until 1914. Full relations were recognised in 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited the UK.[29]

 Hungary See Foreign relations of Hungary
 Iceland See Iceland – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom has an embassy in Reykjavik. Iceland has an embassy in London and 17 honorary consulates in: Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dover, East Riding of Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Fleetwood, Glasgow, Grimsby, Guernsey, Jersey (in the Channel Islands), Lerwick, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northern Ireland, and York.

 Italy See Italy – United Kingdom relations

Between 4 and 5 million British tourists visit Italy every year, while 1 million Italian tourists visit the UK.[30] There are about 19,000 British nationals living in Italy, and 150,000 Italians living in the UK.[31]

  • 'Britalian' - British people of Italian descent.
 Kosovo See Kosovo – United Kingdom relations

When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, the United Kingdom became one of the first countries to announce officially about recognition of sovereign Kosovo on 18 February 2008.[32][33] The United Kingdom has had an embassy in Pristina since 5 March 2008.[34] Kosovo has an embassy in London since 1 October 2008.

 Latvia See Foreign relations of Latvia
 Lithuania 1991-10 See Lithuania – United Kingdom relations
 Malta See Malta – United Kingdom relations

In the 1950s and 1960s, serious consideration was given in both countries to the idea of a political union between the United Kingdom and Malta. However, this plan for "Integration with Britain" foundered, and Malta gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II remained Queen of Malta until the country became a Republic in 1974. There is a small Maltese community in the United Kingdom. In addition, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar has been influenced by significant 18th and 19th Century immigration from Malta (see "History of the Maltese in Gibraltar").

 Moldova

United Kingdom opened an Embassy in Chisinau.[38] There is no border common between Moldova and Great Britain. The number of British in Moldova and of Moldavians in the United Kingdom is insignificant. When visiting the respective country, no visa obligation exists for British nationals for stays in Moldova inferior to 90 days. Otherwise a visa is required. For Moldovan citizens visa is required for any border crossing, except for transfer passengers.

 Montenegro 2006-06-13
 Netherlands See Netherlands – United Kingdom relations
 Poland See Poland – United Kingdom relations

In the 1990s and 2000s democratic Poland has maintained close relations with Britain; both in defence matters and within the EU; Britain being one of only a few countries allowing equal rights to Polish workers upon their accession in 2004.

 Portugal See Portugal – United Kingdom relations

The relationship dates back to the Middle Ages in 1373 with the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance.

 Romania 1880 See Romania – United Kingdom relations
 Russia See Russia – United Kingdom relations

Spanning nearly five centuries, the relationship has often switched from a state of alliance to rivalry. Presently there is a diplomatic row going on over extraditions.

 San Marino See San Marino – United Kingdom relations
 Serbia 1837 See Serbia – United Kingdom relations
 Slovakia 1993
 Slovenia See Foreign relations of Slovenia
 Spain See Spain – United Kingdom relations

During the Second World War Spain remained neutral, but were perceived to be closely aligned with Nazi Germany. Following the end of the war, frosty relations continued between the two states until the end of the Franco era and the democratisation of Spain.

 Switzerland See Switzerland and the European Union
 Turkey See Turkey – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom is the second biggest importer of goods from Turkey, after Germany. Turkey exports around 8% of its total goods to the United Kingdom.[52] Around 1,000,000 Britons take holidays in Turkey every year, while 100,000 Turks travel to the UK for business or pleasure.[53]

The United Kingdom does not recognise the TRNC. The TRNC is only recognised by Turkey. The UK is also a signatory to a treaty with Greece and Turkey concerning the independence of Cyprus, the Treaty of Guarantee, which maintains that Britain is a "guarantor power" of the island's independence.[54]

 Ukraine See Ukraine – United Kingdom relations

Middle East and North Africa

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Iran See Iran – United Kingdom relations

Iran, which was known as Persia before 1935, has had political relations with England since the late Ilkhanate period (13th century) when King Edward I of England sent Geoffrey de Langley to the Ilkhanid court to seek an alliance.[57]

 Iraq See Iraq – United Kingdom relations

Sanctions against Iraq prevented any form of economic relations with the United Kingdom and any other country for thirteen years. Ties between London and Baghdad are slowly progressing, but relations between the two nations are somewhat uncertain seeing as many Iraqis remember the colonial oppression either they or their ancestors faced at the hands of the British Empire. In other words, relations between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Iraq are close, yet controversial.

 Israel 1948 See Israel–United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consul in Eilat.[58] Israel has an embassy and a consulate in London.[59][60]

 Morocco See Morocco–United Kingdom relations

According to some accounts, in the beginning of the 13th century King John of England (1167–1216) sent an embassy to the Almohad Sultan Muhammad al-Nasir (1199–1213), requesting military support and an alliance against France.[61] At home, King John was faced with a dire situation, in which his Barons revolted against him, he had been excommunicated by the Pope, and France was threatening to invade. The embassy of three was led by Bishop Roger, and King John supposedly offered to convert to Islam and pay a tribute to al-Nasir in exchange for his help. Al-Nasir apparently dismissed the proposal.[62]

 Saudi Arabia See United Kingdom - Saudi Arabia relations

The UK has an embassy in Riyadh, consulate in Jeddah and trade office in Al Khobar.[63] Saudi Arabia has an embassy and consulate in London.[64]

 Sudan See Sudan–United Kingdom relations

Sudan has an embassy in London whilst the United Kingdom has an embassy in Khartoum.

Latin America

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Argentina 1823-12-15
 Colombia See Foreign relations of Colombia
 Mexico See Mexico – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom was the first country in Europe to recognize Mexico's Independence.[67] The relationship between the two nations began after the Pastry War were the United Kingdom aided Mexico against France. Also, relations improved when Mexico joined the British alongside with the allies to fight the Japanese forces in the Pacific War. Currently, Mexico has an embassy in London. The United Kingdom has an embassy in Mexico City and a consulate in Monterrey.

 Paraguay 1853-03-04 See Paraguay – United Kingdom relations

Diplomatic relations between both countries were established on 4 March 1853, with the signing of a treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation. The United Kingdom is represented in Paraguay through its embassy in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and an honorary consulate in Asuncion. Paraguay has an embassy in London.[68]

 Uruguay 1825 See United Kingdom – Uruguay relations

Rest of world

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia See Armenia – United Kingdom relations
 Azerbaijan See Azerbaijan – United Kingdom relations

Azerbaijan has an embassy in London. The United Kingdom has an embassy in Baku. Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

 Bahrain See Bahrain–United Kingdom relations

Bahrain has an embassy in London and the United Kingdom is only one of four European countries to have embassy in Manama. Bahrain gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971 and has since maintained diplomatic and trade relations.

 Japan 1854 See Japan – United Kingdom relations

Contact began in 1600 with the arrival of William Adams (Adams the Pilot, Miura Anjin) on the shores of Kyūshū at Usuki in Ōita Prefecture. During the Sakoku period (1641–1853) there were no relations, but the treaty of 1854 saw the resumption of ties which, despite the hiatus of the Second World War, remain very strong in the present day.

 Kazakhstan 1992-01-19 See Kazakhstan – United Kingdom relations

The United Kingdom opened an embassy in Kazakhstan in October 1992 and Kazakhstan opened an embassy in Britain in February 1996.[72] Kazakhstan's relations with the West have greatly improved in the last few years as the Government has closely cooperated in the U.S.-led War on Terror. See also: Counter-terrorism in Kazakhstan

Britain is the third-largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan with British companies making up 14% of foreign direct investment. Over 100 British companies do business in Kazakhstan.[73]

 Nauru 1968 See Nauru – United Kingdom relations

Nauru was part of the British Western Pacific Territories from September 1914 and June 1921.[74] The British Government had ceased to exercise any direct role in the governance of Nauru by 1968, when the island achieved its independence. The Nauruan government maintains an Hon. Consul, Martin W I Weston. The British High Commission in Suva is responsible for the United Kingdom's bilateral relations with Nauru.[75]

 Papua New Guinea 1975 See United Kingdom-Papua New Guinea relations

Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom share Queen Elizabeth as their head of state. They have had relations since 1975 when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia. They nonetheless have British tourists in Papua New Guinea traveling and are trading partners.[citation needed]

 People's Republic of China See People's Republic of China-United Kingdom relations

Although on opposing sides of the Cold War, both countries were allies during World War II, and are members of the UN. But because of the Cold War, First and Second Opium War, and the status of Hong Kong, and other issues, China-UK relations at some points in history have been complicated, but better at other times.

See also

References

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  31. ^ Bilateral Relations British Embassy, Italy
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  36. ^ Lithuanian embassy in London
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  58. ^ About us
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  63. ^ [2]
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  68. ^ Paraguayan embassy in London
  69. ^ British embassy in Montevideo
  70. ^ Armenian embassy in London
  71. ^ British embassy in Yerevan
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  73. ^ Analysis: Why the world cares about Kazakhstan The Times
  74. ^ "Nauru", World Statesmen.org
  75. ^ "UK in Fiji", British High Commission in Fiji

External links


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