Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 23, 2022

Newsline: Turkey says it has no preconditions for dialogue with Syria

Turkey does not have preconditions for dialogue with the Syrian government and talks should be goal-oriented, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday in a further softening of Ankara’s stance towards Damascus. “There cannot be a condition for dialogue but what are the aim of these contacts? The country needs to cleared of terrorists… People need to be able to return,” Cavusoglu said. Asked last week about potential talks with Damascus, Erdogan was quoted as saying diplomacy between states can never be fully severed. (https://news.yahoo.com/turkey-does-not-preconditions-dialogue-073149361.html) Turkey has backed rebels fighting to topple Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and cut diplomatic relations with Damascus early in the 11-year conflict. Erdogan has warned that Turkey could launch another military incursion into northern Syria targeting Syria Kurdish fighters, to extend a ‘safe zone’ where Ankara says some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees which it currently hosts could return.

Newsline: South Sudan diplomat evades NYC rape charge by claiming diplomatic immunity

A South Sudan government official in Manhattan evaded a potential rape charge because of his diplomatic immunity, the Daily News has learned. The alleged victim reported to the NYPD at 11 p.m. Sunday that a man had opened her building’s front door and followed her into her upper Manhattan apartment about noon, and then raped her twice, police sources said. The woman told police she had been out walking her neighbor’s dog when a man said he wanted to come to her apartment. When she told him she wasn’t interested, she alleged he followed her into her home and raped her, sources said. (https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-diplomatic-immunity-rape-accusation-south-sudan-manhattan-20220822-sq4g75y7rzf5baxmjgjm2nhure-story.html) The 46-year-old diplomat, Charles Oliha, was later taken into custody by police — but he invoked his diplomatic status, which the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau confirmed was valid, the sources said. After a discussion with police lawyers, the diplomat — assigned to his North African country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was released about 5 a.m. Monday. A representative for the South Sudan Manhattan consulate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Newsline: U.S. embassy’s new security alert for Ukraine urges U.S. citizens to leave

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, warning of an increased possibility of Russian military strikes on Ukraine in the coming days around Ukrainian independence day, has again urged U.S. citizens to leave if they can. “The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days,” the embassy said in an alert on its website. “The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so,” the alert said, repeating the advice of previous security warnings. (https://www.investing.com/news/general/us-embassy-issues-new-security-alert-for-ukraine-urges-us-citizens-to-leave-2878001) Kyiv has banned public celebrations in the capital on the anniversary of independence from Soviet rule on Wednesday, citing a heightened threat of attack.

Newsline: Irish embassy credit cards were used to pay €3,800 for Paris AirBnb and €2,470 on chocolate

Irish Embassy credit cards were used to pay congestion charge fines in London, for the purchase of £2,100 (€2,470) worth of handmade chocolates, to pay an Airbnb bill for a Paris apartment of €3,800, and for tens of thousands of euro in hotel costs. Copies of card statements from some of Ireland’s most high-profile embassies detail how congestion charge penalties of £80 were paid on two separate occasions at the embassy in London. Ireland’s UK embassy also splashed out more than £2,100 on handmade chocolate from the Kerry-based artisan producer Dingle Chocolates, with a further £827 spent with the same supplier on a later date. There were also regular Nespresso bills ranging from £76 to £166 to keep the Embassy coffee machine stocked up for “senior level meetings”. The embassy in London also incurred a £3,500 bill at the five-star Taj Hotel in central London, although a credit of £1,755 was later applied to their account from the hotel. Also on the credit card statements were £192 for Ardsallagh goats cheese and £353 to the Oxenford Farm, which provides Christmas trees. (https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/other/irish-embassy-credit-cards-were-used-to-pay-e2-82-ac3800-for-paris-airbnb-and-e2-82-ac2470-on-chocolate/ar-AA10TkGp) There were extensive bills of more than £9,000 from the Hilton Hotel in March this year to coincide with St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Other items purchased regularly through the embassy card included a monthly Spotify subscription, regular congestion charge payments for London’s streets, and a magazine subscription for The Spectator.