Kazakhstan cancels plan for Dublin embassy over ‘protocol’ issue

Diplomat rejects suggestion his government applied to open consulate in Ireland

The flag of Kazakhstan. A premises for an embassy had been lined up close to Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin. Photograph: Getty Images

The flag of Kazakhstan. A premises for an embassy had been lined up close to Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin. Photograph: Getty Images


Kazakhstan, the largest and richest country in central Asia, has cancelled plans to open an embassy in Ireland due to an issue over protocol with the Irish Government.

Rustam Tazhenov, who has been based in Dublin and who was to be appointed charge d’affaires, said the Kazakh embassy was not opening due “to a matter of protocol” between the two countries. A premises for the embassy had been lined up close to Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin 2.

The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the matter, but sources familiar with the department’s handling of the application from the Kazakhs said the country applied to open a consulate rather than an embassy. Government protocol allows countries to open only embassies in Ireland.

Mr Tazhenov, who will leave Ireland shortly, declined to elaborate on the exact circumstances, but dismissed any suggestion his government sought to open a consulate.

“I am afraid your information is not accurate,” he said in an emailed statement. “Kazakhstan did not apply to open a consulate in Ireland. We have no further comments.”

Moldova also submitted a request to the department last year to open a consulate, sources said. This was declined so the eastern European country intends to open a full embassy in Dublin.

New Zealand and Colombia are opening embassies in Ireland. Last year the Government announced plans to open new embassies in New Zealand, Colombia and two other countries, Chile and Jordan, along with new consulates in Vancouver, Canada, and Mumbai, India.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan sought to open an embassy in Dublin to expand trade between the two countries, learn how to attract multinationals and build an international financial services centre similar to Dublin’s IFSC.

‘Covering’ Ireland

Mr Tazhenov said it still hoped to open an embassy in the future. In the meantime he does not see any problems in “covering” Ireland from London.

Erlan Idrissov, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the UK, presented his credentials to President Michael D Higgins on May 17th “as a non-resident ambassador” during a visit to meet Government and business leaders.

It is common for ambassadors to hold secondary accreditations with countries other than where they are stationed. For example, Ireland’s ambassador in Australia currently has a secondary accreditation with New Zealand, while the Irish envoy in Mexico covers Colombia.

Consulates are government delegations led by a consul and effectively satellite offices of embassies but which provide more limited services.

They are usually in locations or cities outside of capitals, and are deemed to be a lower ranking diplomatic representation because of the absence of an ambassador.

Ireland has, for example, a number of consulates across the United States reporting to the Irish Ambassador who is based in the Embassy in Washington.

Under the Government’s protocol, where a country sets up a diplomatic outpost in Ireland, it must be an embassy with an ambassador.