Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 14, 2022

Newsline: Top diplomats from Finland, Sweden and Turkey hold talks in Berlin

Foreign ministers from Finland, Sweden and Turkey hold clear the air talks in Berlin on Saturday to resolve disagreements over Finnish and Swedish plans to join NATO, as the alliance meets against the backdrop of the Ukraine war. The Nordic states are gearing up to apply for membership of the 30-strong transatlantic alliance in response to what they see as a fundamentally altered security situation due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That has drawn threats of retaliation from Moscow and objections from NATO member Turkey. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters as he arrived in Berlin that it was “unacceptable and outrageous” that prospective new NATO members gave support to the PKK Kurdish militant group, potentially complicating the alliance’s enlargement. “A big majority of the Turkish people are against the membership of those countries … and are asking us to block this membership,” he said. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/finland-turkey-to-hold-talks-as-nato-ministers-gather-2648802) Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavesto said he was confident in the end a solution would be found. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish news agency TT she would seek to sort out any misunderstandings.

Newsline: G7 top diplomats ‘will never recognise’ borders redrawn by Russia

The top diplomats of the Group of Seven industrialised nations say they will never recognise the borders Russia is trying to shift by force in its war against Ukraine and pledged enduring support for Kyiv. (https://news.yahoo.com/g7-never-recognise-borders-redrawn-162647760.html) ‘We support every measure and every step they are taking to ensure that people in Ukraine… can live as everybody else in Europe again — in peace but also in security and freedom in their own country,” said German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, whose country currently holds the presidency of the G7.

Newsline: G7 top diplomats tell China not to aid Russia

The G-7 nations called on China not to help Russia, including by undermining international sanctions or justifying Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Beijing should support the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, and not “assist Russia in its war of aggression,” they said Saturday. The G-7 urged China “to desist from engaging in information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.” (https://www.enterprise-journal.com/g7-warn-ukraine-grain-crisis-ask-china-not-aid-russia) The Group of Seven leading economies also warned that the war in Ukraine is stoking a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries, and urgent measures are needed to unblock stores of grain that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who hosted a meeting of top G-7 diplomats, said the war had become a “global crisis.” Baerbock said up to 50 million people, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, would face hunger in the coming months unless ways are found to release Ukrainian grain, which accounts for a sizeable share of the worldwide supply. In statements released at the end of the three-day meeting on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, the G-7 pledged to provide further humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable. The grouping, which comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, also reiterated its stance that the territories seized by Russian forces need to be returned to Ukraine.

Newsline: Drunk German Diplomat Accused of Groping Woman in Pakistan

Holger Ziegeler, Germany’s top diplomat in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city. Scrapfest, an intimate event the German consulate funded under Ziegeler, was one of the first public queer festivals to ever be held in Pakistan. Homosexuality is a crime in the country, and openly queer people are prone to violent backlash from people who want it to stay that way. The event was meant to serve as a safe space for the city’s marginalised LGBTQ community, but several attendees have accused the diplomat of harassing multiple women and groping a woman at the venue. They believe he exploited his access and status as a funder to sexualize and violate indigenous queer people at an event meant to celebrate them. The allegations are currently being investigated by the German Federal Foreign Office and have caused outrage among Pakistan’s LGBTQ community. (https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7v8aq/drunk-german-diplomat-accused-of-groping-queer-event-pakistan) Many are afraid to go public with their accusations out of fear of retaliation and being outed.

Newsline: U.S. ambassador to ASEAN nominated

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday the first summit in Washington with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked the launch of a “new era” in the relationship between the United States and the 10-nation bloc. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/biden-hails-era-u-asean-202318520.html) Biden announced he would nominate Yohannes Abraham to be U.S. ambassador to ASEAN and said the United States would continue to elevate its “critical” partnership with the region.