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World news – Embassy 5 – February 2008

Rice to beef up foreign service

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will urge the US Congress to approve the funding of additional foreign service staff in order to achieve the objectives of the State Department's 'transformational diplomacy'.

Speaking to an audience of diplomats and students at Georgetown University, she said she was hoping to create 1,100 new positions at the State Department and 300 at USAID, the bulk of which would reflect the new geopolitical realities. New posts would be created in the emerging power centres of Asia, such as India and China.

She added that more resources would be poured into better language training and technology that would enable diplomats to move beyond the embassy ghetto to work with local communities.

The Secretary of State also called for the creation of a Civilian Response Corps, an expeditionary group to be led by a core team of diplomats that could deploy with a military unit within 48 hours of a country falling into conflict.

"Not only would a Civilian Response Corps take the burden of post-conflict reconstruction off the backs of our fighting men and women; this civilian organisation could be deployed in times of peace, to strengthen weak states and prevent their collapse in the future," she said.

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