Politics

‘Sea was closed!’ Raab erupts at ‘nonsense’ he was paddle boarding while Afghan chaos hit

Dominic Raab dismisses ‘nonsense’ about ‘lounging on the beach’

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UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has fired back at speculation surrounding his vacation to Crete during the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Mr Raab has come under the spotlight for appearing to continue holidaying on the Greek island as the scale of the disaster in Kabul became apparent. The Tory Minister has strongly denied claims he shirked ministerial duties and shut down the idea he ditched diplomatic calls to go paddleboarding. 

Mr Raab told Sky News: “All of those claims and suggestions are not true.

“We discussed the matter and I agreed to come back on Sunday I am not going to add further to the speculation about that.”

He added: “The stuff about me being lounging around on the beach all day is just nonsense.

“The stuff about me paddleboarding, nonsense! the sea was actually closed it was a red notice.”

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“I was focused on the COBRA meetings, the Foreign Office team the Director and the Director-General, and the international engagement,” Raab continued.

“And as a result of the actions of the Government 9,000 people British nationals, Afghan workers were secured back to the UK.”

Mr Raab has face pressure to resign over claims he dodged a crucial phone call about securing the evacuation of Afghan interpreters.

However, the Foreign Secretary has maintained that the planned call with Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar had been “quickly overtaken by events.”

 

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In a statement released by the FCO, Mr Raab said: “The UK Government’s overriding priority has been to secure Kabul airport so that flights can leave.

“On Friday afternoon, 13 August, advice was put to my private office recommending a call to the Afghan Foreign Minister. This was quickly overtaken by events.

“The call was delegated to a Minister of State because I was prioritising security and capacity at the airport on the direct advice of theDirector and the Director General overseeing the crisis response.

“In any event, the Afghan Foreign Minister was unable to take the call because of the rapidly deteriorating situation.” 

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The Foreign Secretary added: “The Government’s approach to prioritise security at the airport was the right one.

“As a result, 204 UK nationals and their families, Afghan staff and other countries’ citizens were evacuated on Monday morning.

“Since then, 1,635 have been evacuated.

“I pay tribute to the excellent team we have in place, and we continue to prioritise what is required to evacuate people.”

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