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Church consultant gives diplomacy tips after Cameron and Queen gaffes

Wed 11 May 2016
By Aaron James

A church consultant and international lawyer has been giving diplomacy advice after the Prime Minister and the Queen both made PR gaffes within 24 hours of each other.

Dr Harry Hagopian, who also has a formal conflict resolution diplomacy qualification, was speaking after David Cameron called Nigeria and Afghanistan "fantastically corrupt" in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen - hours before both countries were due to arrive in Britain for a special summit on tackling corruption.

Most Revd Justin Welby publicly rebuked David Cameron over his remark, saying the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was "not corrupt" stating he was trying very hard.

Nigeria and Afghanistan both come high on world corruption lists, and both of the country's leaders have acknowledged the issue.

They also acknowledged the role that British banks and other organisations can play in holding money gained from corruption, while Labour called David Cameron hypocritical as Britain has tax havens across the world where money is hidden.

David Cameron acknowledged his mistake to MPs in Parliament and the work Nigeria and Afghanistan are doing to tackle corruption within them.

In a separate occurrence (below), the Queen said Chinese officials were "very rude" when they were in Britain for a state visit last year.

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It was after they abandoned the UK's ambassador to China mid-way through the visit.

When a senior Metropolitan Police member told the Queen she was in charge of security while the Chinese government was in Britain, she replied: "Oh, bad luck".

Harry Hagopian told Premier's News Hour: "It's a question of looking at the person on an equal footing with mutual respect and then addressing the shared concerns in order to be able to achieve shared objectives.

"If you basically are willing to give and take, it works in politics, it works in social and cultural issues, but interestingly enough, it also works when Christians and religious people do this.

Dr Hagopian also said something a person would call rude in one country might be viewed as acceptable behaviour in another country: "We in the West have a Euro-centric, different way of looking at things.

"The way a person behaves... is of course filtered largely through your own cultural filter."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speaking to Dr Harry Hagopian on the News Hour:

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