Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for July 15, 2022

Newsline: Palestinian president calls on U.S. to reopen consulate in East Jerusalem

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said he was looking forward to U.S. steps to reopen its consulate in East Jerusalem and remove the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the list of terrorism. Abbas also demanded the reopening of the PLO office in Washington when attending a joint news conference at the end of the meeting with visiting U.S. President Joe Biden in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Abbas noted that “the opportunity for a two-state solution on the 1967 borders may be available today, and we do not know what will happen in the future, and it may not remain for a long time.” The Palestinian leader also called for resolving the Palestinian refugee issue, adding that “this begins with ending the Israeli occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories and establishing the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders.” (http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2022-07/15/content_78325956.htm) During the press conference, Biden announced an additional 200 million U.S. dollars in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to continue its critical role in the region.

Newsline: India sees red after US consulate tells Mumbai port to ban Russian ships

A massive controversy has erupted over US bid to stop India from continuing trade with Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. (https://www.hindustantimes.com/videos/world-news/india-sees-red-after-us-consulate-tells-mumbai-port-to-ban-russian-ships-101657868498549.html) The MEA has now responded to US consulate’s move, where it asked Mumbai Port Authority to ban Russian ships over American sanctions last month. The MEA said that it has asked US consulate to communicate via them and not directly. Reports also suggest that India has made it clear that it is its sovereign decision to engage with countries in national interest and that it won’t deny ships from any countries.

Newsline: Russian ambassador summoned over death of British aid worker in Ukraine

The Foreign Office has summoned Russian ambassador Andrey Kelin to express “deep concerns” over the reported the death of a British national in captivity in eastern Ukraine. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss summoned the ambassador for a dressing down by a senior official amid concerns Paul Urey died while being detained by Russian-backed separatists. Ms Truss said: “I am shocked to hear reports of the death of British aid worker Paul Urey while in the custody of a Russian proxy in Ukraine. “Russia must bear the full responsibility for this. Those responsible will be held to accountable,” she said. (https://uk.news.yahoo.com/russian-ambassador-summonsed-over-reported-143754726.html) An official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) earlier said Mr Urey had died. The British charity Presidium Network described him as a humanitarian worker and denied he had any military background. Mr Urey, 45, was detained and charged with “mercenary activities” by separatists in the DPR, a breakaway entity that is recognised only by Russia, Syria and North Korea.

Newsline: UAE working to send ambassador to Iran

The UAE is working to send an ambassador to Tehran as it seeks to rebuild bridges with Iran, the president’s diplomatic adviser said on Friday, adding that the idea of a confrontational approach to Iran was not something Abu Dhabi supported. “Our conversation is ongoing … we are in the process of sending an ambassador to Tehran. All these areas of rebuilding bridges are ongoing,” Anwar Gargash told reporters ahead of a visit to Paris by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Abu Dhabi still shared concerns about Iran’s regional activities but it wanted to work hard on finding diplomatic solutions, he said. Asked about talk of an anti-Iran alliance to counter its regional activities, Gargash said a Middle East NATO was a “theoretical” concept and that for Abu Dhabi confrontation was not an option. (https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/07/15/UAE-working-to-send-ambassador-to-Iran-seeking-to-rebuild-relation-Gargash) The UAE started engaging with Iran in 2019 following attacks on tankers off Gulf waters and on Saudi energy infrastructure and has held direct talks ever since. Its climate change minister was in Tehran earlier this week.

Newsline: Iran says in talks with Belgium for release of diplomat convicted of terrorism

Tehran is in close contact with Brussels over the case of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Belgium on terrorism charges, Iran’s foreign ministry said. “Dialogue and political consultations with the Belgian authorities [over Assadi’s case] are ongoing,” Iranian state media quoted foreign ministry spokesman Naser Kanani as saying. “There is close communication and consultation with the Belgian government,” he said, adding: “With the actions that have taken place and the efforts that we have made so far, we hope that we will soon witness the release of this valuable Iranian diplomat.” (https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/13/Iran-says-in-talks-with-Belgium-for-release-of-diplomat-convicted-of-terrorism) Last week, Belgian lawmakers gave initial clearance to a controversial prisoner exchange treaty with Iran that could lead to Assadi’s release. The prisoner swap treaty would allow Belgium and Iran to exchange jailed nationals.

Newsline: EU diplomat in Myanmar accused of endangering activists’ lives

The EU ambassador in Myanmar is putting trade unionists’ lives at risk by publicly “denigrating” them, they say. Western activists agree. Brussels says: “No”. The ambassador, 62-year old Italian Ranieri Sabatucci, who is a career EU official, risked inflaming persecution of unionists by “openly undermining the credibility” of groups such as Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar and the Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), the IWFM’s president Khaing War Aung said in a letter to EU institutions on 12 July. Sabatucci did so at an international ambassadors’ conference in Yangon in 2021, for instance, but also “more than once”, War Aung wrote. And this was a “very risky situation for our lives and freedom”, she warned, in an environment in which trade unions have already been driven underground and some of their people “tortured” and “killed” in the junta’s prisons. “Instead of protecting and supporting our work with the EU, the EU ambassador in Myanmar publicly denigrated and questioned our representative organisation, thus offering an opportunity to the junta to further repress us,” she said. (https://euobserver.com/world/155546) The Sabatucci clash comes after trade unions urged EU fashion brands present in Myanmar to pull out on grounds of “slave-like” working conditions for women in the garment sector. It also comes after unionists urged the EU to suspend trade perks for the junta due to its “war crimes and crimes against humanity” more broadly speaking.