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State Recognition

House of Lords written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 23 November (WA 260) concerning United Kingdom recognition of the Vatican City, why the diplomatic links were raised to full ambassadorial status in 1982, and what was their status before that date.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

I refer to the response given by the then Lord Privy Seal, Mr Humphrey Atkins, in the House of Commons Debate on 25 January 1982 (Hansard, Commons, 25 January 1982, vol. 16, col. 245-46W) when asked why Her Majesty's Government have decided to upgrade the legation at the Vatican to an embassy. He said:

"The previous level of relations was an anomaly, based on historical considerations which have long lost their significance. The majority of states, including all but one of the United Kingdom's Community partners, have full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Pope has influence in several areas of the world where important British interests are at stake and by raising the status of their representative at the Holy See to ambassadorial level, Her Majesty's Government are underlining the importance attached to the views of the Vatican".

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