Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for May 4, 2022

Newsline: Iran summons Swedish envoy over ‘illegal’ trial of ex-official

Iran’s foreign ministry has summoned Sweden’s ambassador to protest what it called the “illegal” imprisonment and trial of a former official accused of human rights abuses in 1988. Swedish prosecutors had levelled “baseless and fabricated” accusations against the official, Hamid Nouri, and Iran, the foreign ministry told Stockholm’s newly-appointed envoy, Mattias Lentz, according to state-run IRNA. The outlet also said Nouri’s trial had been influenced by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an opposition group which Iran considers a “terrorist” organisation due to a string of bombings in the 1980s, and attacks on Iranian soil during the Iran-Iraq War with support from former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The Iranian foreign ministry also called for an end to what it described as a “political show” in Sweden’s courts, and for Nouri to be freed immediately. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/2/iran-summons-swedish-envoy-over-illegal-trial-of-ex-official) The move comes days after Swedish prosecutors called for life imprisonment, which is the maximum sentence, for Nouri during his 89th court session. Nouri was arrested in 2019 upon arrival at Stockholm airport, and his trial began in August 2021, after Swedish authorities invoked the principle of “universal jurisdiction”.

Newsline: Brazil plans ‘fertilizer diplomacy’ trip to North Africa

Brazil’s new agriculture minister Marcos Montes will visit Morocco, Egypt and Jordan in a tour starting this week to discuss increasing fertilizer imports from those countries. “It’s a pilgrimage that we are calling fertilizer diplomacy,” Montes said in an interview with Reuters, adding he would be joined by private sector representatives. “We are going to open doors.” (https://whtc.com/2022/05/03/brazil-plans-fertilizer-diplomacy-trip-to-n-africa-jordan-to-secure-more-imports/) Brazil relies on imports for about 85% of its fertilizer needs and is concerned about a potential global shortage of the products after Western nations imposed sanctions on key producers Belarus and Russia, while China restricted exports. Montes’ tour will start on Thursday and last 8-10 days. Brazil also aims to encourage foreign investors to produce fertilizers in Brazil, he said.

Newsline: Dominican Republic says diplomat kidnapped in Haiti released

The foreign minister of the Dominican Republic has said that a diplomat kidnapped in Haiti in late April has been released. On Wednesday, Roberto Alvarez tweeted that Carlitin Guillen Tatis, an adviser to the country’s embassy in April, had been released “safe and sound” following “four days of kidnapping”. “We thank everyone who actively participated in his release,” Alvarez wrote without giving further details. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/4/dominican-republic-says-diplomat-kidnapped-in-haiti-released) The incident occurred as Haiti has seen an uptick in violence and kidnappings as powerful gangs jockey for more control in the country amid a political power vacuum left in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

Newsline: US agenda for UN Security Council focuses on isolating Russia

The United States will focus its latest UN Security Council presidency on isolating Russia diplomatically until it ends its invasion of Ukraine, Washington’s top UN diplomat said on Tuesday. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-war-us-agenda-un-093000793.html) The remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield came as the US assumed the one-month rotating council leadership after Britain’s tenure ended April 30. While Thomas-Greenfield did not mention China by name, several initiatives she outlined involved Beijing, including efforts to transform the United Nations’ digital approach. The US has strongly criticised Russia for spreading conspiracy theories that Ukraine is home to US-funded biological weapons labs, and has disparaged Beijing for fanning these theories.

Newsline: US Begins Issuing First Visas In Cuba In More Than 4 Years

The US embassy in Cuba began issuing visas on Tuesday for the first time since alleged sonic attacks against diplomatic staff more than four years ago. Washington closed its consular services in the Cuban capital in 2017 after US personnel and their families suffered from mystery illnesses subsequently known as “Havana Syndrome.” The closure was a huge blow to many Cubans hoping to emigrate to the United States and escape the economic woes of their island nation. “Welcome to the embassy after so much time,” said a Cuban employee to a small group of people waiting for their appointments in the consular section. (https://www.ibtimes.com/us-begins-issuing-first-visas-cuba-more-4-years-3492916) The United States announced two months ago it would begin a “limited” and “gradual” reopening of its embassy and consular services. It was closed in September 2017 after then-US president Donald Trump hit out at the alleged sonic attacks.