Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for April 19, 2022

Newsline: UAE Summons Israeli Ambassador

The United Arab Emirates has summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, the Gulf state’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, stressed the need “to immediately stop these events (and) provide full protection for worshippers”, the ministry said in a statement. She also called for “respect for the right of Palestinians to practise their religious rites, and halt any practices that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Moreover, she expressed concern over the escalation of tension that threatens stability and security in the region”. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-04-19/uae-summons-israeli-ambassador-to-protest-against-clashes-in-al-aqsa-mosque) At least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the mosque compound on Friday, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

Newsline: Netherlands Reopens Ukrainian Embassy in Lviv

The Dutch government on Tuesday said it had reopened its embassy in the Ukrainian city of Lviv with a small number of staff last Saturday. “By first returning to Lviv in western Ukraine with a small staff, the embassy will get a good picture of the security situation there,” the Dutch Foreign Affairs ministry said. If the situation is deemed safe enough, the embassy will eventually return to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, it added. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-04-19/netherlands-reopens-ukrainian-embassy-in-lviv) The Dutch embassy in Ukraine’s capital was moved to Lviv on Feb. 22, two days before Russian troops invaded the country. Staff then moved to Poland on Feb. 26. Several other European countries, including France, recently announced they would move back their embassies to Kyiv.

Newsline: Senior Chinese diplomat says cooperation with Russia is ‘resilient’

China told Russia it will continue to increase “strategic coordination” with it regardless of international volatility, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng gave this assurance to Russian ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov, on Monday, the statement said. Le cited the almost 30% increase in China-Russia trade in the first three months of this year as evidence of “resilience and endogenous power” of the cooperation between the two countries, according to the statement. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-russia-cooperation-resilient-says-072609293.html) Both men also discussed Ukraine. China has refrained from condemning Russia over Ukraine.

Newsline: Russia Expels Dutch, Belgian, Austrian Diplomats in Tit-For-Tat Moves

Moscow is expelling 15 Dutch diplomats after the Netherlands last month told 18 Russian diplomats to leave, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry said in separate statements that Russia was also expelling four Austrians and an unspecified number of Belgian diplomats in retaliatory moves. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-04-19/russia-expels-dutch-belgian-austrian-diplomats-in-tit-for-tat-moves) European countries have kicked out more than 300 Russian embassy staff since Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Russia has stepped up its response in the past week by expelling diplomats from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the European Union, as well as the Dutch, Belgians and Austrians.

Newsline: Philippines ambassador to China dies

The Philippines’ ambassador to China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, has died while in quarantine for COVID-19. He was 74. Sta. Romana was a longtime resident of China and had been a correspondent for ABC News prior to being appointed ambassador in 2016. He was among a small group of Filipinos who visited China during the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and were subsequently barred from returning home. He remained in China from 1971 until Marcos’ toppling in 1986 and joined ABC in 1989, the year Beijing was rocked by pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square that were crushed by the military. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs announced Sta. Romana’s passing on Tuesday. No word was given on the cause of death. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/philippines-ambassador-china-chito-sta-romana-dies-84160713) Philippine media reports said he died the day before in the city of Huangshan, where he had been completing his 21-day quarantine after returning from the Philippines with Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr., who visited China for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Sta. Romana was appointed ambassador to China in 2016 “in recognition of his deep knowledge of China’s history and people,” the department said in a statement.

Newsline: US officials say diplomacy still an option despite North Korean missile ‘provocations’

U.S. officials on Tuesday continued to call for North Korea to return to the negotiating table days after Pyongyang conducted another round of missile tests. “We have made very clear that the door to diplomacy, the door to dialogue, remains open,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a Monday press briefing in Washington, D.C. North Korea “needs to cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose the path of engagement, something it has not yet done,” he said. (https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-04-19/north-korea-diplomacy-sanctions-missiles-weapons-tests-5731934.html) The North on Saturday fired two missiles that it described as part of a “new tactical guided weapon system,” its 12th round of tests so far this year. The country on Friday celebrated the 110th birthday of the regime’s founder, Kim Il Sung, a date it has marked previously with military parades and weapon displays.