Friday, 18 January 2013 08:28
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has welcomed a proposal to share UK embassies in Africa, saying it would ensure diplomatic support for Australian mining interests on the continent.
Mr Carr will discuss the possibility of Australian diplomats having access to UK embassies in Africa when he meets with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Perth today.
It follows comments by Mr Hague on Thursday, in which he said the two allies would seek to increase "diplomatic support for each other".
This would include making some UK embassies "available for Australian diplomats in Africa during Australia's membership of the UN Security council", Mr Hague said.
Mr Carr said the proposal would offer "a great advantage to Australia", which did not have the resources to have an embassy in every African country.
"With billions of dollars in Australian mining investment taking place in Africa and a lot of engagement by us with African countries these days we might want to have a mission located for a short time at least," Mr Carr told reporters in Sydney.
"We'd be able to locate our personnel in an African country where we haven't got an embassy and wouldn't have the resources to open an embassy."
Mr Carr said with Australian mining companies having invested about $50 billion in Africa, as well as various Australian aid programs on the continent, it would be beneficial to explore "co-location" with the UK.
"There is a bit of pressure to expand our diplomatic footprint in Africa."
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