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UK installs new hotlines to EU allies

PTI London
Updated: 01-11-2018 02:48 IST

London, Nov 1 (AFP) British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed Wednesday he has installed new hotlines to key EU allies since taking office -- but mostly uses text and WhatsApp to communicate with global counterparts.

"Foreign ministers around the world communicate a lot by text and WhatsApp. That's the way a lot of diplomacy is done these days. That was a bit of a surprise to me," said Hunt, who took office in July.

"But there are certain conversations that it's wiser to have on a secure line. That's why we're going to expand the number of people we can talk to in that way."

Hunt told an event in London that when he was appointed, there were secure phone connections in his office to Britain's key intelligence partners, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

He has added Japan, France and Germany, saying: "It allows for the strengthening of important alliances."

In a speech, Hunt warned Britain must prepare itself for a major shift in the world order in the future, which would dwarf its decision to leave the European Union.

He highlighted the rise of China, the retreat of democracy in many areas and challenges to global rules such the chemical weapons attack in Britain in March, which London blamed on Russia, and the rise of trade protectionism.

"The global balance of power is shifting once more and post Brexit, our place within it changes as well," he told an audience of ambassadors and media.

Hunt announced a major expansion of the diplomatic network, including hiring businessmen to become ambassadors for the first time as Britain eyes new trade deals outside the EU. (AFP) SMJ


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