Sources excitefully report that the replacement for current British Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale will be the 42-member staff of the London Symphonic Orchestra. The new diplomatic team is due to arrive in late December 2011.
UK Foreign Office posted official notice about the decision on its website which states: “The decision may seem somewhat unorthodox, but we just happen to be a cutting-edge liberal nation. Plus, the guys at the orchestra wanted a change and we wanted to combine our mission to Armenia with something cultural and exciting. And here we go – a cool team of rotating professional musicians will now be fully available to the Armenian authorities and the public.”
Head of Innovation Department at the Foreign Office John Woops explains: “Originally we planned to send to Armenia married couple or red-haired triplets to Yerevan. Personally, I voted for sending the triplets – really cool trio. But then we thought, oh, what the heck, while we’re going crazy, why not kick it up a notch and send the whole bloody Orchestra.”
Each diplo-musician will spend a month in Armenia then to be rotated by colleagues in order of seniority with an end-of-year full-blown all-staff team concert on Christmas day. One of the concepts behind the mission is to “fine-tune relations between the two countries”.
Armenian officials and experts have expressed doubt and cluelessness about the appropriateness of the decision. “What’s wrong with the old-fashioned tradition of sending one decent diplomat to a country? Has that become too boring for Brits?”, – says a senior unnamed official from the Foreign Ministry of Armenia.
The outgoing Ambassador Lonsdale denies that the new Ambassadors downplay seriousness of the mission: “Oh come on, the new team is just awesome. Britain continues to strongly like Armenia, and we’re just pushing diplomacy to a new, much cuter level. Many orchestra members have developed strong communication skills through touring the world and now they are happy to invest their potential in Armenia.”
However, political analyst Melik Hrant-Shahnazaryan sees a clear political message in the new appointment: “UK is simply indicating how much it prioritizes relationships with non-oilrich countries. I believe the specific message of this new Ambassadorship is ‘let’s just be cultural friends’, that’s it”.
As the preparations for the new Ambassadors continue, Armenian side has announced it might reconsider its format of Ambassadors to UK as well. Sources report that Armenian foreign ministry may build on its successful ‘football diplomacy’ and deploy the “Ararat” football team in the Armenian mission to UK.