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World > Europe > United Kingdom > Foreign Relations (Notes)

United Kingdom - Foreign Relations (Notes)


DEFENSE AND FOREIGN RELATIONS
The United Kingdom is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is one of NATO's major European maritime, air, and land powers; it ranks third among NATO countries in total defense expenditure. The United Kingdom has been a member of the European Community (now European Union) since 1973. In the United Nations, the United Kingdom is a permanent member of the Security Council. The U.K. held the Presidency of the G-8 during 2005; it held the EU Presidency from July to December 2005.

The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. The 37,000-member Royal Navy, which includes 6,000 Royal Marine commandos, is in charge of the United Kingdom's independent strategic nuclear arm, which consists of four Trident missile submarines. The British Army, consisting of approximately 99,200 personnel, the Royal Air Force, with 42,000 personnel, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations. Approximately 9% of the British Armed Forces is female, and 4% of British forces represent ethnic minorities.

The United Kingdom stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., and its military forces are part of the coalition force in Afghanistan. The U.K. force in Afghanistan will increase to 7,700 by the end of 2007. U.K. forces are primarily based in the Helmand region, where they are on the front line in the war against continued Taliban operations. In addition, the U.K. has contributed more than 500 million to Afghan reconstruction--the second-largest donor after the U.S. The U.K. was the United States' main coalition partner in Operation Iraqi Freedom and continues to have more than 5,000 troops deployed in Iraq to help stabilize and rebuild the country. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1483, the U.K. also shared with the United States responsibility for civil administration in Iraq and was an active participant in the Coalition Provisional Authority before the handover of Iraqi sovereignty on June 28, 2004. Britain's participation in the Iraq war and its aftermath remains a domestically controversial issue.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - British Pound Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
British Pound Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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