Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 25, 2022

Newsline: Mexican Consulate offers assistance to nationals after Texas school shooting

The Mexican government is offering to assist families after the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which is about 50 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican officials said Ismael Naveja, the consul at Eagle Pass, went to the city of Uvalde “to support any Mexican person who requires consular assistance after the terrible tragedy at Robb Elementary School.” (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/may/25/mexican-consulate-offers-assistance-nationals-afte/) Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations tweeted a photo of Ms. Naveja at the Civic Center in Uvalde awaiting news about the shooting. “The Government of Mexico strongly condemns this act of violence that has cost the lives of several minors, thus harming multiple families, in a predominantly Hispanic population,” the government said. Consulates in Eagle Pass and San Antonio were also in touch with hospitals to determine if Mexican nationals were among the injured.

Newsline: Swedish diplomats travel to Turkey for NATO membership talks

Swedish diplomats will discuss Turkey’s demands during meetings in Ankara on Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said. “We will naturally go through and discuss the list and sort out a number of things that have been unclear in reporting in the media and statements from other places,” Andersson said. “Clearly, it’s about where we send our financial aid, for example, and that we sell weapons. We don’t send money to terrorist organizations, obviously – or weapons either.” (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-hopes-agree-russia-oil-sanctions-before-council-meeting-2022-05-25/) The talks are aimed at resolving Turkish reservations over Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership.

Newsline: Former Malaysian arrested after marijuana farm discovered on his property

A former Malaysian diplomat has been arrested by the police after being suspected of owning a cannabis farm with more than 100 trees at his home in Janda Baik, Pahang. According to Pahang police chief Datuk Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, the police confiscated 102 cannabis trees at his home in a raid, with an estimated value of RM61,200, along with dried cannabis leaves weighing 1.02 kilograms – worth an estimated RM2,500 – and a bottle liquid made of cannabis extract worth RM250. (https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/national/ex-diplomat-arrested-after-marijuana-farm-discovered-on-janda-baik-property/ar-AAXDZk8?li=BBr8Hnu) He said that the suspect admitted to planting the trees in 2015 on a two-hectare piece of land, and learned how to plant the illegal plant via YouTube. He added that the suspect had sourced the seeds of the plant from various sources in Kuala Lumpur, and had eight dogs guarding the property. The case is considered the largest seizure of cannabis trees in the country’s narcotics history, with previous seizures involving only cannabis trees grown in pots, according to Ramli.

Newsline: EU diplomats mull rerouting unused Africa development aid to ease food crisis

The European Union is considering using funds initially destined for development projects in Africa to support countries most exposed to the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, EU officials and diplomats said. The provisional plan, which would allow the disbursement of nearly 600 million euros ($640 million) to boost support to countries most affected by the food emergency, was flagged by the EU Commission in two meetings last week, diplomats told Reuters. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/eu-mulls-rerouting-unused-africa-085513036.html) The Commission said this was a possibility being discussed, but no formal proposal had yet been prepared and backing from all 27 EU governments was required. The EU largely channels development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries through the European Development Fund (EDF), a facility financed directly by EU governments. Some of these funds usually go to support agriculture in poorer nations. However, committed resources are not always used in full, an EU official said. The Commission told EU envoys last Wednesday that 577 million euros were potentially available under EDF decommitted funds for past years, diplomats said, and that money could be used to address the deteriorating situation in global food supplies. Some of these unused funds had been re-allocated to bolster security in Africa, but have not been spent.

Newsline: Ousted Pakistani PM calls for US diplomat to be sacked over alleged plot

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for the resignation of a U.S. diplomat over unsubstantiated claims that the United States was part of a plot to unseat him from power. In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Khan alleged that Donald Lu, the assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia, met with Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., in March and told him to “get rid of him [Khan] in a vote of no confidence” or “Pakistan would suffer consequences.” “This guy should be sacked for bad manners and sheer arrogance,” he added. “Imagine telling the ambassador of a country of 220 million people that you get rid of your prime minister.” (https://news.yahoo.com/ousted-pakistani-pm-calls-us-192857569.html) However, a State Department spokesperson reiterated the department’s previous statements to The Hill and said that “there is absolutely no truth to these allegations.” Khan, who was removed from power in a no-confidence vote in parliament. He has since been holding rallies across Pakistan, making speeches blaming the U.S. for his removal. According to Khan, Lu’s conversation took place before the no-confidence motion was tabled in parliament, adding that there were “note-takers from both sides.” The Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. Khan had previously alleged that Lu was involved in the “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government. State Department principal deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said at a press briefing in April that “there is absolutely no truth to the allegations.”