Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 27, 2022

Newsline: Russia says it is expelling eight Greek diplomats

Russia declared eight Greek diplomats “personae non gratae” and gave them eight days to leave the country, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday. The foreign ministry said it had summoned the Greek ambassador to protest over what it called “the confrontational course of the Greek authorities towards Russia, including the supply of weapons and military equipment to the Kyiv regime”. The ministry said it had also protested against a Greek decision to declare a group of Russian diplomats “personae non gratae”. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/russia-says-expelling-eight-greek-144501622.html) Greece is a member of NATO and the European Union and has joined EU sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Newsline: UN hails ‘fire diplomacy’ on divided Cyprus

Trust among the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities on their divided island is at a low point but their cooperation in combatting last week’s wildfire was “very positive”, a senior UN diplomat said Monday. UN chief of mission Colin Stewart met Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek-Cypriot leader, days after his community helped the Turkish Cypriots battle a huge blaze in Kantara in the northern mountain range. “I thanked him for the support of the Greek Cypriots for the terrible fire that had been raging in the north over a few days last week,” Stewart said. “It illustrates a fundamental point about this island, and that is the solidarity amongst Cypriots,” he told reporters. “When the time came, there was unhesitating and unquestioned assistance from Greek Cypriots for Turkish Cypriots who were in this difficult situation, and I think this is a very positive thing,” he added. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/un-hails-fire-diplomacy-on-divided-cyprus/ar-AAYUaJv) Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when mainland Turkish forces occupied the island’s northern third in response to a military coup sponsored by the junta then in power in Greece. The UN official is consulting Cypriot leaders on the UN peacekeeping mandate, up for its six-monthly renewal before the Security Council. There have been no UN-sponsored peace talks to resolve the island’s division since a Cyprus conference collapsed in Switzerland in July 2017.

Newsline: China to issue visas to Afghan businessmen

The Chinese Embassy in Kabul is preparing to issue visas to Afghan businessmen, Beijing’s envoy to Afghanistan has confirmed. The confirmation came during talks between Wang Yu, the Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi here, reports Khaama Press. In a tweet on Sunday, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said the two sides discussed earthquake relief, political issues, bilateral trade, humanitarian aid and the repatriation of Afghan students to China. At the meeting, Muttaqi called on the Chinese Ambassador to expedite the process of issuing Chinese visas to Afghan businessmen to which the envoy said that they were getting ready to start the procedure. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/china-to-issue-visas-to-afghan-businessmen/ar-AAYTRld) Ambassador Wang also offered his sympathies to the families who were affected by last week’s devastating earthquake in Paktika province, saying China’s first consignment of humanitarian relief will arrive in Afghanistan on Monday.

Newsline: Iran welcomes reopening of embassies in Tehran, Riyadh

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said his country welcomes the reopening of the Iranian and Saudi Arabian Embassies in Riyadh and Tehran. Iran only seeks to promote the region’s interests, Amir-Abdollahian said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. He praised the Iraqi government for its efforts to encourage dialogue among regional countries and play a constructive role in the normalization talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as other Middle Eastern nations, reports Xinhua news agency. (https://in.investing.com/news/iran-welcomes-reopening-of-embassies-in-tehran-riyadh-3254115) Iran maintains that the solution to regional problems lies within the region, Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that Iran backs the continuation of the ceasefire in Yemen, highlighting the necessity of lifting the siege on the Arab state. The Foreign Minister noted that given the commonalities between Iran and Egypt, improving relations between Tehran and Cairo will be in the interest of the region and the Muslim world.