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Date : 09-11-2011

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Press release: Foreign Secretary urges China to keep up pressure on North Korea

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged China to keep up the pressure on North Korea when he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York.

The Foreign Secretary also met with Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno and reiterated the UK’s solidarity with Japan over the threat it faces from North Korea.

Speaking after the meetings the Foreign Secretary said:

China has a vital role to play and unique economic influence over North Korea. It controls more than 90 per cent of North Korea’s external trade, including its oil supplies, making them perfectly placed to put the kind of pressure on Kim Jong-Un that will make him take notice.

As the Prime Minister said during her recent visit to Japan, the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with them in the face of North Korean aggression.

Last week the harshest UN sanctions placed on any nation in the 21st century were imposed on North Korea. They must now be enforced.

The Foreign Secretary is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings. As well as conducting a series of bilateral meetings he also co-hosted an event on reform of the Human Rights Council alongside Nikki Haley, the US permanent representative to the UN and Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.

News story: Hurricanes Irma and Maria: government response and advice

Updated: travel advice for Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Haiti updated

Hurricane Irma has affected large parts of the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria is forecast to bring further hazardous sea and weather conditions. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated travel advice to provide guidance for British nationals who are in countries and territories affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The hotline for British people affected or concerned about others: +44 (0)20 7008 0000.

Travel advice for places affected by Hurricane Maria

The FCO has updated travel advice to include information about Hurricane Maria for the following countries and overseas territories:

Travel advice for places affected by Hurricane Irma

In addition to the countries and overseas territories listed above, the FCO updated travel advice relating to Hurricane Irma for:

See also the guidance on what to do if you’re affected by a crisis overseas.

For the latest updates follow @FCOtravel on Twitter or FCOtravel on Facebook.

Government response

Facts and figures

18 September

15 September

14 September

13 September

12 September

11 September

10 September

9 September

8 September

7 September

6 September

Watch an overview of the UK government’s response to Hurricane Irma

Watch an overview of the UK government’s response to Hurricane Irma

Press release: Foreign Secretary hosts key summit on Burma

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and other Foreign Ministers have met with senior Burmese representatives to urge an end to the violence against the Rohingya people and allow humanitarian access.

In the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the Foreign Secretary brought together Burma’s National Security Advisor and Deputy Foreign Minister with ministers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

Along with securing full and unhindered humanitarian access for international aid agencies, including the UN, and calling for an end to violence, those present at the meeting also urged Burma to implement the Annan Commission recommendations.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

While Burma has undoubtedly made encouraging progress towards democracy in the last few years, the situation in Rakhine, the terrible human rights abuses and violence are a stain on the country’s reputation. For this reason Burma should not be surprised to find itself under international scrutiny and on the Security Council’s agenda.

As I have repeatedly said no one wants to see a return to military rule, so it is vital that Aung San Suu Kyi and the civilian government make clear these abuses must stop. I was encouraged by our discussion and by the participation of the senior Burmese representatives, but we now need to see action to stop the violence and open up immediate humanitarian access.

As well as hosting the meeting on Burma, the Foreign Secretary, along with International Development Secretary Priti Patel and Minister for the Caribbean and Overseas Territories Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, also convened a high level discussion on the effects of Hurricane Irma.

The meeting set how out the UK, Netherlands and France are working in close partnership to help those affected by this devastating hurricane. While the focus remains responding to the immediate aftermath, it was also agreed that recovery and reconstruction must include plans to help prevent and mitigate future crises.

Commenting on the meeting on Hurricane Irma the Foreign Secretary said:

It’s vital that we get better at building automatic recovery systems in the Caribbean, ensuring that we work together with our French, Dutch and US partners, so that when something like this strikes we can all respond even faster.

The UK is committed to helping those affected recover as quickly as possible and can assure people that once the cameras have left and the world moves on to the next crisis, well will still be there.

The Foreign Secretary is in New York for UNGA where he also represented the UK at President Trump’s event on UN reform.

Notes to editors

Last week, the UK confirmed an extra £25 million to help people affected by the violence.

Other attendees at the Hurricane Irma event included:

  • Minister Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of the Netherlands

  • Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of France

  • Commissioner Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

  • Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda

  • Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet, Saint Lucia

  • Mark Lowcock, USG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Response Coordinator

As well as representatives from the affected British Overseas Territories.

View the latest information on the UK Government response to Hurricane Irma.

Media enquiries

For journalists

All the latest news available on the Foreign Office page of the website.

Press release: COBR meeting on Hurricanes Irma and Maria 18 September 2017: update on government response

We remain concerned that Hurricane Maria, which is strengthening as it approaches the Leeward Islands, could hit the UK’s Overseas Territories in the Caribbean already affected as well as Montserrat.

FCO, DFID and military teams are working closely with the Governors in the Overseas Territories to ensure we are doing all we can to support the Governments of the islands affected.

Ministers discussed the preparations that have been put in place:

  • Over 1300 military troops are staying put in the region – either on the islands already affected or in locations from where they will be able to readily deploy once Maria has passed.
  • An additional 42 strong military resilience team has been deployed forward to British Virgin Islands prior to Hurricane Maria ready to support additional needs there.
  • A military reconnaissance team has been put on standby to go to Montserrat to assess need if it is hit by Hurricane Maria.
  • DFID has established logistics hubs in the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Antigua & Barbuda to ensure swift supply of relief items if required and is procuring additional supplies from Miami and Panama.
  • HMs Ocean, which is due to arrive in the region at the end of the week, with 60 tonnes of DFID supplies on board will be deployed according to need once Hurricane Maria has passed.
  • On the basis of the latest weather forecast, we are advising against all but essential travel to Montserrat and Anguilla and against all travel to the British Virgin Islands.
  • All those in the region are urged to follow the advice of the local authorities.

To date, the UK government has allocated £57 million to the immediate response effort and agreed to match up to £3 million of public donations to the Red Cross appeal.

75 tonnes of DFID relief items have either arrived or been procured in the region including much needed food, water, nearly 3,000 shelter kits, 5,000 hygiene kits and 10,000 buckets.

40 tonnes of humanitarian aid has been distributed including over 4 tonnes of food and water on the British Virgin Islands; 720 litres of water to the Turks and Caicos Islands; and over 2 tonnes of building materials to Anguilla.

Speech: PM press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: 18 September

Merci, Justin, de m’avoir accueillie à Ottawa aujourd’hui.

Thank you, Justin, for welcoming me here to Ottawa today.

Canada and the United Kingdom of course have a long shared history.

And this nation, conceived and created 150 years ago, has flourished. Over that time British and Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen and women have fought and died alongside each other in the pursuit of freedom.

We have developed the institutions of Westminster-style democracy, personal rights, and the common law.

And we celebrate together our shared monarchy, and close ties of family and friendship.

My visit to Canada today is not only about recognising our past but also looking ahead to our bright future.

We are both countries with ambitions to lead on the world stage and progressive values that underpin those ambitions.

Domestic policy coordination

We are both committed to ensuring our economies work for everyone, not just the privileged few.

And that includes eliminating the gender pay gap once and for all. We have spoken today about the importance of closing that gap and championing the rights of women and girls around the world.

That means ending the tyranny of domestic violence, sexual violence in armed conflict and educational and economic exclusion.

Our cooperation on this agenda is emblematic of the UK and Canada joining forces to share approaches at home and champion our shared values out in the world.

We will also be discussing the ways in which our governments will work together to foster innovation, including measures that will allow business to harness the opportunities of clean growth.

And we have confirmed our joint commitment to supporting the global transition away from a reliance on coal as an energy source. Once again, the UK and Canada will lead the way, and I am pleased to announce that the UK will aim to phase out unabated coal by 2025.

Trade and investment

The UK and Canada have a strong and growing economic relationship, and we are natural partners in promoting the benefits of free trade.

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the bulk of which, as the Prime Minister said, comes into effect this week, has significant potential to boost transatlantic prosperity and the UK economy, eliminating 98% of Canadian import duties and massively increasing the opportunities for British exporters.

And I am pleased that we have agreed today that CETA should be swiftly transitioned to form a new bilateral arrangement between the UK and Canada after Brexit.

As staunch champions of the power of free trade to grow our economies, Canada and the UK will also work together at the World Trade Organisation to promote and spread the benefits of free trade.

The rules-based international system established after the Second World War is under threat as never before.

We must make sure it can adapt and change to cope with new and emerging powers and the economic realities of globalisation in order to deliver growth and opportunities for all.

Defence and security cooperation

As we work to support the global economic rules-based order, so too do we stand firmly together in upholding the international norms that govern our security.

And I’m pleased to announce that we will deepen our defence and security cooperation in eastern Europe as we stand up to Russian aggression there.

We have agreed concrete steps to improve our defence cooperation and our interoperability through new joint training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces from the beginning of next year.

This will be the first joint training the UK has done with any other country inside Ukraine, and will involve joint reconnaissance training, joint counter-sniper training, and joint military police training.

And we will conduct a joint UK-Canada military exercise in Latvia next month, under the umbrella of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in eastern Europe.

To ensure NATO can respond to an ever-changing world, the UK and Canada will also be at the forefront of championing NATO reform and supporting its steps to modernise, including on cyber security.

And today we have discussed how we will continue to work closely together on counter terrorism and counter extremism, sharing intelligence and expertise to build community cohesion.

I want to thank the Canadian people for their support and solidarity in the wake of the terrible Manchester and London attacks, including of course the attack just last week.

You stood with us as we stood with you in the wake of the tragic Quebec attack. We will never be divided. The terrorists will not win; our values will prevail.


When we come together and work as one to project our shared values on the world stage, we form a powerful union.

From our cooperation as G7 members, in the Commonwealth, and in dealing with the awful aftermath of Hurricane Irma, providing life-saving aid to those in need, to the inspirational Invictus Games showcasing the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country – the UK and Canada stand side-by-side.

And I am very much looking forward to our visit later today to meet British and Canadian Invictus athletes.

The values and principles which make our countries special are needed more than ever in the world today.

So Britain and Canada can confidently face the future together.

News story: COBR meeting, 18 September 2017: Sir Alan Duncan's statement on Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Minister for the Americas Sir Alan Duncan said:

I’m back in the Crisis Centre because once again we’ve had another meeting of COBR, which is our emergency committee, because we’re looking at an unprecedented sequence of events where having had so many hurricanes there’s now a serious danger that we’re going to get yet another.

So we are tracking Hurricane Maria and as you can see behind me we’ve got all the details to see where it’s going, and we have to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. But one of the consequences of having these earlier hurricanes is we’ve got a lot of people and equipment in place.

So what we are very vigorously doing now is trying to anticipate where the damage might lie, and pre-positioning supplies and all of the equipment that can lead to the maximum resilience for these poor people who’ve been hit once and might be hit again.

So we are focusing of course on our Overseas Territories, which on this occasion might include Montserrat, which was lightly affected last time, but we are working around the clock to do our very best. And I’d urge everybody to follow the travel advice which we are regularly updating.

Be assured that we are doing our utmost to anticipate where help is needed and to make sure that if this hurricane hits people, and hits them again, we will be there to deliver the need that people will want.

Sir Alan Duncan’s statement

Press release: UK ready to respond to Hurricane Maria

VIDEOS AND IMAGES – view and download from Google drive

The UK is in position to respond to further extreme weather in the Caribbean as the approaching Storm Maria is reclassified as a hurricane. The hurricane comes less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded.

UK experts on the ground are working closely with national authorities to prepare for the approaching hurricane. Staff, military assets and relief supplies remain in the region and are ready to respond.

DFID, alongside other government departments, are already working on plans to deal with the hurricane’s aftermath and are in close contact with Governor’s offices. This includes efforts to get people to public shelters and secure loose materials and debris which could cause further injuries.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

We are under no illusions about the possible impact of Hurricane Maria and are taking every measure possible to prepare communities which have already been devastated by Hurricane Irma.

British troops, police and aid experts are working relentlessly to get help to the victims of Hurricane Irma. Those same individuals will now be tasked with also preparing for the impact of Maria, and to ensure support continues to get to those in need.

Chris Austin, the Head of the UK’s Joint Task force, added:

We are planning for the unexpected, we are planning for the worst. We need to demonstrate our own resilience because there is a real chance that Hurricane Maria may significantly impact on our existing efforts to provide relief.

To date, 75 tonnes of DFID relief items have either arrived or been procured in the region including much needed food, water, nearly 3000 shelter kits, 5,000 solar lanterns and 10,000 buckets.

A further 60 tonnes of aid and reconstruction materials is on the way to the region on HMS Ocean, and DFID has chartered a number of flights and vessels which will transport additional relief items to the affected islands.

The UK is also leading the way in the long-term reconstruction of islands hit by Hurricane Irma. Speaking at the 72nd session of the United Nations along with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Ms Patel will say that whilst relief effort will go on, plans are being put in place to help rebuild on the islands, more resiliently than in the past, so a future hurricane won’t be as devastating.

UK aid is already having a significant impact on many of the victims including Dorothy, a victim of Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands, who said:

I was so happy when the soldier told me yesterday that my house was the first house that was fixed. He said that they had given people things to fix their houses but my house was the first house that a soldier came and fixed. I said God I’m blessed.

I was the happiest person on earth because I was very sad because I had lost everything. With whatever people give me, or what I can get myself, I’ll fix up my place so it looks like somewhere I can live.

Notes to Editors

  • Maria is currently a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80mph. The hurricane is expected to strengthen as it heads towards the Leeward Islands (Barbados). Hurricane warnings are in place for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat and Anguilla.

  • 32 aid experts, 1,300 military personnel and 59 police officers are working on the UK’s response.

  • So far the UK has committed nearly £60 million as part of its response to Hurricane Irma.

General media queries

Follow the DFID Media office on Twitter - @DFID_Press

Press release: Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Turkey

Full name: Dominick John Chilcott CMG
Married to: Jane Elizabeth Chilcott
Children: Four


2012 – 2016 Dublin, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2011 Tehran, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2008 – 2009 Washington, Deputy Head of Mission
2006 – 2007 Colombo, High Commissioner and non-Resident High Commissioner to the Republic of Maldives
2003 – 2006 FCO, Director Europe (bilateral relations and resources)
2002 – 2003 FCO, Director of Iraq Policy Unit
1998 – 2002 Brussels, UK Permanent Representation to the EU, Counsellor for External relations
1996 – 1998 FCO, Assistant Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
1993 – 1995 Lisbon, Head of Political section
1990 – 1992 FCO, Desk Officer for EU regional policy and Gibraltar, Europe Directorate
1988 – 1989 FCO, Head of Section, Central Africa Department
1985 – 1988 Ankara, Third then Second Secretary Chancery
1984 Full time language training (Turkish)
1982 – 1983 FCO Assistant Desk Officer, Southern Africa Department
1982 Joined FCO

Further information

Media enquiries

For journalists

Press release: UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Bangladesh visits Dhaka

A trade delegation of nine UK rail companies lead by Rushanara Ali MP, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh, has today begun a week-long tour to Bangladesh to showcase UK expertise in the rail sector and to underscore the importance the UK attaches to its trade and investment partnership with Bangladesh.

The companies accompanying the Trade Envoy on her second visit to Bangladesh in less than a year are specialists in the full spectrum of the rail supply chain from consultancy, systems design, rolling stock, and operations. Rail is an important sector for Bangladesh and the group is eager to look into areas where British expertise can help assist with existing transport initiatives that are key to the onward growth and productivity of the country.

Ms Ali also announced that UK export finance support available for UK trade with Bangladesh has increased from £ 150 million to £625 million, an increase of over 400%. This means an additional nearly £500 million capacity to help UK exporters, and their buyers in Bangladesh get access to the best quality British goods and services.

On arrival in Dhaka, Rushanara Ali said: ‘Britain is keen to expand trade with Bangladesh, offering world class expertise and technology that will help the country move closer to its middle income aspiration. I’m delighted to be back in Bangladesh and I’m very much looking forward to working to strengthen and deepen our trading relationships.”

Among her engagements in Dhaka, Ms Ali will visit the Dhaka Metro rail site and attend a special British-Bangladesh rail collaboration seminar. She will also meet the Bangladesh Ministers of Commerce, Communication, Railways and Finance and State Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss future trade possibilities.

Rushanara Ali will also travel to Sylhet, the district her family comes from, to visit actual and potential areas of British investment. She will also see first-hand some of the UKAID supported programmes to help Bangladesh’s development.

Expressing optimism about the second visit of the UK Trade Envoy, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Alison Blake, said:

“I am delighted that Rushanara Ali is leading a delegation of UK rail specialists. The mission is a demonstration of UK companies’ willingness to learn more about the opportunities in Bangladesh and seek partnerships for the benefit of both our countries. Given the strong friendship and close ties between the UK and Bangladesh, I am confident that Rushanara Ali’s visit will open up new avenues for trade.“

Ms Ali will conclude her official visit to Bangladesh on September 21.

Note to Editors

The cross-party Trade Envoy programme was established in 2012 to build bilateral trade relationships and help drive economic growth in countries identified as key markets for the UK. They are unpaid positions. There are currently 24 Members of Parliament and Peers from across the political spectrum working as Trade Envoys covering over 50 different markets. All Trade Envoys are personally selected by the Prime Minister for their experience, skills and knowledge of particular sectors and countries. This is part of a new whole-of-government approach to boosting trade with priority markets and sectors.

  • Rushanara Ali is the Labour Party MP for the constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow. She was first elected in 2010. She is currently a member of the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee.

  • In her Parliamentary career, she has served as Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for International Development, a member of the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee, Parliamentary Select Committee for Energy and Climate Change, Parliamentary Select Committee on Communities and Local Government.

  • The UK has strong business interests in Bangladesh and remains the largest foreign investor. Over 240 British companies are operating in sectors including retail, banking, energy, infrastructure, consultancy and education with main centres of operation in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. The UK is also the third single largest destination for exports from Bangladesh.

Press release: Foreign Office statement on Kurdistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum

A Foreign Office spokesman said:

The UK does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s aspiration to hold a referendum on 25 September. The referendum risks increasing instability in the region when the focus should be on defeating Daesh. That is why the UK has proposed new talks between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Government of Iraq on the future of the relationship between Erbil and Baghdad. Talks should be without preconditions, time limited, address all the issues of dispute between the two parties, and be backed by the international community. The UK calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to seize this opportunity and to enter into serious negotiations with Baghdad.

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