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LONDON—The UK has confronted diplomatic backlash over VIP journey preparations for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, and a number of world leaders are actually skipping proposed ‘park and trip’ plans. have requested particular permission to reach in official automobiles.
International locations of all sizes are following the Overseas and Commonwealth Workplace’s (FCDO) requirement that almost all international heads of state attending funerals on Monday park their automobiles at areas in West London and journey collectively to the occasion at Westminster Abbey. I disagree. Coach offered by the UK authorities.
Diplomats from 5 international locations, together with the G7 group of main developed international locations, informed POLITICO they wished the leaders to be exempt, citing previous age and safety causes.
They had been emboldened by what the prime minister’s official spokesman mentioned on Monday, through which he informed reporters that in some circumstances the “motor ban” was actually solely “steering” and that “steering together with find out how to journey Folks’s preparations are totally different,” he mentioned. It relies on particular person circumstances. “
Journey protocols despatched to abroad embassies over the weekend and obtained by POLITICO wouldn’t apply to leaders equivalent to US President Joe Biden, British authorities sources later confirmed to The Occasions. We plan to reach on the funeral in an armored limousine known as “Beast”. Different leaders with particular safety necessities, equivalent to Israeli President Isaac Herzog, can also be allowed to deliver their very own modes of transport, the identical British sources mentioned.
However London-based international diplomats had been unimpressed by the two-tier system, with their very own heads of state now being handled the identical as Biden and, for some, arriving by bus. We ask that you just keep away from what could be thought of an insult. Small nation.
“We try to exempt our stuff from the bus,” admitted one UK-based ambassador, however “to this point we haven’t had a lot luck.”
The FCDO has not defined the factors by which sure leaders shall be allowed to skip shared bus journeys from London’s West Finish, diplomats mentioned. Envoys have contacted the Ministry of Protection on to request exceptions, however few have obtained a proper response.
One other senior diplomat mentioned, “The president could be completely happy to take the bus if he mentioned so, however he is over 80, so if there is a method to keep away from that, we’ll strive.”
A 3rd diplomat warned that there was “appreciable anxiousness” amongst leaders about the opportunity of having passengers on board joint VIP coaches. The FCDO held a briefing on Tuesday, the place representatives from all international locations plan to ship leaders to the funeral, however couldn’t clarify how the coach seating plan could be determined.
One other ambassador mentioned the FCDO briefing was welcomed however “raised extra questions than solutions”, including: The logistical problem is large…they’re attempting to influence us to take the bus by saying it’s a lot simpler to handle all the things. “
Some international diplomats have reportedly used shared buses at earlier giant occasions hosted by the UK, together with the United Nations COP26 local weather change summit in Glasgow final 12 months and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at St Paul’s Cathedral. At the very least I do know quite a bit about preparations.
Nonetheless, a 3rd ambassador representing a European nation whose leaders weren’t against taking buses mentioned some heads of state not accustomed to sharing bus journeys known as the plan out of their “masculinity.” ‘, he mentioned. Arranging an FCDO isn’t a trivial matter.
“It may be very tough for the ambassador if you do not know the top of state very effectively or in the event that they settle for these items.” The place do you draw the road?”