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Politics & press news – Embassy 43

FCO voted top foreign service

The FCO has been voted the best diplomatic service in the world by London’s foreign diplomats in a survey conducted by Embassy Magazine.

Respondents felt the FCO combined “knowledge, skill and networks” with “pragmatism”, “quality tactics” and “interest-based” diplomacy to create a world-beating service.

The US was also a contender, due to its resources and “global presence and influence” but overall diplomats thought the UK “punched above its weight”.

While British diplomats recently revealed at a Diplomatic Excellence Panel that they consider the Quai d’Orsay to be the best service, in the Embassy survey, France only managed to tie third with Germany.

And might isn’t always right: the smart, diplomacy of small states impressed diplomats ,  which is why Singapore was on a level pegging with China in the Asia category.

“Singapore can match the best,” said one former head of mission. “They don’t always support issues just because their allies think so. They can teach us all a lesson.”

China’s powerful economic diplomacy made it the outright winner in the emerging powers category: “Focusing on large infrastructure in the developing world is strategically very sound,” remarked one envoy.

In the Middle East, Israel commanded respect: “The environment is not exactly friendly and Israel has to be alert,” said one envoy. “Some actions are controversial but no one can doubt the determination of Israeli diplomacy in pursuing national interests.”

Tied in first place with Israel was Egypt, for its role in brokering talks between Israel and Palestine, while Qatar and Jordan also got votes for their “quiet diplomacy”.

South Africa’s rapid image change after Apartheid and its voice for Africa made it a clear winner in the Africa category.

The US topped the Americas, but Brazil was commended for its cultural diplomacy and Chile for its effective trade diplomacy.

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