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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 00:34 GMT 01:34 UK
Embassy to pay congestion charge
Congestion charge signs
The UAE embassy has paid 99,950 outstanding fines
An embassy has agreed its diplomats should pay London's congestion charge.

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reached a deal with Transport for London (TfL) to clear 99,950 of outstanding fines.

The amount was accrued by the embassy in Kensington, west London, between February 2003 and March 2006.

London's mayor has now asked the US Embassy to follow suit having previously described its refusal to pay the 8 road toll as unacceptable.

In a letter to TfL, the UAE embassy said: "I can assure you that every effort will be made in the future for all diplomats working for this embassy to pay any congestion charges as and when they occur."

Welcomed settlement

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "All Londoners will welcome this settlement with the embassy of the UAE.

"Those embassies, such as that of the United States, which flout the laws of this country and misuse diplomatic immunity to evade the charge are enjoying the benefits of reduced congestion but contributing nothing.

"I hope they will now take a leaf from the United Arab Emirates and understand that as the richest and most powerful country in the world they can well afford to respect this country's laws."

Earlier this month, Mr Livingstone told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday AM: "I have to say I do think it is completely and utterly unacceptable that the American ambassador turns up, having made his billions selling cars, and they stop [paying].

"I think it stinks that he's weaselling his way out of paying his fair share to London because it makes Londoners have to pay more because he's not paying his way."

Campaign group Liberty and Law said it had reported the London mayor to the Standards Board for England for breaching its code over comments he made about the US ambassador Robert Tuttle.


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