Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for April 28, 2022

Newsline: Irish reporter accuses Russian Ambassador of “taking us for fools”

Russia’s Ambassador to Ireland made a number of claims that were challenged by reporter Sarah McInerney on Thursday evening’s episode of RTÉ’s Drivetime. “Russia is not carrying a war,” Ambassador Yury Filatov told host Sarah McInerney during the roughly 20-minute interview, “Russia is carrying a special military operation in Ukraine.” Filatov went on to claim that Russia has put a “special emphasis on not targeting any civilian infrastructure” while in Ukraine. McInerney pressed Filatov on those claims, playing two separate clips of people speaking about atrocities in Ukraine. Filatov said it was a “calculated staged provocation we witnessed in Bucha. The Russian military had nothing to do with the killing of civilians.” McInerney then apologized for interrupting Filatov but said: “It’s very difficult and insulting to our listeners to hear what you are saying. “I think I have to put that to you, because you are taking us all for fools, aren’t you? “Your contention seems to be that Russia invaded Ukraine and after that point, Ukrainians, in response, started randomly killing each other, raping each other, their own citizens, in an effort to frame Russia for those crimes. “The whole world is in on this big lie, is what Russia is saying.” (https://www.irishcentral.com/news/politics/irish-reporter-russian-ambassador-fools) McInerney then told Filatov that she is not trying to blame the messenger, but that she and others increasingly feel they cannot trust the messenger, which is Filatov.

Newsline: Former US ambassador accused of illegal lobbying for Qatari government

A former U.S. ambassador is in hot water after charges were filed accusing him of illegal lobbying for a foreign government. Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates Richard Olson has been arrested for alleged misconduct while lobbying for the Qatari government. Authorities accuse Olson of using his position to broker arrangements for himself after his tenure as ambassador. His alleged actions would break multiple “revolving door” regulations – stipulations against lobbying on behalf of the same group one did business with on behalf of the nation. Revolving door regulations exist to keep government employees from compromising their work. Olson filed court documents earlier this month stating that he will be pleading guilty to the charges. “I, Richard Gustav Olson, have consented to the filing of an information in the above-designated case,” Olson wrote. “I wish to plead guilty to the offenses charged, to waive trial in the Central District of California, and to dispose of the case in the District of Columbia in which I am present.” (https://www.foxnews.com/us/former-us-ambassador-accused-illegal-lobbying-qatari-government) Qatar remains a tense ally of the U.S. due in no small part to the increasingly unstable situation in Ukraine and the resulting price spikes for gas.

Newsline: Vatican’s chief diplomat visits Mexico

During the visit of Pope Francis’s top diplomat to Mexico, the Vatican and the Mexican government promised to cooperate in building peace and protecting human rights. “Mexico and the Holy See look to the future together, sharing the same values,” said Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin at an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See. “We look to the future, and as we continue to prepare together mechanisms of cooperation, it seems important to me to underline that they must serve all the Mexican people, starting from the neediest,” he said. (https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/04/vaticans-chief-diplomat-visits-mexico-during-time-of-church-state-tensions) Mexico is home to the world’s second largest Catholic population, with 98 million people claiming church membership, out of a total population of 128 million.

Newsline: China’s ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’ Is Catching up with US-led Sanctions Against Russia

Rather than joining America and its allies in sanctioning Russia for invading Ukraine, China is using “wolf diplomacy” to advance its international agenda. For instance, last month, a Global Times editorial blamed the U.S.-led sanctions against Russia for rising food and energy prices, which have helped push Sri Lanka’s economy off the cliff. This month another Global Times editorial accused Washington of “dragging South Pacific into the geopolitical game” by planning to expand military bases in the Solomon Islands — that’s something China has already been doing by signing a security agreement with the island nation. Meanwhile, there’s China’s wolf diplomacy in the South China Sea, where Beijing has been trying to intimidate its neighbors with some success (e.g., the Philippines). And there’s China’s wolf diplomacy in Taiwan Strait, where Beijing tells everyone to stay away from Taiwan, which it considers an integral part of the motherland. (https://www.ibtimes.com/chinas-wolf-warrior-diplomacy-catching-us-led-sanctions-against-russia-3487972) While helping advance its international agenda, “wolf diplomacy” serves Beijing’s domestic agenda to reconcile power, too.