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Archive for February 19, 2022

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat says nuclear deal revival depends on U.S.

Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington could succeed “at the earliest possible time” if the United States makes the necessary political decisions, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said at the Munich Security Conference. “I would like to emphasize here that we are ready to achieve a good deal, at the earliest possible time, if the other side makes the needed political decision,” Amirabdollahian said in a panel session. (https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/irans-top-diplomat-says-2015-nuclear-deal-revival-depends-us-political-decision-2022-02-19/) He added that establishing security and calm in the Middle East was possible with the participation of regional countries, “without foreign interference”.

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Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Minsk suspends visa services

The consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk has stopped providing visa services due to lack of personnel, reports the embassy press service on Facebook. It is a result of the diplomatic mission staff reduction made at the request of the Belarusian authorities. “As a result of an acute shortage of personnel due to the forced downsizing of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, the consular department has suspended all visa services starting from February 15 and offers only emergency services,” reads the statement. (https://belsat.eu/en/news/18-02-2022-consular-section-of-u-s-embassy-in-minsk-suspends-visa-services/) Emergency services include U.S. passports and consular birth certificates issued abroad. The U.S. Embassy will continue to provide services under current conditions and regrets that actions by Belarusian authorities have limited the availability of consular services. In January 2022, information emerged about the threat of closing the U.S. Embassy in Minsk. It was due to the pressure from the Belarusian authorities on the diplomatic mission’s staff to shrink considerably. On February 1, the U.S. Department of State ordered the families of U.S. diplomats to leave Belarus due to the possible escalation of tensions around Ukraine.

Newsline: Afghan Ambassador to US steps down

Adela Raz, the Afghan Ambassador to the US, has stepped down from her post, a senior official at the mission said, calling the new restrictions imposed by the US Department of State on the Embassy as the reason for her resignation. Afghan Deputy Ambassador Abdul Hadi Nijrabi told TOLO News on Friday that the US State Department had decided to stop political and diplomatic activities of Afghanistan in the US. He said the State Department in a letter to the Afghanistan embassy in Washington demanded the diplomatic activities be halted. “The letter sent by the US State Department to the embassy said only the ambassador is allowed to continue work from home, but not on political and diplomatic activities. The rest of the diplomats cannot work anymore,” he said. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/afghan-ambassador-to-us-steps-down/ar-AAU3lAT) Raz is the third senior Afghan diplomat who stepped down from her position within the past six months, TOLO News reported. Previously, the Afghan Ambassadors in China and Turkmenistan resigned from their positions.

Newsline: British Embassy in Kyiv moves hundreds of miles to Polish border

In another sign of the deepening escalation of the crisis, the British Embassy in Kyiv announced it was moving 336 miles west, close to the Polish border. The move mirrored a US embassy relocation last week – and is thought to be for the protection and security of staff amid fears of an imminent invasion. The UK Foreign Office confirmed: “The British Embassy office in Kyiv is temporarily relocating. Embassy staff are operating from the British Embassy office in Lviv.” (https://www.the-sun.com/news/4722122/british-embassy-kyiv-move-imminent-russian-invasion/) Of around 6,000 British passport holders in Ukraine were urged to leave immediately a week ago as tensions spiralled. But the majority were still believed to have stayed put last night – after the embassy warned it would not be able to assist an evacuation if Russians invade.

Newsline: North Korean ambassador to China stranded in Beijing

As skaters and sledders vie for medals at the Beijing Olympics, another extraordinary event is quietly unfolding on nine acres in the city’s embassy district. Here, in rows of concrete beige buildings, hundreds of North Koreans are enduring perhaps the longest-running pandemic-enforced separation in the world. The Communist state has sealed off its borders so tightly that it has left its own ambassador to China stranded in Beijing. Ji Jae-Ryong, 79, has been apart from his family for years even though his replacement arrived last February, two sources familiar with the matter say. Ji is ailing and regularly receives treatment in an elite Beijing hospital, one of them said. (https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/beijing-snapshot-korea-games-diplomat-remains-82950721) They declined to be identified because they aren’t permitted to speak publicly.