Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for July 6, 2022

Newsline: Bulgaria blocks bank transfer to Russian embassy citing EU sanctions

Bulgaria has blocked a bank transfer worth some $890,000 to the Russian embassy because of EU sanctions, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev said on Wednesday, several days after Sofia expelled 70 Russian diplomatic staff from the Balkan country. “There is a bank transfer to the Russian embassy which falls directly under the European Commission sanctions. There are no frozen bank accounts,” Vassilev told reporters. Vassilev said the Russian embassy had sought a derogation because the funds were needed to pay staff salaries. He said the Bulgarian government was currently holding talks with Brussels on whether to waive the sanctions to allow the transfer. (https://news.yahoo.com/bulgaria-blocks-bank-transfer-russian-125535225.html) Bulgaria, an EU and NATO member state and once a close ally of Russia, has been roiled by diplomatic tensions after outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomatic staff on espionage concerns. Moscow has said it would retaliate in kind, while the Russian ambassador to Sofia has said she would ask the Russian government to close the embassy.

Newsline: Qatari foreign minister in Tehran to help nuclear deal efforts

Qatar’s foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has met his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran in an effort to move along talks aimed at restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The top Qatari diplomat arrived in the Iranian capital on Wednesday afternoon and is also scheduled to meet Iran’s security chief Ali Shamkhani. The visit comes after Doha hosted two days of indirect talks between Iran and the United States in late June, with the European Union conducting shuttle diplomacy. The talks concluded without any progress, as significant disagreements over the scope and guarantees on the lifting of US-imposed sanctions remain between Tehran and Washington, and no more negotiations have been scheduled thus far. Amirabdollahian and Al Thani held a press conference after their meeting, during which the Iranian diplomat sought to counter the United States’ narrative that Iran is to blame for the failure of the nuclear talks. “Despite some media claims by the American side, we have no claims that go beyond the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/6/qatari-foreign-minister-in-tehran-to-help-nuclear-deal-efforts) The Iranian foreign minister added that Iran was ready for a strong and sustainable agreement.

Newsline: New Philippine President meets China’s top diplomat

New Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. meets China’s top diplomat Wednesday to discuss long-simmering disputes in the South China Sea, as he wades into foreign policy dilemmas that include the U.S.-China rivalry in the region. (https://news.yahoo.com/marcos-plays-balancing-act-meeting-065711182.html) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, wearing a native Filipino formal shirt, met his counterpart for talks at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila. He is scheduled to meet Marcos Jr. later at the presidential palace and extend Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation for him to visit Beijing, a Philippine official said. Wang arrived in Manila Tuesday night as part of a Southeast Asian swing that brought him earlier to Myanmar and Thailand. He will also visit Malaysia and Indonesia, where he will attend a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in Bali. Wang’s visit ushers Marcos Jr. early to touchy foreign diplomacy issues that often had prompted his predecessors to carry out delicate balancing acts. Marcos Jr. was sworn into office last week after a landslide electoral victory in May. He said in a televised news conference Tuesday that he would discuss with Wang possible ways to resolve Manila’s disputes with Beijing in the contested South China Sea but would also propose to broaden ties further.

Newsline: U.S., Chinese top diplomats to meet at G20 this week

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bali this week, the State Department said. (https://www.reuters.com/world/us-secretary-state-blinken-chinese-counterpart-meet-this-week-2022-07-05/) Blinken departs for Asia on Wednesday for a trip lasting until Monday. The meeting with Wang, expected on Saturday, will be the latest high-level contact between U.S. and Chinese officials as President Joe Biden weighs lifting tariffs on some Chinese goods to curb inflation.