LONDON, Mar 13 – Ahead of a G20 summit in London next month, Britain\’s foreign ministry has divided the grouping of leading economies into two distinct tiers, one of which has been targeted as "high-priority" for lobbying, the Financial Times said on Friday.
The report will likely embarrass the British government just days ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers near London on Saturday, before the April 2 summit.
Citing a confidential document it had obtained, the business daily said Britain had chosen 11 countries which merit "intensive diplomatic lobbying and engagement".
According to the document, which was a tender for public relations services issued in December by the government, the 11 countries are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and South Africa.
The remaining seven — the G20 includes the European Union\’s rotating presidency are Russia, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.
"The central objective for the PR (public relations) aspect of this is to raise the profile of the summit with the public and key opinion formers to facilitate positive decision-making," the document reads.
It says the document is "confidential and sensitive" and "may not be divulged to the general public or the media."
The contract, worth 300,000 pounds (320,000 euros, 420,000 dollars) was never awarded, according to the FT.
A spokesman for the ministry told the newspaper that the two-tier list was "absolutely not a firm hierarchy of the most important states for our political relations."
He said the 11 countries had been targeted for various reasons, such as having strong non-governmental organisations, media, academia, trade unions and civil society and "non-traditional actors like sovereign wealth funds".