Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May, 2022

Newsline: Czech ministry summons Russian ambassador over diplomatic properties

The Czech Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador on Tuesday to express concerns about the use of Russian diplomatic properties. The Czech Republic expelled around 100 Russian embassy staff last year in a diplomatic row over Prague’s accusations of Russian involvement in a 2014 explosion at an arms depot, and the government has been one of the toughest advocates of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. “Diplomatic missions on the territory of a foreign state must respect not only the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, but also the rules and laws of the host country,” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement. “Russia does not do this and does not respect the rule of law,” the ministry’s statement added, without providing further details. (https://news.yahoo.com/czech-ministry-summons-russian-ambassador-105709109.html) Russia’s Embassy in Prague said it disagreed with the statements, saying usage of Russian real estate in the Czech Republic and Czech real estate in Russia had been a matter of expert discussions for a number of years, and the Czech side had ignored proposals to hold a next round of talks. “It would be appropriate to refrain from politicisation of and drawing media attention to this sphere of our mutual relations and return to a well-proven negotiation process,” it said on its Facebook page. CTK news agency reported that a newly created working group to deal with properties owned by Russia had found dozens of properties that raised doubts whether they were still used for diplomatic activities. It gave no further details.

Newsline: Israel’s top diplomat sees no quick breakthrough with Saudi Arabia

Reaching a deal to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia will be “a long and cautious process”, but Israel believes it can happen, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. Lapid, speaking on Israel’s Army Radio, said that should an agreement emerge, it would not come in a surprise announcement like it did with previous deals, which include agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. “We will not wake up one morning to a surprise, rather it will be a long and cautious process on both sides. There are security interests for both countries,” Lapid said. He added it would be a “slow process of small details” but that he believed a deal could be reached. (https://news.yahoo.com/israels-top-diplomat-sees-no-171406473.html) Israel has said it hopes to build on its 2020 U.S.-brokered accords with four Muslim nations and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest two sites, has conditioned any eventual normalization with Israel on the addressing of the Palestinians’ quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Newsline: Moscow Trolls U.S. With New Name for Russian Square Near Embassy

Moscow’s city government is asking residents to pick a name glorifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for a square located outside the U.S. embassy. Officials in Russia’s capital are asking residents to vote on a list of three names for the square that all exalt Russian-backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. The naming of the currently nameless square, which shares a block with the U.S. embassy, is a thinly veiled affront to Washington and a further sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries over the war in Ukraine. (https://www.newsweek.com/moscow-trolls-us-pro-invasion-name-russian-square-near-embassy-1711492) The list of names submitted by Moscow’s city government for the square includes “Defenders of Donbas Square,” “Donetsk People’s Republic Square” and “Hero of Russia Vladimir Artyomovich Zhoga Square,” reported The Moscow Times. The names refer to Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists are currently fighting Ukrainian forces. The region, which has a large population Russian-speaking population, has seen separatists declare independent republics for Donetsk and Luhansk. Vladimir Zhoga was a separatist military leader killed earlier this year during the fighting.

Newsline: China threatens to downgrade ties with Israel after newspaper publishes Taiwan’s top diplomat interview

An interview with Taiwan’s foreign minister published in an Israeli newspaper has reportedly ruffled feathers in China. Jerusalem Post editor Yaakov Katz said he received a call from the Chinese embassy in Israel, insisting that his outlet take down the interview. “Didn’t take long. Got call from Chinese embassy. Apparently I’m supposed to take down the story or they will sever ties with the @Jerusalem_Post and downgrade relations with the State of Israel,” Katz tweeted shortly after the article was published. “Needless to say, story ain’t going anywhere.” In the interview, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned of the threat posed by China’s authoritarian regime. “When dealing with China, you should never accept preconditions because once you accept preconditions, you lose no matter what,” Wu said. “And when you worry about China getting angry and give in, or make pledges that you shouldn’t make concessions, China also wins.” He urged Israel not to worry about getting China upset, noting that “when they get upset at you, that means you are doing something right.” (https://www.foxnews.com/world/china-threatens-downgrade-ties-israel-newspaper-publishes-taiwan-interview) Taiwan remains a thorn in the side of Beijing, which regards the island nation as a renegade state. Fears of a possible invasion have mounted in recent months amid Russia’s brutal military invasion of Ukraine.

Newsline: Suriname says will open embassy in Jerusalem

Suriname plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem though a date is not yet set, the South American country and Israel both said on Monday. (https://wsau.com/2022/05/30/suriname-says-will-open-embassy-in-jerusalem/) Just four countries – the United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo – currently have embassies in Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv. Surinamese Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin paid a visit to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Israel’s government said in a statement. “During the meeting between the two foreign ministers, the Surinamese Foreign Minister announced that his country plans to soon open an embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” the statement said. Ramdin told Reuters he was not sure when the facility would open. “We don’t know yet. We have expressed the intention. The consultation on how and what is going to start now,” he said. Suriname appointed a non-resident ambassador to Israel, Stevanus Noordzee, in March.

Newsline: China falls short on big diplomatic deal in South Pacific

China fell short Monday on a bold plan to have 10 Pacific nations endorse a sweeping new agreement covering everything from security to fisheries as some in the region expressed deep concerns. Wang was in Fiji to co-host a key meeting with the foreign ministers from the 10 island nations. At an unusual news conference afterward, Wang and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama spoke for about 30 minutes and then abruptly left the stage as reporters tried to shout out questions. (https://www.kpbs.org/news/international/2022/05/30/china-falls-short-on-big-deal-in-south-pacific-but-finds-smaller-wins) That left many details of what transpired at the meeting unanswered. But it was clear the nations hadn’t endorsed China’s plan. “As always, we put consensus first among our countries throughout any discussion on new regional agreements,” Bainimarama said. But there have been plenty of smaller wins for China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he continues an island-hopping tour of the region. While there have been growing international concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions in the region, many Fijians see a benefit in foreign investment wherever it comes from, so long as it uplifts the people.

Newsline: EU diplomats make eleventh-hour push for deal on Russia oil sanctions

Top European Union diplomats met on Monday for a last-ditch attempt to agree on Russian oil import sanctions before their leaders meet later in the day. (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-pledge-support-ukraine-not-ready-with-new-russia-sanctions-2022-05-30/) The meeting is aimed to avoid a display of disunity over the bloc’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Newsline: US slams China’s effort to ‘manipulate’ UN envoy’s Xinjiang visit

The United States has expressed concern over China’s “efforts to restrict and manipulate” the UN human rights chief’s visit to the Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of detaining more than a million people in indoctrination camps. In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was concerned that the conditions Chinese authorities imposed on Michelle Bachelet’s visit did not enable her to conduct “a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in [China], including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing”. Bachelet had defended her visit earlier on Saturday while still inside China, saying it was “not an investigation” but called on Beijing to avoid “arbitrary and indiscriminate measures” in its crackdown in Xinjiang. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/29/us-slams-chinas-effort-to-manipulate-un-envoys-xinjiang-visit) Her visit was the first to China by a UN high commissioner for human rights in 17 years and comes after painstaking negotiations over the conditions of the visit. She began her trip in the southern city of Guangzhou before heading to Xinjiang. But her access was limited as authorities had arranged for her to travel in a “closed loop” – isolating people within a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – with no foreign press.

Newsline: EU mulls compromise to break deadlock on Russian oil embargo

Ambassadors from the 27 European Union member states will on Sunday examine a compromise that could enable them to break the deadlock on a sixth round of economic sanctions against Russia, including a landmark halt to Russian oil imports, EU sources told AFP. (https://news.yahoo.com/eu-mulls-compromise-break-deadlock-153240503.html) The compromise solution put to national negotiators on Sunday consists in excluding the Druzhba pipeline from a future oil embargo and only imposing sanctions on oil shipped to the EU by tanker vessel, the sources said. The latest round of proposed sanctions has been blocked by landlocked Hungary, which has no access to seafaring oil cargo ships and is dependent for 65 percent of its oil needs on Russian crude supplied via the Druzhba pipeline. Budapest has rejected as inadequate a proposal to allow it two years longer than other EU states to wean itself off Russian oil. It wants at least four years and at least 800 million euros ($860 million) in EU funds to adapt its refineries to process non-Russian crude and boost pipeline capacity to neighbouring Croatia.

Newsline: Saudi Arabia Names Veteran Diplomat as New Climate Envoy

Saudi Arabia appointed a veteran diplomat and former ambassador to the US as climate envoy, a task that had previously been mostly managed by the same ministry that controls oil production. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-29/saudi-arabia-names-veteran-diplomat-as-new-climate-envoy) Adel Al-Jubeir, minister of state for overseas affairs, will tackle the function along with his present job, in keeping with a royal order issued on Sunday. Al-Jubeir had beforehand served as overseas minister — a separate title. Al-Jubeir held key diplomacy positions throughout a interval that noticed heavy lobbying from the US authorities to persuade international locations that have been usually reticent to assist a worldwide local weather pact to as an alternative signal on. The Paris local weather settlement was signed by virtually each nation on the earth and it was ratified in November 2016. It wasn’t instantly clear what the appointment means for the local weather coverage of the world’s largest crude oil exporter — which has usually been directed by officers in its Ministry of Vitality.