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Archive for February 7, 2022

Newsline: UK top diplomat warns over Falklands’ sovereignty as China backs Argentina’s claim

Liz Truss has defended the Falklands as “part of the British family” after China backed Argentina’s claim over the South American islands. The Foreign Secretary tweeted that “China must respect the Falklands’ sovereignty” after Argentinian president, Alberto Fernandez, met with China’s President Xi on the fringes of the Beijing winter Olympics. (https://www.aol.com/liz-truss-warns-over-falklands-232855933.html) According to a statement on London’s Chinese Embassy website, the two leaders spoke of their “deep friendship” and Argentina signed up to China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, a state-backed campaign for global influence. But they also signed an agreement in which China reasserted its support for Argentina’s claim to the Falklands, while Mr Fernandez backed Xi’s one-China policy, which claims Taiwan as its own.

Newsline: U.S. Ambassador Takes Mexico’s Side

“Muy bien, Ken,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador crowed at a Friday press conference in Mexico City. He was congratulating U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar for contradicting the Biden administration as the American diplomat finished a visit to Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies the day before. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-u-s-ambassador-takes-mexicos-side-ken-salazar-diplomat-energy-laws-bilateral-issues-constitutional-reform-11644175575) There’s no way to overstate Mr. Salazar’s bad judgment. At issue are constitutional reforms to Mexico’s energy laws, proposed in September by AMLO—as the president is known—and pending approval in the Mexican Congress. The reforms directly contravene the country’s commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to guarantee open, competitive markets and equal treatment of all parties, foreign and domestic.

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Newsline: South African twins sentenced for plot to attack US embassy in Pretoria

A South African court convicted and jailed twin brothers for terrorism on Monday over plans to attack the US embassy in Pretoria and join the Islamic State group, local media reported. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/south-african-twins-sentenced-for-plot-to-attack-us-embassy-jewish-institutions/) Tony-Lee Thulsie and Brandon-Lee Thulsie, both 28, were arrested in South Africa in July 2016 and have been held in custody since. The South African brothers pleaded guilty earlier Monday as part of a plea bargain with the prosecution, according to local media. Hours later the Johannesburg High Court slapped Tony-Lee with an 11-year jail term while his brother Brandon-Lee was sentenced to eight years. Both pleaded guilty to planning to travel to Syria to join IS, the media reports said.

Newsline: Mexican foreign ministry’s lawyer says availability of US weapons harms Mexico

The Mexican foreign ministry’s top lawyer wants to convince a federal judge in Massachusetts that U.S. gun distributors and manufacturers put Mexicans in danger. “The indiscriminate availability of weapons in the U.S. harms Mexico,” said Alejandro Celorio, the foreign ministry’s legal adviser, in an interview with The Hill. (https://news.yahoo.com/top-diplomat-indiscriminate-availability-weapons-144108614.html) In August, the Mexican government filed a lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and a distributor in Massachusetts federal court, seeking damages and alleging the defendants knowingly market and distribute their wares to criminal organizations in Mexico. The lawsuit – a risky move amid bilateral tensions in other areas – came after years of fruitless Mexican hand-wringing over the issue. Mexico and the United States have on multiple occasions in the last two decades attempted bilateral actions to combat crime, but for the most part the issue of firearms has been off the table. Still, about half a million U.S. weapons make their way illegally into Mexico every year, and around 70 percent of all gun crimes in Mexico are committed with U.S.-sourced weapons.

Newsline: China’s U.N. ambassador slams U.S. counterpart

China’s U.N. ambassador has fired back at his U.S. counterpart over her remarks that sending a member of the Uyghur ethnic group to help deliver the Olympic flame was an attempt to distract from the issue of abuses against Muslim minorities. Ambassador Zhang Jun issued a statement to “resolutely refute” what he called unfounded accusations against China made by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in an interview with CNN. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Olympics-Live-Defending-champ-Shiffrin-out-of-16837202.php) Zhang said China’s Winter Olympics team includes 20 athletes from nine ethnic minorities, including Uyghur and Tibetan. China chose cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a Uyghur, as one of two final Olympic torchbearers at the opening ceremony.

Newsline: Russian ambassador to US says embassy will work “till last diplomat”

Russia’s embassy to the United States intends to operate until it has at least one diplomat and to do its utmost to return bilateral relations back to normal, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said on the YouTube channel Soloviev Live. “I want to get it across in a clear and distinct way, without any pathos. We will be working here till the last diplomat and will do our best to defend the national interests while trying to normalize Russian-US relations,” he said. (https://tass.com/politics/1398579) The ambassador argued that everyone loses when the Russian-US relations are at their lowest point.

Newsline: Chile’s top diplomat resigns after absence during migrant crisis

Chilean Foreign Minister Andres Allamand resigned Sunday amid criticism that he was absent from the country while a serious migration crisis developed on the country’s northern border. Allamand told reporters that his trip to Spain sparked “a series of criticisms that are affecting the government.” “This moment marks the definitive end of my long career in national politics,” he added. (https://www.laprensalatina.com/chiles-top-diplomat-resigns-after-absence-during-migrant-crisis-criticized/) The first questions from the political opposition were raised after it became known that Allamand was in Madrid last Thursday in his capacity as Ibero-American general secretary-elect to meet with Spanish Foreign Affairs, European Union and International Cooperation Minister Jose Manuel Albares. In the judgment of his parliamentary opponents, as Socialist Party lawmaker Jaime Naranjo said, Allamand’s trip constitutes a “noteworthy abandonment of his duties”. Meanwhile, the government of Sebastian Piñera sidestepped the criticism saying that the now-former foreign minister had been making use of his legally provided leave to go abroad. According to the government, the deputy foreign relations minister, Carolina Valdivia, will replace Allamand.