Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 27, 2022

Newsline: South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs ministry says diplomat accused of NYC rape under “full investigation”

The #SouthSudan #diplomat accused of raping a woman in Washington Heights has been recalled to his native country, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation took the decision to immediately recall the diplomat in question, pending a full investigation from a specialized committee,” the ministry said. Oliha has been “suspended from his duties, awaiting the outcome of this investigation,” the ministry noted. Despite recalling Oliha back home, far from city investigators, the ministry said “sexual misconduct in any shape or form is heinous and wholly unacceptable.” (https://news.yahoo.com/diplomat-accused-ny-rape-recalled-152800159.html) Charles Oliha, 46, managed to dodge a rape charge because of his diplomatic status after being briefly detained by police Sunday night. By Thursday, he was back in North Africa, some 6,000 miles away from New York City, members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed. Back in Africa, Oliha is considered a “miscreant diplomat” known for his “undiplomatic behaviors during private functions and going to off-limits places in the areas of his assigned locations,” sources told the Sudan Tribune. Several foreign diplomats have escaped justice in NYC in a variety of cases over the years, including two Sudanese diplomats accused in city sex attacks in 2017. In October 2017, a 23-year-old woman told cops that diplomat Hassan Salih, 36, groped her breasts and buttocks at Bar None on Third Ave. near 13th St. He was cut loose because of his diplomatic status. That January, Mohammad Abdalla Ali was charged with sexual abuse after a woman accused him of grinding on her in a Manhattan subway. He also was freed because of his diplomatic status.

Newsline: UAE bid to get ex-congressman named U.S. ambassador dropped with lawmaker’s arrest

An effort by the United Arab Emirates to convince the United States with the help of a wealthy real estate investor to name former congressman Stephen #Stockman as U.S. #ambassador to that country during Donald #Trump’s presidency unraveled with the lawmaker’s 2017 arrest on fraud charges, prosecutors said. U.S. prosecutors made the statement in a filing in Brooklyn federal court ahead of next month’s scheduled criminal trial of Tom #Barrack, a billionaire real estate investor and fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Barrack, charged with acting as a UAE agent without notifying the U.S. attorney general as required, has pleaded not guilty. The filing, partially redacted, stated that the UAE in early 2017 asked Barrack, who had chaired Trump’s inaugural committee and has described the former president as a close friend, to advocate for Stockman’s appointment as American ambassador. Stockman, a Republican who represented Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives, was arrested in March 2017, convicted the following year of using charitable donations for campaign and personal spending and sentenced to 10 years in prison. #Trump, who took office in January 2017, commuted Stockman’s sentence in the final weeks of his presidency in December 2020. Prosecutors indicated in Thursday’s filing that they want to introduce evidence at Barrack’s trial about Stockman’s arrest to explain why Barrack was “not able to fulfill this request, despite agreeing to do so.” An amended version of the filing made on Friday redacted Stockman’s name. (https://news.yahoo.com/ex-congressmans-arrest-ended-uae-182722759.html) The UAE’s #embassy in Washington, Barrack’s lawyers, Stockman and his lawyers all did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Newsline: U.S. to appoint Arctic ambassador

The U.S. administration announced Friday it will nominate an #ambassador-at-large for the Arctic. (https://www.axios.com/2022/08/26/arctic-ambassador-us-biden-administration) U.S. Arctic policy is currently handled by a coordinator within the State Department. The White House is seeking to elevate such a role to a full ambassadorship, pending confirmation from the Senate. The move comes at a time of increased militarization in the far north, with NATO members squaring off against Russia, and at a time of rapid climate change that is making the Arctic more accessible. In recent years, Russia has moved to establish multiple military bases in its Arctic territory, while NATO members have conducted drills and worked to counter the Russian threat. With the region’s temperatures increasing three times faster than the rest of the world, melting sea ice is opening the Arctic Ocean up to trade and military patrols.