Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 18, 2022

Newsline: Almost a dozen U.S. ambassadors to Latin America and the Caribbean are still not in place

Almost two years after President Joe Biden stepped into office, nearly a dozen ambassadors to key countries in the Western Hemisphere are still not in place, with eight nominees having their confirmation hearings put on hold by a Republican senator — all during a pivotal time in the region. Ambassadorial nominees to Nicaragua, Brazil, Panama, Uruguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, El Salvador and the Organization of American States have been nominated but their confirmations are being held up by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. Biden recently nominated an ambassador to Ecuador and has yet to nominate ambassadors to the Dominican Republic, as well as Colombia — the strongest ally of the United States in the region which recently elected its first leftist president. Chile’s ambassador was recently confirmed after the position was vacant for close to four years. (https://news.yahoo.com/almost-dozen-u-ambassadors-latin-130525067.html) Finding candidates has become more difficult over the years because both the vetting and the confirmation processes have become more complex, and could become tedious and frustrating for the nominees. With Biden’s nominations to the region, partisan politics in Congress and what some have described as the administration foot-dragging have also complicated the confirmation process, even while they were still in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Newsline: UN General Assembly faces geopolitical divides

Geopolitical divides will be the focus of world leaders when they convene at the United Nations in New York this week, a gathering that is unlikely to yield any progress towards ending the Ukrainian conflict. “It would be naive to think that we are close to the possibility of a peace deal,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday in advance of the high-level meeting of the 193 member states, which starts on Tuesday. “The chances of a peace deal are minimal at the present moment.” Geopolitical divides, hardened by the seven-month-old war, are likely to be on full display as the United States and Western allies compete with Russia for diplomatic influence. Guterres said the geopolitical rifts were “the widest they have been since at least the Cold War” and “paralyzing the global response to the dramatic challenges we face” highlighting conflicts, climate, poverty, hunger, and inequality. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/18/ukraine-war-to-be-main-focus-at-unga-meeting) Russia and Ukraine are major grain and fertiliser exporters and the UN has blamed the war for the worsening food crisis that was already fuelled by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States will co-host a food security summit with the European Union and the African Union on the sidelines of the UN gathering, along with a COVID-19 global action plan meeting and a replenishment conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.