Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Britain, Canada to share Rangoon embassy

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:46 Mizzima News

Canada and Britain have agreed to share embassy space in Rangoon, officials announced in Ottawa on Monday. Currently, Canada has no embassy in Burma.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the space-sharing agreement would also apply to selected embassies and consulates around the world.

Located in the city center, the British Embassy in Rangoon is among a group of colonial buildings that line Strand Road. Photo: AC84 / flickr

“Each country will continue to have complete independence on policy," said Baird, who said the move allows Canada “to focus on smart diplomacy without spending large amounts of taxpayers' dollars on bricks and mortar.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the diplomatic partnership is “about speed, flexibility and practicality,” and is "not about diplomats working for two countries at the same time.”

“Canada will continue to pursue a strong, principled, value-based, independent Canadian foreign policy,” said Baird in response to a question from Official Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.

Britain is reportedly trimming US$ 162 million from its Foreign Office budget, while Canada is cutting $174 million from its Foreign Affairs departmental budget.

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