Ildefonso Castro and Ignacio Ybáñez.
The Diplomat. 20/01/2017
Today’s Cabinet Meeting plans to appoint Ildefonso Castro as new secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to replace Ignacio Ybáñez, according to information provided to The Diplomat by reliable sources.
In the last five years, Castro has been the main adviser on international policy of the president of the Government, Mariano Rajoy. He graduated in Law and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1992. He has been appointed to the Spanish diplomatic representations in Equatorial Guinea, Paraguay, Sweden, the Dominican Republic and Ireland. Before getting to Moncloa, he was chair adviser in the International and Security Department of the Presidency of the Government, as well as director of Office in the Secretariat of State for the EU.
The position that Ildefonso Castro will leave vacant will be filled by Bernardo de Sicart, current ambassador to Switzerland, and whose appointment will be predictably approved today at the Cabinet Meeting. Sicart, who has been a diplomat since 1985, worked as a diplomatic adviser with Mariano Rajoy, when he was minister of the Interior and vice-president of the Government. He also was head of Protocol at Moncloa from February 2012 until his appointment as ambassador to the Swiss Confederation in July 2014.
As for Ybáñez, the ‘number two’ of the Foreign Ministry took up his position in November 2014. Previously, and under the orders of the former minister José Manuel García-Margallo, he was director general for the Maghreb, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and then director general for Foreign Policy and Multilateral, Global and Security Affairs. His next destination will be, according to the aforementioned sources, that of the Spanish Ambassador to Russia, once the authorities of that country grant the requested placet.
Other appointments of senior officials in the Foreign Ministry are waiting for the restructuring of the Ministry, which must be approved by the Treasury. The minister, Alfonso Dastis, intends to create a State Office for Africa and go back to the scheme of two states offices for EU affairs, as well as combining in a single state office the current offices of Media and Public Diplomacy and that of the Office of Diplomatic Information.