Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 28, 2022

Newsline: Germany’s top diplomat says EU rights must be defended at Greek border

Germany’s top diplomat visited refugees at a camp in Greece on Thursday after stressing that European Union countries should do more to safeguard people seeking refuge from war and hardship. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited a Holocaust memorial in Athens before sitting down with refugees at a camp west of the city. She used the visit to promote what she called “a common European sea rescue policy” and to oppose summary deportations of asylum-seekers and migrants. “Our European values also apply at the European external border. If we don’t defend them there, they will perish,” Baerbock said in an interview with the Athens daily newspaper Ta Nea published Thursday. (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-greece-turkey) Greece intercepts boats transporting migrants and asylum-seekers heading to its eastern islands from the nearby coast of Turkey. Human rights organizations allege the country carries out summary deportations, known as pushbacks, which the Greek government denies.

Newsline: Turkey’s consulate in Iraq’s Mosul comes under attack

Turkey’s consulate-general in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul has been attacked, but there were no reported casualties, according to the Turkish foreign ministry. “We condemn this attack … in the strongest terms and expect those responsible to be brought to justice as soon as possible,” the ministry said. “We firmly request from the Iraqi authorities to fulfil their responsibilities in protecting diplomatic and consular missions.” The ministry said the attack coincided with a United Nations Security Council meeting held at the request of Iraqi authorities to discuss an attack in northern Iraq last week “at a time when our country was unfairly accused and targeted”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/27/turkeys-consulate-in-iraqs-mosul-attacked) The source of Wednesday’s attack on the consulate was uncertain; a provincial lawmaker told AFP that four rockets hit – causing damage to cars parked in the street near the consulate, but another official and security sources told Reuters that mortar rounds had fallen close to the building and within its perimeter.

Newsline: Chinese diplomat tweets that South Korea should preserve missile-defense status quo

South Korea must “act prudently” and preserve the status quo rather than deploy a second U.S.-made missile defense system, a Chinese diplomat said on Twitter. The United States, not South Korea, has a “malicious intention to deliberately undermine” Beijing’s security by deploying another Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system in South Korea, Liu Xiaoming, China’s special envoy to the two Koreas, said in a tweet. (https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-07-28/south-korea-missile-defense-china-6793048.html) South Korea’s government has long accused China of retaliating against South Korea for allowing the U.S. to deploy the first THAAD battery in 2017. Economic boycotts against South Korean businesses in 2017 racked up $7 billion in losses, according to an estimate from South Korean lawmakers. The U.S. installed the $800 million missile defense battery at a South Korean military base in Seongju, roughly 130 miles south of Seoul. The battery’s sole purpose was to defend South Korea from North Korea’s provocations, according to a U.S. Forces Korea statement.

Newsline: Iran welcomes nuclear diplomacy

Iran welcomed diplomatic efforts to revive its 2015 nuclear pact with major powers on Wednesday, a day after the European Union’s top diplomat proposed a new text to restore the agreement. “Iran welcomes the continuation of diplomacy and negotiations,” Iranian state media quoted Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as telling EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell by telephone. “The United States always states that it wants an agreement, so this approach should be seen in the agreement and in practice,” Amirabdollahian added. It was not immediately clear what he meant. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-tells-eu-welcomes-more-170039291.html) Borrell on Tuesday said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the 2015 deal under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. Then-U.S. President Donald Trump reneged on the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to violate the deal’s nuclear limits. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal aimed to make it harder for Iran to amass the fissile material for a nuclear weapon, an ambition Iran has long denied, saying its atomic program was for peaceful purposes. On Tuesday, the State Department said it was reviewing Borrell’s proposal and would respond to the EU.