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Archive for February 4, 2022

Newsline: Russian diplomat says German journalists won’t be expelled

Deutsche Welle journalists won’t be expelled from Russia after their credentials are withdrawn, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Friday. “The employees of Deutsche Welle’s news bureau have been notified of the need to surrender their credentials by the end of the day (on February 4 – TASS),” she noted, adding: “The accreditation withdrawal does not mean that they have to leave.” (https://tass.com/society/1398151) The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman explained that 16 out of 19 DW employees were Russian citizens and there was no reason for them to leave the country. At the same time, no one demands that the three remaining journalists, who are foreign nationals, should leave Russia.

Newsline: American Diplomat Says Haiti Is on the Verge of Catastrophe

February 7 is Judgment Day in Haiti, after which rising gang violence and political turmoil will further expose the Biden State Department policy toward the country as an ongoing disaster. America’s effort to impose a resolution to Haiti’s political crisis, while deporting thousands of refugees back to the troubled country, has already caused the resignation of the U.S. special envoy, Daniel Foote, who is speaking out vigorously online. Foote has been calling the American approach “stubborn arrogance” that is “strong-arming Haitians” to accept an unelected prime minister and a plan for quick elections that few in Haiti want. The erstwhile envoy, who resigned in September after images circulated of U.S. border guards on horseback riding down Haitian refugees, has even criticized some of his former colleagues by name. As Foote warned in his resignation letter, “What our Haitian friends want, and need, is the opportunity to chart their own course … I do not believe that Haiti can enjoy stability until her citizens have the dignity of truly choosing their own leaders fairly and acceptably.” (https://washingtonmonthly.com/2022/02/04/haiti-is-on-the-verge-of-catastrophe-an-american-diplomat-saw-it-coming/) February 7 is significant because on that date the term of the American-backed prime minister, Ariel Henry, legally expires. U.S. intelligence officials say they fear that the increasingly powerful gangs, which regularly paralyze the capital, Port-au-Prince, could violently challenge Henry, who is already deeply unpopular, once his last shred of legitimacy ends.

Newsline: Israel summoned Ukraine’s ambassador

The Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgeny Kornichuk for a reprimand after the diplomat criticized Yair Lapid’s remarks regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict in a statement posted on Facebook. (https://www.israelhayom.com/2022/02/04/ukrainian-ambassador-summouned-for-reprimand-over-remarks-about-lapid/) On Wednesday, Lapid told Axios, “At the moment, the [Israeli] assessment is that we don’t see a violent confrontation soon. I also don’t think a world war is about to start there. We are concerned that this is taking away [the United States’] attention from the nuclear talks in Vienna.” In return, Kornichuk wrote he was “deeply appalled by the recent remarks of Mr. Lapid regarding his vision of the ‘Russia-Ukraine conflict.’ I would like to remind Mr. Minister that it is not a conflict – it is a WAR that Russia aggressively and cynically conducts against Ukraine. It is a shame that Mr. Lapid has not noticed that there is a war in the center of Europe which has lasted for eight years already. A senior official in Kyiv told Israel Hayom that the ambassador’s remarks reflect the Ukrainian government’s stance and expressed disappointment at the side Israel has decided to take.

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Newsline: Chinese embassy rebuts US media comments on Beijing Winter Olympics

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States has rebutted a Washington Post editorial on the Beijing Winter Olympics. “The Olympics should be about sports, not politics,” Minister Counselor Liu Pengyu wrote in a letter to the newspaper’s editorial board in response to the article “China has a message for Winter Olympic athletes: Shut up and ski” under The Post’s View. “Beijing 2022 should be an international arena for the Olympic spirit, not political manipulation,” Liu continued. “It is unethical to take the athletes hostage in the name of ‘free speech’ and force them to ‘speak out’ against International Olympic Committee rules, especially when narratives have been adversely impacted by the U.S. government and some media outlets.” “The Beijing Winter Olympics will be a huge success. Every participant will be a winner,” he concluded. “The only losers are the rumormongers who make futile attempts to politicize sports.” (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/northamerica/20220204/f39d4f8b39aa46809c033dc5903237c2/c.html) The opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics took place on Friday, with competition running on Feb. 2-Feb. 20.

Newsline: U.S. lawmakers push to rename Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers proposed matching bills in the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday that would require the United States to negotiate the renaming of Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington as the “Taiwan Representative Office,” a move certain to rankle China. It is currently called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), using the name of the island’s capital city. Should the measures become law, any change in the office’s name could provide cover to smaller countries to take similar steps to boost engagement with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory. The United States, like most countries, does not have official ties with democratically governed Taiwan, but is its biggest international backer. The bills direct the Secretary of State to “seek to enter into negotiations” with TECRO to rename its office as the “Taiwan Representative Office.” (https://www.investing.com/news/world-news/us-lawmakers-push-to-rename-taiwans-de-facto-embassy-in-washington-2756813) The White House and U.S. State Department and China’s embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to requests for comment. China chafes at any international references to Taiwan it sees as suggesting the island is its own country. It downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania and pressed multinationals to sever ties with the country after Taiwan opened an office in Vilnius last year called the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.

Newsline: Russian Embassy in Washington mocks Pentagon warning of false flag

The Russian Embassy in the U.S. took to social media late Thursday to mock Washington for engaging “in conspiracy theories” after the Pentagon warned of a possible false flag attack along eastern Ukraine’s border to justify a conflict. “We call on Washington to abandon propaganda and go in for serious work to strengthen European security,” the embassy said. The embassy went on to say that it is “not surprised by the new ‘creative’ scenario outlined by @StateDeptSpox & PentagonPresSec” and called it a typical move by the U.S. (https://www.foxnews.com/live-news/russia-ukraine) The statement pointed to 2003, when Colin Powell, who was secretary of state at the time, made an appearance at the United Nations and held up a white vial that represented Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said earlier in the day that U.S. officials believe Russia is planning to “stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory or against Russian-speaking people to therefore justify their action as part of this fake attack.”

Newsline: Ukraine’s ambassador ‘appalled’ by Israeli FM’s comments on Russia standoff

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk rails at Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after the latter said he does not believe there will be a violent confrontation between Ukraine and Russia. “At the moment, the [Israeli] assessment is that we don’t see a violent confrontation soon. I also don’t think a world war is about to start there,” Lapid told Axios. In a statement posted to Facebook, Korniychuk says he is “deeply appalled by the recent remarks of Mr. Lapid regarding his vision of the ‘Russia-Ukraine conflict.’ “I would like to remind Mr. Minister that it is not a conflict — it is a WAR, that Russia aggressively and cynically conducts against Ukraine. It is a shame, that Mr. Lapid has not noticed the war in the center of Europe which lasts for eight years already,” Korniychuk said.