Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 4, 2022

Newsline: EU’s top diplomat condemns sentence for Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

The European Union condemned on Sunday the sentencing of Myanmar’s deposed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi to jail with hard labour, after she was found guilty of electoral fraud. A source familiar with the proceedings told Reuters on Friday that Suu Kyi had been found guilty and sentenced to three years in jail with hard labour. Her lawyers gave the same information to the BBC. “EU condemns the unjustified sentence of Aung San Suu Kyi to an additional three years of detention, with hard labour. She now faces 20 years imprisonment on eleven counts with several charges remaining,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter. “EU calls on the regime in Myanmar to release her and all political prisoners,” Borrell said. (https://wsau.com/2022/09/04/eu-condemns-jail-hard-labour-sentence-for-myanmars-suu-kyi/) The Nobel laureate and figurehead of Myanmar’s opposition to decades of military rule has been detained since a coup early last year and had already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. She denies all the allegations against her.

Newsline: US ambassador to Russia retires

John Sullivan, the United States’ ambassador to Russia, has left his post and will retire, the US Embassy announced Sunday. (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/04/politics/john-sullivan-us-ambassador-russia-retires/index.html) Sullivan departs amid a period of heightened tensions between the US and Russia not seen in decades. He leaves after nearly three years as ambassador in Moscow, where he oversaw the embassy as it faced increasing restrictions imposed by the Russian government. “U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan has concluded his tenure as U.S. envoy and departed Moscow today,” the US Embassy in Russia said in a press statement. “Ambassador Sullivan was appointed in December 2019 and has served as Ambassador for almost three years,” the statement read. “Following his departure, he will retire from a career in public service that has spanned four decades and five U.S. presidents, including service as the Deputy Secretary of State and in senior positions at the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce.” The embassy added that Elizabeth Rood will take over as chargé d’affaires until a successor takes over.

Newsline: Ruined consulate reflects years of conflict between Colombia and Venezuela

Without doors or windows, its walls covered with graffiti, the Venezuelan Consulate in the Colombian capital is in ruins. The vandalized structure with a trash-strewn lawn sticks out like a sore thumb in the upscale north Bogota neighborhood. The lone police officer standing guard is in no position to keep out intruders or even to stop passers-by from dumping garbage, including – on the occasion of Efe’s visit – a used tire. (https://www.laprensalatina.com/derelict-consulate-reflects-years-of-strain-between-colombia-and-venezuela/) Links between Caracas and Bogota have been troubled for years and the relationship broke down entirely in 2019. Colombia’s consulate in Caracas remained intact during the rupture, newly appointed Colombian Ambassador Armando Benedetti said after arriving in the Venezuelan capital. In April, the Venezuelan government submitted a formal complaint about a fire at the consulate in Bogota as a result of “permanent vandalization” and demanded that Colombia’s then-president, Ivan Duque, render “due respect and protection” to Venezuela’s diplomatic missions. The ceilings of the building still bear traces of the fire and the graffiti on the internal walls are accompanied by clothing and mattresses apparently belonging to homeless people. All of the furniture was stolen within months of the diplomatic breach, to be followed by the windows, doors and other fixtures. The new Venezuelan envoy to Colombia, Felix Plasencia, said this week that restoring the consulate and other diplomatic outposts would be a priority.