The Foreign relations of the United Kingdom reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Foreign relations of the United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom is a major player in international politics, with interests throughout the world. The former British Empire and its successor, the Commonwealth of Nations links the UK with many of the world's nations in one way or another. The UK has also exported its parliamentary style government; legal system; financial system; and language throughout the world.

Summary of UK relations with the following countries/regions

United States of America. The United Kingdom is the closest military and political ally of the United States. The two countries share military research and intelligence facilities. The UK has purchased military technology from the USA such as Tomahawk cruise missiles and Trident nuclear missiles. The USA also maintains a large amount of military personnel in the UK. Traditionally, the Prime Minister of the UK and the President of the United States have been close allies. See Special relationship.

European Union. The UK has been a member of the EU since 1972. Although the UK is not a member of the Euro, it still plays a major part in the day to day workings of the EU. The UK has clashed with individual countries of the European Union, particularly France and Germany over the war on Iraq. The UK faces a critical juncture in its relations with the EU over the ratification of a new EU Constitution, which many senior European politicians believe to be a decisive step towards a federal United States of Europe.

Republic of Ireland. The UK works closely with the Irish government in areas concerning the peace process in Northern Ireland. Under the Ireland Act 1949 Irish citizens are treated as though they are Commonwealth citizens and not aliens for the purposes of law.

Cyprus. The UK maintains two sovereign area military bases on the island. The UK is also a signatory to a treaty with Greece and Turkey concerning the independence of Cyprus.

Africa. The UK was once the colonial power in many African countries. Nowadays the UK as lead member of the Commonwealth of Nations seeks to influence Africa through its foreign policies. Current UK disputes are with Zimbabwe over its treatment of British nationals and white farm owners.

Major International Disputes between the UK and Foreign countries since 1945


Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs: gateway country for Latin American cocaine entering the European market; producer and major consumer of synthetic drugs, synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering center

See also