Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 7, 2022

Newsline: Ukraine Summons Turkish Ambassador Over Released Russian Vessel

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Thursday a Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain had been allowed to leave the Turkish port of Karasu, calling it an “unacceptable situation and summoning Turkey’s ambassador. “We regret that Russia’s ship Zhibek Zholy, which was full of stolen Ukrainian grain, was allowed to leave Karasu port despite criminal evidence presented to the Turkish authorities,” foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Twitter. “Türkiye’s Ambassador in Kyiv will be invited to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify this unacceptable situation.” (https://whtc.com/2022/07/07/ukraine-summons-turkish-ambassador-after-russian-ship-leaves-port/) Ukraine said the Russian vessel was shipping grain seized from the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk.

Newsline: UK says reports of diplomat ‘arrest’ in Iran false

The United Kingdom has said “reports of the arrest” of a British diplomat in Iran were “completely false”, adding that the official had left the country in December. A spokesman for the UK foreign ministry said the “reports of the arrest of a British diplomat in Iran are completely false”. Meanwhile, the UK ambassador to Iran tweeted: “These reports that our Deputy Ambassador is currently detained are very interesting … He actually left Iran last December, at the end of his posting.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/7/uk-says-diplomat-reportedly-arrested-in-iran-is-not-in-country) The denials followed a report on Wednesday by the state-run Fars news agency that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had “identified and arrested diplomats from foreign embassies who were spying in Iran”.

Newsline: New Zealand’s PM Urges Diplomacy With China Over Pacific Tensions

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said China’s increasingly assertive stance in the Pacific must be addressed through dialogue and diplomacy. “In the wake of the tensions we see rising, including in our Indo-Pacific region, diplomacy must become the strongest tool and de-escalation the loudest call,” Ardern said in a speech to the Lowy Institute Thursday in Sydney. “We won’t succeed, however, if those parties we seek to engage with are increasingly isolated and the region we inhabit becomes increasingly divided and polarized.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nz-ardern-urges-diplomacy-china-023039418.html) China, which is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, hit back, saying Ardern’s comments were “wrong” and “regrettable.” Australia and New Zealand were shocked by the signing of a security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China in April, a major diplomatic victory for Beijing and its first such deal in the Pacific. Ardern told a NATO summit last week that China was becoming more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms.

Newsline: Iran media says foreign diplomats arrested

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested several foreign diplomats including a Briton, accusing them of “spying”, the Fars news agency and state television said. But the British government quickly denied that any of its personnel had been arrested, describing the reports as “completely false”. “The Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service identified and arrested diplomats from foreign embassies who were spying in Iran,” Fars said, adding that a British diplomat was subsequently expelled from the country. State television however reported that the Briton, identified as Giles Whitaker, the UK government’s deputy head of mission in Iran, was only expelled from “the area” where the diplomats had been arrested in central Iran. State television accused him of “carrying out intelligence operations” in military areas. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/iran-media-says-foreign-diplomats-arrested/ar-AAZi8Wf) Video showed images of a man presented as Whitaker speaking in a room. A state TV journalist said the diplomat “was among those who went to the Shahdad desert with his family as tourists”, referring to an area in central Iran. The developments coincide with heightening tensions between Tehran and world powers over long-stalled attempts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and a recent uptick in confirmed detentions of Western nationals in the country.