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Building bridges

South Sudan [EMBASSIES]

The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest country on 9 July. New embassies and ambassadors are needed.

UK:

Moved swiftly to re-christen its consul-general as ambassador and changed the name of its office in a fortified shady compound.

USA:

Cut a ribbon outside its old building and called it new – but a vast construction site on the other side of the Nile is rumoured.

China:

A big player in the old unified Sudan. For now, its diplomacy is still run from the car park of the Beijing Juba Hotel.

Sudan:

South Sudan’s foe during years of civil war announced it had opened a new embassy before independence. But no one in Juba seems to know, or care, where it is.

Housing benefit

USA [DIPLOMACY DISTRICT]

Washington city officials are finalising plans to carve out the US capital’s second official diplomatic district, which could set off a major land rush by Foreign Ministry officials seeking new digs in what many consider their most prominent overseas posting.

As many as two dozen new embassies could be housed in a new Chancery Center on the sprawling grounds of the decommissioned Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the hospital where US presidents receive care. The self-contained site would be a lure for those countries working in prestigious embassy row addresses off Dupont Circle, where stately mansions have proven difficult to upgrade for modern tech and security needs.

But the State Department sees a strategic objective: one planning document anticipates “reciprocal action by other governments”. In other words, a show of hospitality in Washington could help US diplomats in their own house-hunting abroad.

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