Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 19, 2022

Newsline: Bahrain ambassador takes post in Syria

A new ambassador from Bahrain formally took up his post in Syria on Sunday, the country’s first full diplomatic mission there in more than a decade as Damascus continues to improve its relations with Gulf Arab states. President Bashar Assad received the credentials of Ambassador Waheed Mubarak Sayyar in an official ceremony also attended by Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. Sayyar was appointed in December and recently moved to Damascus. (https://news.yahoo.com/syrian-leader-receives-credentials-bahrain-143015745.html) Assad has been gradually reintegrating into mainstream regional acceptance. His visit to the United Arab Emirates in March was the first such trip to an Arab country since Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011. Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League and boycotted by its neighbors after the conflict broke out.

Newsline: Russia-West tensions inflame UN debate on Mali peacekeepers

Tensions between Russia and the West are aggravating talks about the future of one of the United Nations’ biggest and most perilous peacekeeping operations, the force sent to help Mali resist a decade-long Islamic extremist insurgency. (https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-politics-africa-france-72415a8d1afedb76336e4cd521c27dbd) The U.N.’s mission in the West African nation is up for renewal this month, at a volatile time when extremist attacks are intensifying. Three U.N. peacekeepers have been killed this month alone. Mali’s economy is choking on sanctions imposed by neighboring countries after its military rulers postponed a promised election. France and the European Union are ending their own military operations in Mali amid souring relations with the governing junta. U.N. Security Council members widely agree the peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, needs to continue. But a council debate this week was laced with friction over France’s future role in Mali and the presence of Russian military contractors.

Newsline: UN names German diplomat as deputy envoy for Afghanistan

The United Nations announced a new deputy special representative for Afghanistan, but it’s unclear how soon the world body may replace its top official there. For now, the newly appointed political affairs deputy, German diplomat Markus Potzel, will be in charge of the U.N.’s political mission in Afghanistan, U.N. deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said. (https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/UN-names-deputy-rep-for-Afghanistan-no-word-on-a-17249785.php) The announcement came a day after Deborah Lyons ended her tenure as the U.N.’s chief representative in Afghanistan, departing with a lament for a country that was reshaped by Taliban militants’ takeover last year. “I could not have imagined, when I accepted this job, the Afghanistan that I am now leaving,” she said in a statement Thursday, adding that “my heart breaks” for Afghan girls and women kept from school and work because of Taliban edicts.