Sunday 18 March 2018

Vatican exit

•Much heat has been expended and very little light shed on the Government's decision to close one of our two embassies in Rome (neither of which are in the Vatican).

What is actually happening is that our embassy to Italy is being closed as a cost-saving measure and its operations are being transferred to the Villa Spada, our former embassy to the Vatican.

Nowhere else in the world do we have two embassies in one city, and the usual practice is for us to accredit our ambassador in one country to other neighbouring countries as a cost-saving measure. No small country can afford to maintain an embassy in each of the 200-plus states around the world.

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