Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 31, 2022

Newsline: Czech ministry summons Russian ambassador over diplomatic properties

The Czech Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador on Tuesday to express concerns about the use of Russian diplomatic properties. The Czech Republic expelled around 100 Russian embassy staff last year in a diplomatic row over Prague’s accusations of Russian involvement in a 2014 explosion at an arms depot, and the government has been one of the toughest advocates of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. “Diplomatic missions on the territory of a foreign state must respect not only the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, but also the rules and laws of the host country,” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement. “Russia does not do this and does not respect the rule of law,” the ministry’s statement added, without providing further details. (https://news.yahoo.com/czech-ministry-summons-russian-ambassador-105709109.html) Russia’s Embassy in Prague said it disagreed with the statements, saying usage of Russian real estate in the Czech Republic and Czech real estate in Russia had been a matter of expert discussions for a number of years, and the Czech side had ignored proposals to hold a next round of talks. “It would be appropriate to refrain from politicisation of and drawing media attention to this sphere of our mutual relations and return to a well-proven negotiation process,” it said on its Facebook page. CTK news agency reported that a newly created working group to deal with properties owned by Russia had found dozens of properties that raised doubts whether they were still used for diplomatic activities. It gave no further details.

Newsline: Israel’s top diplomat sees no quick breakthrough with Saudi Arabia

Reaching a deal to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia will be “a long and cautious process”, but Israel believes it can happen, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. Lapid, speaking on Israel’s Army Radio, said that should an agreement emerge, it would not come in a surprise announcement like it did with previous deals, which include agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. “We will not wake up one morning to a surprise, rather it will be a long and cautious process on both sides. There are security interests for both countries,” Lapid said. He added it would be a “slow process of small details” but that he believed a deal could be reached. (https://news.yahoo.com/israels-top-diplomat-sees-no-171406473.html) Israel has said it hopes to build on its 2020 U.S.-brokered accords with four Muslim nations and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest two sites, has conditioned any eventual normalization with Israel on the addressing of the Palestinians’ quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Newsline: Moscow Trolls U.S. With New Name for Russian Square Near Embassy

Moscow’s city government is asking residents to pick a name glorifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for a square located outside the U.S. embassy. Officials in Russia’s capital are asking residents to vote on a list of three names for the square that all exalt Russian-backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine. The naming of the currently nameless square, which shares a block with the U.S. embassy, is a thinly veiled affront to Washington and a further sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries over the war in Ukraine. (https://www.newsweek.com/moscow-trolls-us-pro-invasion-name-russian-square-near-embassy-1711492) The list of names submitted by Moscow’s city government for the square includes “Defenders of Donbas Square,” “Donetsk People’s Republic Square” and “Hero of Russia Vladimir Artyomovich Zhoga Square,” reported The Moscow Times. The names refer to Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists are currently fighting Ukrainian forces. The region, which has a large population Russian-speaking population, has seen separatists declare independent republics for Donetsk and Luhansk. Vladimir Zhoga was a separatist military leader killed earlier this year during the fighting.

Newsline: China threatens to downgrade ties with Israel after newspaper publishes Taiwan’s top diplomat interview

An interview with Taiwan’s foreign minister published in an Israeli newspaper has reportedly ruffled feathers in China. Jerusalem Post editor Yaakov Katz said he received a call from the Chinese embassy in Israel, insisting that his outlet take down the interview. “Didn’t take long. Got call from Chinese embassy. Apparently I’m supposed to take down the story or they will sever ties with the @Jerusalem_Post and downgrade relations with the State of Israel,” Katz tweeted shortly after the article was published. “Needless to say, story ain’t going anywhere.” In the interview, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned of the threat posed by China’s authoritarian regime. “When dealing with China, you should never accept preconditions because once you accept preconditions, you lose no matter what,” Wu said. “And when you worry about China getting angry and give in, or make pledges that you shouldn’t make concessions, China also wins.” He urged Israel not to worry about getting China upset, noting that “when they get upset at you, that means you are doing something right.” (https://www.foxnews.com/world/china-threatens-downgrade-ties-israel-newspaper-publishes-taiwan-interview) Taiwan remains a thorn in the side of Beijing, which regards the island nation as a renegade state. Fears of a possible invasion have mounted in recent months amid Russia’s brutal military invasion of Ukraine.