Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 24, 2022

Newsline: EU Top Diplomat Bids To ‘Reverse Tensions’ On Surprise Iran Visit

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was headed to Tehran on Friday for a surprise visit that could breathe new life into stalled talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Borrell was due to arrive in the Iranian capital at night to meet Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. “Diplomacy is the only way to go back to full implementation of the deal and to reverse current tensions,” Borrell tweeted as the EU confirmed his two-day trip in a statement. (https://www.ibtimes.com/eu-top-diplomat-bids-reverse-tensions-surprise-iran-visit-3550916) News of his previously unannounced visit comes after Amir-Abdollahian said last week that Iran still believed the negotiations could succeed. The landmark deal has been hanging by a thread since 2018, when then US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord and began imposing crippling economic sanctions on America’s arch enemy.

Newsline: US envoy to Israel lives in a luxe rental

There’s no plaque on the gate of the U.S. ambassador’s new residence in Jerusalem, no Stars and Stripes visible, no official listing as a notable overseas property. The official residence of the American envoy is a rental and temporary, officials said, secured after two years of house-hunting in the wake of then-President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Ambassador Tom Nides moved into the sleekly renovated villa in west Jerusalem’s leafy German Colony sometime last spring. Local real estate agents estimate its value at around $23 million, and its owner and the embassy confirmed it is being leased as the U.S. envoy’s official residence. (https://www.boston25news.com/news/us-envoy-israel/RCY62IPIMIHIUAA63HNBGQKI6A/) Emek Refaim Street is the latest stop for the American ambassador’s home on a more than three-year migration from the seaside cliffs north of Tel Aviv to tension-filled Jerusalem. The journey reflects the Trump administration’s divisive legacy and the reluctance of President Joe Biden — who will visit the region next month — to roil relations with Israel over the issue. When Nides arrived last December, the plight of the “homeless ambassador” was the talk of diplomatic circles. There simply weren’t many options in crowded Jerusalem for a compound large and secure enough to serve as a U.S. ambassador’s official residence. In most countries, the official residence is not only the ambassador’s home, but a place for official ceremonies and social gatherings. A cramped apartment simply won’t do. Nides initially moved into the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem, a tony enough address but not living quarters suited for entertaining. Sometime this past spring, he moved to the property in the German Colony, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The U.S. is leasing it and has notified Israel that the property will be the official residence for the American envoy, according to the embassy. Other terms of the arrangement have not been made public, but there are no plans to move the ambassador to another site. Officials from both countries, as well as the owner, declined to comment on the property’s value or its monthly rent.

Newsline: Suriname Backtracks on Jerusalem Embassy Citing Budget

Suriname’s president said on Thursday the South American country did not have the funds to build an embassy in Israel, reversing an announcement made last month. “There is no budget for setting up an embassy of Suriname in Israel,” President Chandrikapersad ‘Chan’ Santokhi told the National Assembly. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-06-23/suriname-backtracks-on-jerusalem-embassy-citing-budget) Last month, Suriname’s foreign minister confirmed to Reuters the country would open an embassy in Jerusalem, a move that likely would have stirred controversy given the city’s role in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The confirmation drew criticism from some members of the Surinamese parliament. Currently, only the United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo have embassies in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv.