Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 27, 2022

Newsline: After China, Russian Foreign Minister to visit India soon

After China, the Foreign Minister of Russia will come calling to New Delhi soon. The dates of the visit will be announced as soon as India’s Foreign Minister, S Jaishankar, returns from his tour to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit will focus on the global geopolitical situation in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lavrov is expected to debrief India on Russia’s Ukraine operations and peace talks with the conflict-ridden country. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/after-china-russian-foreign-minister-sergey-lavrov-to-visit-india-soon/ar-AAVynHe) Both sides will discuss mechanisms to deal in the Rupee-Ruble transaction format in order to continue working with each other despite the US and EU sanctions. Indian oil companies have already purchased Russian oil at discounted prices which was offered to India amid global sanctions and rising global crude prices. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi also discussed the fast changing global scenario with his counterpart Dr. S. Jaishankar during his visit last week. Like the Chinese Minister, minister Lavrov is also likely to meet with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during his visit. While China has voted in favour of Russia in all UN resolutions, India is one of the few countries that has displayed neutrality by abstaining from resolutions moved by the West and by Russia at the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Newsline: Russian-Ukraine conflict seen as test for Chinese diplomacy

The Russian-Ukraine conflict is a test for Chinese diplomacy, but playing a constructive role will offer a “great opportunity” to raise its profile on the world stage in future, a diplomatic observer has said. Li Wei, an international relations professor with Renmin University in Beijing, told an online seminar the war was a “rare event” with greater geopolitical significance than the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. He also argued that as a result of China’s emergence as a global power, it was unlikely that Beijing would stay on the sidelines but would play a role “either actively or passively”. “It would be a great opportunity for China if it could play a constructive role in such a very complex game of great powers, and this opportunity could even shape the entire diplomatic landscape and external environment of China for years to come,” Li told the event on China-US relations hosted by the university. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-war-test-great-opportunity-093000564.html) Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this week that China had a role to play in the crisis.

Newsline: Top diplomat says US isn’t calling for Russian regime change

Hours after President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken made clear the United States does not have a plan for regime change in Russia. “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken said Sunday during a press conference in Jerusalem. “As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia or anywhere else, for that matter,” he said. (https://news.yahoo.com/kremlin-responds-bidens-remarks-putin-073419879.html) Julianne Smith, U.S. ambassador to NATO, also reaffirmed Sunday that the U.S. is not pursuing regime change in Russia. In a sweeping and forceful speech concluding a four-day trip to Europe, Biden on Saturday cast the war in Ukraine as part of an ongoing battle for freedom and ended with a blunt call for Putin to be stopped. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said during a visit to Warsaw, Poland, in his strongest comments to date about his desire to see Putin gone.

Newsline: US top diplomat in Israel for landmark Arab talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel Sunday for a “historic” meeting with Arab countries which have normalised relations with the Jewish state in the US-brokered Abraham Accords. Blinken, who arrived in Tel Aviv Saturday evening, will meet with his counterparts from Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in the Negev desert Sunday and Monday to mark the shift in Arab-Israeli relations that began in late 2020. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described it as a “historic summit”. (https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/us-top-diplomat-in-israel-for-landmark-arab-talks/ar-AAVx5Oh) Blinken’s visit, the first stop in a trip that will also take him to the West Bank, Algeria and Morocco — where he will hold talks with the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed — is focused in part on building support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion. US officials say two other key issues are on the agenda for the trip: quelling the Jewish state’s worries about a looming nuclear deal with Iran, and discussing the potential global wheat shortage caused by the Ukraine war that could deal a heavy blow to the import-dependent Middle East.

Newsline: EU Envoy in Tehran Amid Hopes to Restore Nuclear Agreement

A leading European Union diplomat held talks in Tehran on Sunday, Iran’s state-run media reported, amid hopes that an agreement to restore Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers could be completed. The meetings between the EU’s envoy, Enrique Mora, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani come at a sensitive moment for talks to revive the deal, as the glimmers of a resolution to some of the thorniest issues in the negotiations have emerged. The report on the talks in Tehran gave scant detail, saying only that the diplomats discussed the latest on the nuclear agreement, with Kani repeating that Iran believed a deal was within reach if America was “realistic” in its demands. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-03-27/eu-envoy-in-tehran-amid-hopes-to-restore-nuclear-agreement) Former President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 and re-imposed crushing sanctions. Iran gradually breached the agreement with a massive expansion of its nuclear work.

Newsline: U.S. envoy not confident Iran nuclear deal is imminent

U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Sunday he was not confident that a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran was imminent, dampening expectations after 11 months of talks in Vienna that have stalled. (https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/senior-adviser-irans-khamenei-says-nuclear-deal-with-world-powers-imminent-2022-03-27/) The failure of efforts to restore the pact, which would curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting tough sanctions, could carry the risk of a regional war, or lead to more harsh Western sanctions and further rises in world oil prices, analysts say.

Newsline: Israel Hosts First-Ever Summit of Arab Diplomats

Israel hosts a first-of-its-kind summit of foreign ministers from Arab countries, in a sign of how fast geopolitical alignments are shifting in the Middle East as the region braces for a revived nuclear deal with Iran. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-to-host-first-ever-summit-of-arab-diplomats-11648232033) The top diplomats from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco will gather Sunday and Monday with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who spearheaded the meeting, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Bahrain, the U.A.E. and Morocco all normalized relations with Israel in 2020 in a series of deals called the Abraham Accords.