Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 9, 2022

Newsline: Russia sticks US, UK embassies with ‘unrecognized’ addresses

Moscow has taken a page out of Washington’s playbook to troll both the U.S. and the U.K. by renaming the streets in front of their embassies in the Russian capital. The streets are now officially named for the two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine where fighting is now the fiercest. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized their independence in February just before sending in troops to “liberate” them from Ukraine. The U.S. and Britain have not recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” but Moscow officials said they will at least have to recognize the new addresses if they want to receive their mail. (https://wtop.com/russia-ukraine-war-news/2022/07/russia-sticks-us-uk-embassies-with-unrecognized-addresses/) A sign went up Friday renaming the street in front of the British Embassy the Luhansk People’s Republic Square. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow since last month has been located on Donetsk People’s Republic Square. The U.S., however, has played this game far longer. In the 1980s, the section of 16th St. outside the Soviet Embassy in Washington was symbolically renamed Andrei Sakharov Plaza, in honor of the Soviet nuclear physicist and leading human rights activist and dissident. Since 2018, the section of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the new Russian Embassy has been symbolically called Boris Nemtsov Plaza. Nemtsov, an opposition leader who led anti-Putin protests and worked to expose official corruption, was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015. The Russian Embassy in London, for now at least, has kept its more genteel address at Kensington Palace Gardens.

Newsline: No unity for G-20 diplomats

Deeply divided top diplomats from the world’s richest and largest developing nations failed to find common ground Friday over Russia’s war in Ukraine and how to deal with its global impacts, leaving prospects for future cooperation in the forum uncertain. At talks that were were knocked off balance by two unrelated and unexpected political developments, including the shocking assassination of a former Japanese prime minister, far from the Indonesian resort of Bali where they were meeting. The group of 20 foreign ministers heard an emotional plea for unity and an end to the war from their Indonesian host. Yet, consensus remained elusive amid deepening East-West splits driven by China and Russia on one side and the United States and Europe on the other. There was no group photo taken nor a final statement issued as has been done in previous years, and acrimony appeared pervasive, especially between Russia and Western participants. (https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jul/09/no-ukraine-unity-for-g-20-diplomats/) Although they were present in the same room at the same time for the first time since the Ukraine war began, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointedly ignored each other. Lavrov walked out of the proceedings at least twice: once when his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock spoke at the opening session and again just before Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was to speak by video at the second session, according to a Western diplomat present. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had urged the group — which included Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Blinken and several European counterparts — to overcome mistrust for the sake of a planet confronting multiple challenges from the coronavirus to climate change as well as Ukraine. But after the meeting was over, Marsudi could not point to any agreements reached by all participants, although she said there had been broad concern about food and energy disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. She added that only “some countries expressed condemnation of the act of invasion.”

Newsline: U.S. top diplomat says no substitute for face-to-face diplomacy with China meeting

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday there was no substitute for face-to-face diplomacy at the start of a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the resort island of Bali. (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/blinken-says-no-substitute-for-face-to-face-diplomacy-wih-china-meeting-1059004) Wang Yi told reporters that the two countries needed to maintain normal relations and get their relationship back on track. The meeting, which follows a G20 summit in Bali, will be the first in-person talks between the diplomats since October.