Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 30, 2022

Newsline: Saudi Arabia urges Lebanon to extradite man who threatened embassy

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari said the kingdom is seeking the arrest and extradition from Lebanon of a Saudi man who threatened the kingdom’s embassy in Beirut last week. “We call upon the competent Lebanese authorities to undertake the necessary legal procedures regarding the terrorist threats,” Bukhari said following a meeting with Lebanon’s interior minister. (https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-seeks-extradition-lebanon-091958631.html) Lebanese and Saudi authorities say the person behind the recorded threats was a Saudi man named Ali Hashem. Reuters could not independently confirm the information and was not able to contact the man. Some Lebanese officials have tried to improve ties with Saudi Arabia, once a major donor, after years of tension over the growing influence in Lebanon of Hezbollah, which is classified by both Riyadh and the United States as a terrorist group.

Newsline: EU top diplomats split on visa bans for Russia

Germany and France have issued a joint warning against a ban on tourist visas for Russians, saying such a step, advocated by other European Union member states, would be counter-productive. The split on tourist visas will be at the heart of a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Prague on Tuesday and Wednesday, as they discuss what further steps they can take to sanction Russia for its six-month old invasion of Ukraine. “We caution against far-reaching restrictions on our visa policy, in order to prevent feeding the Russian narrative and trigger unintended rallying-around the flag effects and/or estranging future generations,” France and Germany said in the joint memo seen by Reuters. (https://news.yahoo.com/eu-foreign-policy-chief-eyes-063619840.html) The bloc’s two leading countries argue for close scrutiny of visa applications for security risks, but believe visas should still be issued. “We must not give up on supporting pro-democratic elements with Russian society,” they said. “Our visa policies should reflect that and continue to allow for people to people contacts in the EU with Russian nationals not linked to the Russian government. Others, in particular eastern and Nordic member states, have argued strongly for a ban.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Iraq not being evacuated

Reports of the U.S. Embassy being under threat are “false,” John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said. “There’s no evacuation going on at the embassy and no indication that’s going to be required at this time,” Kirby told reporters on a call on Monday. He called reports of unrest throughout the country “disturbing” and expressed concern that “Iraqi institutions are not being allowed to function.” (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/white-house-calls-violence-in-iraq-e2-80-98disturbing-e2-80-99-but-says-embassy-not-being-evacuated/ar-AA11eJLN) Media reports indicated that multiple people were killed and several were injured in clashes in the Green Zone in Baghdad after Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced he plans to withdraw from political life. CNN reported Monday that security forces fired tear gas and bullets as a crowd of protesters forced their way inside the Green Zone, a heavily fortified area in the Iraqi capital. The United Nations (U.N.) Assistance Mission in Iraq urged protesters to leave the Green Zone and vacate government buildings.