Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for June 16, 2022

Newsline: Brazil’s UK ambassador apologizes to family of missing journalist

The Brazilian ambassador to the UK has apologized to the family of missing journalist Dom Phillips after they were wrongly told that two bodies had been found in the search operation. Phillips’ family told CNN in an email that Fred Arruda, Brazil’s ambassador to London, wrote to them saying: “We are deeply sorry the embassy passed on to the family yesterday information that did not prove correct.” According to the family, Roberto Doring, deputy head of mission at the Brazilian embassy in London, called them on Monday to tell them that bodies had been found. In a statement, the family said: “We were told by telephone that two bodies had been found but that (due to the fact it was still early morning in Brazil) no identification had taken place.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/15/americas/apology-brazilian-ambassador-intl-gbr/index.html) The Brazilian Federal Police have repeatedly denied having found any bodies in the search for Phillips. “The information that is being released regarding the bodies of Mr Bruno Pereira and Mr Dom Phillips being found is not accurate,” the Federal Police said. “As already disclosed, biological materials were found and are being examined, as well as the personal belongings of the missing people. As soon as anything is found, the family and the media will be immediately informed.” The indigenous organizations involved in the search also said the information about the two bodies was inaccurate.

Newsline: Russia expresses ‘serious concern’ to Israeli ambassador over Syria air strikes

Russia expressed “serious concern” to Israel’s ambassador about air strikes that shut down Syria’s Damascus International Airport last week, the foreign ministry said in a statement. “Serious concern was again expressed over the June 10 Israeli air force attack on the civilian airport of Damascus, which damaged the runway, navigation equipment and buildings, and disrupted international civilian air traffic,” the ministry said after Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met Israeli Ambassador Alexander Ben Zvi in Moscow. “The ambassador was told that the justification received from the Israeli side regarding the strike … was unconvincing and that Moscow expected additional clarification.” (https://news.yahoo.com/russia-expresses-serious-concern-israeli-182302720.html) For several years, Israel has been attacking what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have deployed to support Assad. Syria has been a staunch ally of Moscow since Russia launched a military campaign in 2015 that helped to turn the tide in a civil war in favour of President Bashar al-Assad. Syria halted flights to and from the airport until further notice following the Israeli strikes.

Newsline: Canada and Denmark try to lecture Russia and Ukraine on international diplomacy

Canada and Denmark have been fighting the Whisky War, a conflict over ownership of a barren rock outcropping in a channel separating Canada from Greenland. Hans Island is only a half square mile in size, and when a Canadian legal team was called in to make a presentation to lawmakers in Ottawa, they literally could not find it on a map. Both sides concede that the island, close as it is to the North Pole, really has no value. Still, neither side wanted to give it up. But all’s well that ends well, and this week Canada and Denmark signed a historic treaty, agreeing to split the island down the middle. Both sides took the opportunity to lecture Russia and Ukraine on matters of international diplomacy. “As we stand here today, we see gross violation of international rules unfold in another part of the world,” said Jeppe Kofod, Denmark’s foreign minister. (https://news.yahoo.com/canada-denmark-try-lecture-russia-090023644.html) “In contrast, we have demonstrated how long-standing international disputes can be resolved peacefully and playing by the rules.”

Newsline: Saudi embassy in Washington now on ‘Jamal Khashoggi Way’

The street in front of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington was renamed Wednesday for Jamal Khashoggi as activists vowed never to forget the slain journalist despite President Joe Biden’s planned visit to the kingdom. The capital’s local government changed signs on one block in front of the imposing embassy to read “Jamal Khashoggi Way” in honor of the Saudi dissident who was strangled to death and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The street will serve as “a constant reminder, a memorial to Jamal Khashoggi’s memory that cannot be covered up,” said Phil Mendelson, president of the District of Columbia Council that voted unanimously to rename the stretch of New Hampshire Avenue which also lies along the storied Watergate building. (https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-embassy-washington-now-jamal-201736061.html) The previously scheduled dedication came one day after the White House announced that Biden will travel next month to Saudi Arabia and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who according to US intelligence authorized the killing. Biden had previously pledged to give pariah status to Saudi Arabia over rights concerns including the murder of Khashoggi, who had written critically about the powerful prince in The Washington Post.

Newsline: Future Vatican diplomats encouraged to model themselves on saints

Pope Francis encouraged future Vatican diplomats to model themselves on the recently canonized St. Charles de Foucauld. The Pope urged students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy to see the 19th-century French soldier, explorer, priest, and mystic as a model of holiness for diplomatic life. He also proposed the 16th-century Jesuit St. Peter Faber as another model for priests called to represent the Holy See around the world. He made the recommendation during a June 8 visit to the college in Rome that prepares Catholic priests for the Vatican diplomatic service. The Holy See press office said on June 9 that “the Pope stressed the importance of rootedness in a priestly spirituality nourished by prayer.” He also highlighted “the role of the missionary year he wanted as an integral part of the path of preparation” to serve in the diplomatic corps. The Vatican announced in February 2020 that Pope Francis had called for priests in formation for the Holy See’s diplomatic service to spend a year in missionary work. He said it would be an opportunity for the priests to share “with the missionary churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity.” (https://www.ncregister.com/cna/pope-francis-to-future-vatican-diplomats-see-st-charles-de-foucauld-as-model) Charles de Foucauld, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916. Benedict XVI declared him a blessed in 2005 and Pope Francis canonized him on May 15.