Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 13, 2022

Newsline: EU diplomats hopeful for Russian oil embargo deal in May

The European Union still aims to agree a phased embargo on Russia oil this month despite concerns about supply in eastern Europe, four diplomats and officials said on Friday, rejecting suggestions of a delay or watering down proposals. However, the diplomats and officials said they were optimistic about a deal, even as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has struggled to convince Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the most vocal critic of the proposed embargo. “There will be a deal,” a senior EU diplomat said, noting that there was flexibility in the proposed transition and investment levels for countries relying on Russian oil who will need to find other sources of supply. (https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/eu-hopeful-russian-oil-embargo-deal-may-diplomats-say-2022-05-13/) Dependence on Russian oil in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia poses the biggest obstacle to an embargo deal that the European Commission, the EU executive, proposed in early May in response to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Newsline: Russia expels Romanian, Bulgarian diplomats in tit-for-tat move

Russia has expelled 10 Romanian diplomats, as well as a Bulgarian, in retaliation for a similar move by the two countries following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Romanian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday that “the Russian Federation declared 10 employees of the Romanian embassy in Moscow persona non grata”. The news was confirmed by Moscow and follows the April 5 expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats “whose activities breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, according to the Romanian foreign ministry. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/13/russia-expels-romanian-bulgarian-diplomats-in-tit-for-tat-move) Romania summoned the Russian ambassador to Bucharest Valery Kuzmin on Thursday to protest an article published on the Russian embassy website, that said “a stream of outright lies, falsifications, staged provocations, and disinformation” about what was happening in Ukraine was “created and financed by the collective West”. “The repeated use by the Russian mission of inappropriate, offensive and provocative language directed at Romania and NATO is unacceptable,” the ministry said. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats. Moscow has promised to respond to each of these measures and has already expelled dozens of Western diplomats.

Newsline: Indian Embassy to resume Kyiv operations starting May 17

The Indian Embassy in Ukraine, which was temporarily operating out of Warsaw (Poland), would be resuming its operation in Kyiv beginning 17 May 2022, the Ministry of External Affairs said Friday, ANI reported. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/indian-embassy-to-resume-kyiv-operations-starting-may-17/ar-AAXelVL) The Embassy was temporarily relocated to Warsaw on 13 March 2022. Amid the Russia Ukraine War, India in March this year temporarily relocated its embassy from Ukraine to Poland in view of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the war-torn country.

Newsline: Top EU diplomat hopeful for deal at Iran nuclear talks after incident

The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Friday he is hopeful that stalled talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear program can yield reach an agreement. The talks between Tehran and world powers deadlocked in part over Iran’s demand for the United States to lift a terrorist designation on the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of Seven major economies in Germany, Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, said an EU envoy visited Tehran this week for talks that had “gone better than expected.” “The negotiations have been stalled for two months due to this disagreement about what to do with the Revolutionary Guard,” Borrell said. “These kind of things cannot be solved overnight, but let’s say the negotiations were blocked and they have been deblocked,” he added. “Which means there is a perspective of reaching agreement.” (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/EU-envoy-to-Iran-nuclear-talks-detained-at-German-17170005.php) The EU envoy, Enrique Mora, said Friday that he was briefly detained with colleagues at Frankfurt Airport while transiting from Tehran to Brussels, in breach of diplomatic rules. Mora said he had received “not a single explanation” from German authorities for why he was detained. “An EU official on an official mission holding a Spanish diplomatic passport. Took out my passport and my phones,” he wrote on Twitter. He said the EU ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna and the head of the EU’s Iran task force were also detained. “We were kept separated,” Mora wrote. “Refusal to give any explanation for what seems a violation of the Vienna Convention.” Borrell declined to speculate on the incident, saying only that “the issue is over.” Neither German police nor Germany’s Foreign Ministry responded immediately to requests for comment.