Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 30, 2022

Newsline: Suriname says will open embassy in Jerusalem

Suriname plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem though a date is not yet set, the South American country and Israel both said on Monday. (https://wsau.com/2022/05/30/suriname-says-will-open-embassy-in-jerusalem/) Just four countries – the United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo – currently have embassies in Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv. Surinamese Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin paid a visit to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Israel’s government said in a statement. “During the meeting between the two foreign ministers, the Surinamese Foreign Minister announced that his country plans to soon open an embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” the statement said. Ramdin told Reuters he was not sure when the facility would open. “We don’t know yet. We have expressed the intention. The consultation on how and what is going to start now,” he said. Suriname appointed a non-resident ambassador to Israel, Stevanus Noordzee, in March.

Newsline: China falls short on big diplomatic deal in South Pacific

China fell short Monday on a bold plan to have 10 Pacific nations endorse a sweeping new agreement covering everything from security to fisheries as some in the region expressed deep concerns. Wang was in Fiji to co-host a key meeting with the foreign ministers from the 10 island nations. At an unusual news conference afterward, Wang and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama spoke for about 30 minutes and then abruptly left the stage as reporters tried to shout out questions. (https://www.kpbs.org/news/international/2022/05/30/china-falls-short-on-big-deal-in-south-pacific-but-finds-smaller-wins) That left many details of what transpired at the meeting unanswered. But it was clear the nations hadn’t endorsed China’s plan. “As always, we put consensus first among our countries throughout any discussion on new regional agreements,” Bainimarama said. But there have been plenty of smaller wins for China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he continues an island-hopping tour of the region. While there have been growing international concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions in the region, many Fijians see a benefit in foreign investment wherever it comes from, so long as it uplifts the people.

Newsline: EU diplomats make eleventh-hour push for deal on Russia oil sanctions

Top European Union diplomats met on Monday for a last-ditch attempt to agree on Russian oil import sanctions before their leaders meet later in the day. (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-pledge-support-ukraine-not-ready-with-new-russia-sanctions-2022-05-30/) The meeting is aimed to avoid a display of disunity over the bloc’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Newsline: US slams China’s effort to ‘manipulate’ UN envoy’s Xinjiang visit

The United States has expressed concern over China’s “efforts to restrict and manipulate” the UN human rights chief’s visit to the Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of detaining more than a million people in indoctrination camps. In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was concerned that the conditions Chinese authorities imposed on Michelle Bachelet’s visit did not enable her to conduct “a complete and independent assessment of the human rights environment in [China], including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are ongoing”. Bachelet had defended her visit earlier on Saturday while still inside China, saying it was “not an investigation” but called on Beijing to avoid “arbitrary and indiscriminate measures” in its crackdown in Xinjiang. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/29/us-slams-chinas-effort-to-manipulate-un-envoys-xinjiang-visit) Her visit was the first to China by a UN high commissioner for human rights in 17 years and comes after painstaking negotiations over the conditions of the visit. She began her trip in the southern city of Guangzhou before heading to Xinjiang. But her access was limited as authorities had arranged for her to travel in a “closed loop” – isolating people within a virtual bubble to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – with no foreign press.