Pithy Peace Treaties? Diplomats turn to Twitter

PARIS (AP) - Enough reading between the lines. European
diplomats are saying it all in 140 characters.
France is the latest country to turn to social networking site
Twitter to tell the world what its diplomats are up to. Top
British, Dutch and Portuguese officials are among those doing it,
too.
With a 140-character limit, the tweets are pithy, with none of
the nuance or lengthy constructions common in diplomatic texts.
Travel warnings figure prominently. "Special travel advice for
the Seychelles: info about maritime piracy in the zone," reads one
tweet from the French Foreign Ministry, with a link to a Web site
with more detail.
The tweets reveal little of what's going on at closed-door
diplomatic talks in world capitals. Most are links to speeches and
statements.
Such a public presence presents new dangers for diplomats.
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has been on Twitter for
months, but got a slap on the wrist in February for tweeting a
picture from the weekly Cabinet meeting, which is supposed to be
private.
Diplomatic tweets can have a stinky side, as Britain's Foreign
Office demonstrated recently: "Caroline Flint is in the East
Midlands to see how the EU is helping to promote traditional
English products such as Blue Stilton Cheese."


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