Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 16, 2022

Newsline: Canada’s U.N. ambassador denounces attack on ‘global order’

Canada’s man at the United Nations, Bob Rae, is a diplomat who is calling it like he sees it these days. “We know [the Russians] are lying because their lips are moving,” Rae recently told a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interviewer. The aggression that’s been carried out by Putin’s government is a breach of every aspect of international law, every aspect of the international order, he said. What Russia is doing is not just an attack on Ukraine, it’s an attack on the global order, it can’t be allowed to stand, Rae said. (https://news.yahoo.com/canada-u-n-ambassador-attack-170023890.html) Rae, a former social democrat premier of Ontario who later served as interim leader of the federal Liberal Party, brings a politician’s instincts to his perch in New York City.

Newsline: Diplomat says Israel ‘has chosen a side’ with Ukraine

An Israeli diplomat pushed back on accusations his country has not supported Ukraine enough in its war against Russia. Ambassador Asaf Zamir, the consul general of Israel in New York, says it’s a complicated issue, but Israel “has chosen a side.” “We are against the Russian aggression,” said Zamir, a guest of NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” “We side (with) Ukraine, we will find a way to implement these sanctions, we’ll find a way to make Israel a place where money isn’t laundered and dirty money doesn’t go.” (https://www.newsnationnow.com/on-balance-with-leland-vittert/israel-has-chosen-a-side-with-ukraine-diplomat-says/) Several dozen Jewish tycoons from Russia are believed to have taken on Israeli citizenship or residency in recent years. Many have good working relations with the Kremlin, and at least four — Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and Viktor Vekselberg — have been sanctioned internationally because of their purported connections to Putin. Israel’s position has to be nuanced, Zamir said. Its border with Syria means they “share an effective border with Russia because of Russian presence on the Syrian border,” he added. Complicating Israel’s response is its open door policy to all people of Jewish descent. Israel allows them to become citizens, and a law passed in 2014 gives them a 10-year tax holiday. Zamir said Israel helped set up a field hospital in Lviv, Ukraine and is preparing for potentially hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Ukraine and Russia.

Newsline: Moscow to retaliate against Montenegro over expulsion of Russian diplomat

Russia will respond to Montenegro’s decision to declare a Russian diplomat persona non grata. (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/moscow-retaliate-against-montenegro-over-expulsion-russian-diplomat-ria-2022-03-16/) The statement was made by Yuri Pilipson, director of the Fourth European department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying on Wednesday.

Newsline: Turkey’s top diplomat says in Moscow that war must stop

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the war in Ukraine must stop and Ankara would press on diplomatic efforts to arrange a lasting ceasefire. (https://www.reuters.com/world/turkeys-top-diplomat-says-moscow-that-war-must-stop-2022-03-16/) He was speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday.

Newsline: China’s ambassador to US advocates peaceful settlement of Ukraine crisis

China’s ambassador to the US has insisted that the ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’ of Kyiv ‘must be respected’ in the latest example of cracks in Beijing’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Qin Gang also said ‘conflict between Russia and Ukraine does no good for China’ in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday where he sought to clarify Beijing’s position on Putin’s war. Gang said China would have tried to prevent ‘the imminent crisis’ had it known of the Kremlin’s plans beforehand and warned that ‘the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter must be fully observed’. This, he added, meant ‘the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine, must be respected’. ‘The legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously; and all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported,’ Gang wrote. (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10618781/Chinas-ambassador-insists-Beijing-making-real-efforts-peace.html) Moscow and Beijing have drawn closer in recent times, in what Washington sees as an increasingly hostile alliance of the authoritarian nuclear powers. Beijing has refused to outright condemn Putin’s invasion and abstained from a vote at the United Nations calling out Russian aggression last month.

Newsline: Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland Blasts Ryanair Over Ukraine Repatriation Flight Costs

The Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, has criticized Irish airline Ryanair for high pricing on key refugee routes out of Poland. Gerasko said, “Ryanair raised the prices and it’s unfortunate, and I’m waiting for a meeting with the Minister for Transport of Ireland (Eamon Ryan).” (https://simpleflying.com/ukrainian-ambassador-blasts-ryanair-over-ukraine-repatriation-flight-costs/) Gerasko told a European Union Affairs Committee at Leinster House on Tuesday that she had written to the airline a week ago but hadn’t received a reply. Senator Sharon Keogan said that the price hikes were “unforgivable.” The ambassador welcomed the idea of arranging official charter flights suggested by Sinn Féin Deputy John Brady and also called for improved facilities and services for refugees arriving in Dublin, such as translators.

Newsline: Embassy in Russia supports Vietnamese fleeing Ukraine

The Embassy of Vietnam in Russia will continue to work with Russian agencies to safely receive Vietnamese fleeing to Russia from eastern Ukraine, Counsellor Nguyen Tung Lam from the embassy has said. About 70 Vietnamese remain in Kherson and 24 families of 80 people in Mariupol of Ukraine, which are war zones, the Vietnamese Embassy said. (https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/565643817/embassy-in-russia-supports-vietnamese-fleeing-ukraine) Earlier, a delegation of the embassy and the Vietnamese Association in Krasnodar received 14 Vietnamese people who fled from Kherson to Krasnodar. The group, including three children, was the first among Vietnamese to leave Kherson. The evacuation of the group was difficult due to the conflict.

Newsline: Russia Softens Iran Demands

Russia walked back recently made demands on Washington related to the Iran nuclear deal, clearing the way for Tehran and Washington to revive the 2015 agreement, senior western diplomats said. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-softens-iran-demands-re-opening-way-for-nuclear-deal-11647382224) On Tuesday, after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart, both Mr. Lavrov and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Russia wasn’t standing in the way of the accord.

Newsline: Singapore’s Top Diplomat Calls on China to Influence Russia to End Ukraine War

Singapore’s top diplomat said he hopes China will use its “enormous influence” on Russia to help end its war with Ukraine, warning that Beijing’s decisions in the coming days and weeks could determine the future path of the global economy. “The big issue now is what decisions and actions China takes,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in an interview with Haslinda Amin to be broadcast at the upcoming Bloomberg Live’s Asean Business Summit. Singapore last month became the first Southeast Asian nation to say it is imposing unilateral sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, a move Balakrishnan said was necessary due to “the egregiousness of it all.” Calling the invasion “perhaps even a bigger moment than the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he said China has a greater economic stake than Russia in an “integrated multilateral rules-based world.” “I hope they will assert their influence with Chinese characteristics, which means quietly and discreetly, but effectively,” Balakrishnan said of President Xi Jinping’s government. “That’s a hope now. Whether this is wishful thinking on my part we’ll see over the next few days and weeks.” (https://time.com/6157712/singapore-calls-china-end-russia-invasion-ukraine/) Singapore’s biggest banks have restricted trade financing for Russian raw materials including a halt on issuing so-called letters of credit in U.S. dollars for trades involving oil and liquefied natural gas, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Singapore Airlines Ltd. has also suspended all return services with Moscow due to operational reasons. Singapore has rarely imposed sanctions on other countries in the absence of binding United Nations Security Council approval.