Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 16, 2022

Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat downplays normalization with Israel

Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat on Saturday downplayed talk of normalization with Israel after the kingdom opened its airspace to Israeli commercial flights and hammered out a complex deal over islands in the Red Sea that required Israeli assent. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Farhan bin Faisal spoke to reporters after a four-day visit by President Joe Biden to the region, including two days that the U.S. leader spent in Saudi Arabia, where he held talks with the Saudi king and the crown prince, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, and took part in a summit of regional leaders. Prince Farhan stressed there was no discussion at the summit of any military cooperation with Israel or talk of a so-called “Arab NATO.” “There is no discussion about a defensive alliance with Israel,” he repeated. (https://www.fox13memphis.com/news/politics/latest-saudi-arabia/) Ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia have been inching closer amid shared concerns over Iran.

Newsline: South Korea envoy arrives in Japan on mission to mend ties

New South Korean Ambassador to Japan Yun Duk-min arrived at his posting Saturday with a mission to improve bilateral ties that have soured over wartime labor and other issues stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of Korea. “South Korea and Japan are the most important partners that share strategic benefits,” Yun told reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. “I will do my best to build a future-oriented relationship between South Korea and Japan, based on our shared values.” (https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-South-Korea-rift/South-Korea-ambassador-arrives-in-Japan-on-mission-to-mend-ties) Fluent in Japanese, Yun, 62, is a foreign policy expert who obtained a doctorate from Japan’s Keio University. He is expected to coordinate with Japan on behalf of his nation. South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin on Monday begins a three-day visit to Japan, his first since taking up the role. He will meet with Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi Monday afternoon, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Newsline: U.S. is planning to build new embassy in Jerusalem

Thistles and brown grass blanket a patch of earth in a modern Jerusalem neighborhood likely slated to be part of a new U.S. Embassy. But according to Houston pathologist Dr. Hasan Khalidi, Israel has no right to grant the American government permission to build there. That’s because he believes the 7.5-acre the plot belongs to other Palestinian families like his own. “I consider this as stolen land, confiscated land,” said Khalidi, 61, who was born in Amman, Jordan, but says his family roots in Jerusalem date back a thousand years. “We visited Jerusalem at least three or four times a year, we would always go and explore the city and he used to tell me, ‘This is Khalidi land,’” he said, referring to his father, Ragheb. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-planning-build-embassy-embassy-083006145.html) The issue here is more than a simple property dispute and instead touches on one of the most sensitive flashpoints of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the city of Jerusalem. The Khalidis and other Palestinian families’ claim also provides an insight to the convictions and the sense of loss that underpin many Palestinians’ relations with Israel overall.

Newsline: Iraq’s ambassador to Lebanon fires RPG rocket with armed group

The Iraqi ambassador to Lebanon, Haider Shiya’a Al-Barak appeared in the middle of an armed group during his visit to a Lebanese village. According to activists, Barrak visited a Lebanese village and appeared in the middle of an armed group, and fired an RPG7 rocket. After photos of Barrak with the armed group went viral and stirred up controversy, Barrak issued an explanatory statement. “I accepted the invitation of leaders of tribes in Bekaa governorate in eastern Lebanon, and firing a RPG7 rocket is one of their customs,” according to Barrak explanatory statement. (https://yalibnan.com/2022/07/14/iraqs-ambassador-to-lebanon-fires-rpg-rocket-with-armed-group/) Firearm sales have risen in Lebanon threefold since the financial crisis began in 2019, even though the dollar value of the minimum wage has dropped to just 25 US dollar per month, according to The National. People in Lebanon have been rushing to buy weapons on the black market in the past year as the struggling state fails to prevent rising crime and political violence, The National added.