Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 19, 2022

Newsline: Top U.S., Turkey Diplomats Meet in New York

The top diplomats from the U.S. and Turkey met in New York hours after the Turkish president doubled down on his objections to Sweden and Finland joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu continues a high-stakes series of negotiations between Turkey, European countries and the U.S. over Ankara’s opposition to the Nordic nations joining the alliance. Turkey is blocking the start of the accession talks for the two countries. All of the alliance’s 29 other members support a quick start to the talks, according to diplomats. “Turkey has been supporting the open door policy of NATO even before this war, but with regards to these possible candidates—already candidate countries—you know, we have also legitimate security concerns that they have been supporting terrorist organizations, and there are also export restrictions on defense products,” Mr. Cavusoglu said at the start of the meeting. Mr. Cavusoglu also said that officials should “overcome the differences through dialogue and diplomacy.” Mr. Blinken said, “This, of course, is a process, and we will work through that process as allies and as partners.” (https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/russia-ukraine-latest-news-2022-05-18/card/top-u-s-turkey-diplomats-meet-in-new-york-VrSFIGax7lsTh8y2GVLe) Turkey’s concerns have disrupted what might otherwise have been a smooth entry for the two countries into the alliance. All 30 existing members of the organization must unanimously approve any new members. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Wednesday that he wants Sweden and Finland to crack down on alleged Kurdish militants operating in the two countries.

Newsline: NATO chief sure diplomatic spat over Sweden, Finland will be resolved soon

Turkey’s leader flatly opposes having Sweden and Finland join NATO but the military alliance’s top official said Thursday he was confident that the standoff would be resolved and that the two Nordic nations would join soon. Turkey’s approval of Finland and Sweden’s application to join the Western military alliance is crucial because NATO makes decisions by consensus. Each of its 30 member countries has the power to veto a membership bid. “We have told our relevant friends we would say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO, and we will continue on our path like this,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish youths in a video for Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, a national holiday. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday he was ”confident that we will come to a quick decision to welcome both Sweden and Finland to join the NATO family.” “We are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed, because when an important ally (like) Turkey raises security concerns, raises issues, then of course the only way to deal with that is to sit down and find common ground,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark. (https://www.chron.com/news/article/Turkey-s-president-says-no-to-Sweden-and-17183705.php) Finland and Sweden officially applied to join the world’s biggest security organization on Wednesday. A first meeting of NATO ambassadors to discuss their applications failed to reach a consensus. For the moment, no new meeting of NATO ambassadors is planned, and one is only likely to be held once higher-level diplomacy with Turkish officials has addressed Erdogan’s concerns.

Newsline: Russia expels five Portuguese diplomats in retaliatory move

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that it was expelling five Portuguese diplomats in response to Lisbon ordering out 10 Russians last month. The move was part of a long series of tit-for-tat moves by Moscow after European countries expelled more than 300 Russian embassy staff following Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. “They are required to leave the country within 14 days of the delivery of the corresponding note to the Ambassador”, the foreign ministry said, announcing the move against Portugal. (https://wsau.com/2022/05/19/russia-expels-five-portuguese-diplomats-in-retaliatory-move/) On Wednesday Russia said it was expelling a total of 85 embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in response to similar moves by those countries.

Newsline: Chinese Diplomat Warns U.S. Of ‘Dangerous Situation’

China has warned the U.S. of a “dangerous situation” if it continues to support Taiwan. Beijing also added that it “will do as we said” to protect the country’s sovereignty and security interests. Beijing’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi made the remark during a phone conversation with U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday. “The recent actions taken by the U.S. on Taiwan-related matters have been a huge contrast from their pronouncements. If the U.S. continues to play the Taiwan card and head further on the wrong path, this will certainly lead to dangerous situations,” Yang said, according to South China Morning Post. Yang said Washington has been “adopting wrongful narratives and actions” that harmed China’s interests. “China has been making stern and powerful responses. The U.S. must do what it says for China-US relations to return to a healthy and stable track of development,” Yang said. His statement was published by the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. “China will be steadfast to take actions that defend its sovereignty and security interests. We will do as we said,” Yang added. (https://www.ibtimes.com/chinese-diplomat-warns-us-dangerous-situation-if-it-continues-play-taiwan-card-3513164) Soon after, The White House published a readout that said the conversation focused on regional security issues and nonproliferation. The duo also discussed “Russia’s war against Ukraine and specific issues in U.S.-China relations.”

Newsline: US Names New Envoy as Kyiv Embassy Reopens

The Senate confirmed Bridget Brink the next ambassador to Ukraine, a move that comes as the embassy in Kyiv reopened after three months. “Today we are officially resuming operations at the US Embassy in Kyiv,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-latest-finland-sweden-hand-105700818.html) “The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland in the face of Russia’s unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again.”