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Archive for February 14, 2022

Newsline: Diplomats to resume Iran nuclear deal talks in Vienna

Diplomats will resume talks in Vienna on Tuesday. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/other/iran-nuclear-deal-talks-to-resume-in-vienna/vi-AATCeRE) Envoys are trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Participants of the negotiations were citing progress in recent weeks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian on Monday and they noted a “tangible move forward” in reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Russian foreign ministry said. The talks on a new nuclear accord with Iran have been held in Vienna since April amid growing Western fears about Tehran’s accelerating nuclear advances, seen by Western powers as irreversible unless a deal is struck soon.

Newsline: UK diplomat was stressed before death

A diplomat was suffering with extreme stress while working for the government’s Covid taskforce before going missing and later being found dead in a forest, an inquest has heard. The body of 52-year-old Richard Morris was discovered near his home in Bentley, Hampshire, in August 2020. His wife told an inquest in Winchester that working on the taskforce was “the most stressful job he had ever done”. She added he was “totally unprotected” from the demands of the work. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-60380118) The coroner’s court heard Mr Morris, a former ambassador to Nepal, worked long hours under high pressure helping to coordinate briefings to ministers during the first wave of coronavirus. Mrs Morris said her husband feared there was not enough time to process information in the fast-moving period and if any error got past him the government “would be torn apart in the press”. As a result, he was “desperate” to keep on top of what was going on, working every day with “no real time off”, she said. Mr Morris was last seen running near his home on 6 May 2020 and his body was found three months later in Alice Holt Forest.

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Newsline: Top Russian diplomat calls for more talks amid escalating Ukraine crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested to President Vladimir Putin that Moscow continue diplomatic efforts as they seek to get security guarantees from the West amid heightened tensions with Ukraine. “We have already warned more than once that we will not allow endless negotiations on questions that demand a solution today,” the foreign minister said in a televised conversation with Putin, according to Reuters. (https://news.yahoo.com/top-russian-diplomat-calls-more-164750349.html) “I must say there are always chances,” he added when asked about reaching an agreement. While the U.S. has proposed ways to lessen military risks, Lavrov told Putin that responses to a letter he sent to NATO and the European Union were “unsatisfactory,” the news service reported. “I received unsatisfactory answers, none of my fellow ministers responded to my direct message,” he said. “Therefore we will continue to seek a concrete reaction from each country.” “It seems to me that our possibilities are far from exhausted … At this stage, I would suggest continuing and building them up,” Lavrov also added, appearing to indicate that a Russian military invasion was perhaps less imminent, Reuters noted.

Newsline: Ukraine’s Ambassador to UK says the country could drop NATO bid to avoid war

Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, the BBC quoted the country’s ambassador to Britain as saying, in what would amount to a major concession to Moscow in response to the build-up of Russian troops on its borders. Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC Ukraine was willing to be “flexible” over its goal to join the Atlantic military alliance, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin has said would be a trigger for war. “We might – especially being threatened like that, blackmailed by that, and pushed to it,” Prystaiko was quoted as saying when asked if Kyiv could change its position on NATO membership. (https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-could-drop-nato-bid-062842390.html) Ukraine is not a NATO member but has a promise dating from 2008 that it will eventually be given the opportunity to join, a step that would bring the U.S.-led alliance to Russia’s border. Putin says Ukraine’s growing ties with the alliance could make it a launch pad for NATO missiles targeted at Russia.

Newsline: US ready to complete embassy drawdown in Ukraine if necessary

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Jake Tapper (https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2022/02/13/sullivan-full.cnn) that the US is “prepared in the event that we need to move” out of the US embassy in Kyiv as Russia threatens to invade Ukraine.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Ukraine operating normally

China’s embassy in Ukraine is operating as normal, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday at a daily news briefing. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/1-chinese-embassy-ukraine-operating-075438454.html) Washington and its European allies have been scaling back or evacuating embassy staff and urging citizens to depart immediately or avoid travel to Ukraine due to mounting fears of an invasion by Russia. Moscow has denied that it plans to invade and has accused the West of hysteria. Wang said that the Chinese embassy in Ukraine will provide consular protection for its citizens and has issued a notice asking citizens to closely monitor the situation on the ground.