After more than 10 years of campaigning and more than 7 years of negotiations, the UK ratifies the Arms Trade Treaty.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
I am delighted to have overseen the successful conclusion of negotiations and last week to have signed the agreement on behalf of the UK.
The Arms Trade Treaty is the result of outstanding collaboration between the government, civil society and industry all working together for a Treaty that will save lives, and I am proud of the part the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has played.
This Treaty will help make the world safer, by placing human rights and international humanitarian law at the heart of decisions about the arms trade. For the first time, countries have agreed international rules governing everything from small arms to warships. If these rules are implemented globally and effectively, they have the power to stop the arms from reaching terrorists and criminals, and fuelling conflict and instability around the world.
Our work does not stop here. We urge other countries - particularly the largest arms exporters - to ratify the Treaty and ensure it enters into force as quickly as possible. We will continue to support other nations in their plans to implement the Treaty, and Mexico’s efforts to plan the first Conference of States Parties.
Equal Marriage Comes to Britain!
Britain has had civil partnerships since 2005, but a clear majority felt that we needed full marriage equality. As of last Saturday, that’s what we have. Our view is clear: Marriage is one of our society’s most important institutions. By opening it to all, we strengthen that institution. We also strengthen society more generally, because, as James Madison once wrote, “Equal laws protecting equal rights” are “the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.”
(Photo:The rainbow flag flew over the Cabinet Office in London this past weekend)
Source: The Huffington Post
Carving what is known as a ‘maritime doughnut’, HMS Dauntless demonstrates her impressive manoeuvrability as she prepares to join the war games being held in north-west Europe. The Type 45 destroyer joins nearly 3 dozen warships, 2 dozen different types of aircraft, and upwards of 13,000 military personnel converging on Scotland’s east and west coasts for Exercise Joint Warrior.
The exercise, which began on 25 March, engages more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and personnel from the various participating nations, which include the UK, USA, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland and Denmark.
The UK-US defence partnership
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has been talking about why the UK and US must remain partners of choice in defence.
The future investment in UK armed forces and the benefit that can bring to the UK’s relationship with the US was reinforced by Secretary Hammond. He said:
With a fully integrated force of 190,000 regulars and reserves, retaining our ability to deploy into the field a division-size force, our cutting-edge, broad spectrum conventional capabilities, our world class Special Forces, and our unique intelligence network, the UK will continue to be able to project and sustain military power around the world.
We will remain the most capable and most interoperable ally of the United States of America.
(Photo: British and American troops working together on operations in Afghanistan, by Sergeant Rupert Frere RLC)
On Friday, 21 March, award-winning three-piece British vocal group Blake visited the embassy and played an informal acoustic set. The classical pop band has sold more than a million albums and performed all over the world, including twice for Her Majesty the Queen. Music is GREAT Britain!
Source: Flickr / ukinusa