Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 30, 2022

Newsline: Tunisia’s foreign ministry summons U.S. envoy

Tunisia’s foreign ministry said it summoned an official from the U.S. embassy after Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about Tunisia’s democracy. Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi told U.S. acting chargé d’affaires Natasha Franceschi that the statement represented an unacceptable “interference in the national internal affairs”, the ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/tunisias-foreign-ministry-summons-us-envoy-2022-07-29/) Blinken expressed concerns about Tunisia’s democracy on Thursday after President Kais Saied introduced a new constitution giving himself far more powers, but the broad reaction among Western democracies was muted.

Newsline: Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine working off-site in Kyiv due to security concerns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the flag over the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv in May and announced it was reopening for business. But nearly three months on, Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine is not back at her old desk, and is instead working at another location in Kyiv with her staff for security reasons. (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/canada-s-ambassador-to-ukraine-working-off-site-in-kyiv-due-to-security-concerns/ar-AA1072KS) “Security concerns remain ongoing and therefore the ambassador and staff work off-site in Kyiv to ensure their safety,” said Jason Kung, a Global Affairs Canada spokesman.

Newsline: German, Turkish diplomats spar in Istanbul

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday urged Turkey to respect human rights during a testy visit at which she sparred openly with counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. (https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/german-turkish-diplomats-spar-in-istanbul/article) The former German Green party co-leader also rejected Turkey’s territorial claims to Greek islands in the Aegean and urged Ankara not to stage a mooted military incursion into northern Syria. Baerbock was paying her first visit to Turkey after holding talks in Greece that came with old rivalries between the two NATO defence alliance neighbours rising once again. Turkey accuses Greece of illegally arming its web of islands — some of them visible from the Turkish shore. Greece counters that Turkey is staging provocative military sorties over the region and threatening to go to war. “We cannot solve the problems of the east Mediterranean by escalating tensions,” she added during a joint media appearance with Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu retorted: “Why are you closing your Greece’s unlawful actions.” Turkey and Germany developed a warm friendship in the era of former chancellor Angela Merkel. But Baerbock was more critical of Turkey as leader of the leftist Green party and raised a number of what she called “difficult” issues in Istanbul.