The foreign policy implications of and for a separate Scotland

Written evidence from Sir James Craig, former Ambassador

1. During the whole of my career the question of Scottish independence never came up at all. Since I was invited to appear before the Committee I have talked to various Arab friends. They say:

a) there are many Scotsmen in the Arab world. They are usually well liked but are not regarded as a separate entity.

b) Arab States are used to dealing with London, both politically and socially. They have never been accustomed to regard Scotland as a separate political identity. They do not expect the independence of Scotland to make much difference.

2. I put the question indirectly to an Arab prince who was formerly the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the UK. He has replied in writing as follows:

"My personal view is that where we in the GCC are seeking to come closer, Europeans are breaking apart, witness the Czechs and the Slovaks, the Catalans and the Spanish, the Flemings and the Walloons, not to mention the break-up of Yugoslavia. Maybe the Scots want to rule Scotland but why that is preferable to ruling England as well, I don't know. Many British Prime Ministers, Ministers, Generals, Chiefs of Industry were Scottish. I have also just read that Barroso has ruled out automatic inclusion in the EU for an independent Scotland".

3. I conclude that for most Arabs the separation of Scotland from the UK is not an important question. There are one or two who have investments in Scotland (e.g. Highland Spring bottled water is owned by a man from Dubai). They will watch the negotiations with interest but don't expect much difficulty for their holdings.

14 January 2012

Prepared 24th January 2013