Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 30, 2022

Newsline: Montenegro expels six Russian diplomats and 28 foreigners

A day after it expelled six Russian diplomats, NATO member Montenegro on Friday revoked residence permits and banned entry to 28 foreign citizens it accused of spreading “malign influence” in the interest of unidentified foreign services. The move was part of “continued and coordinated” activities, the Interior Ministry said in a statement, offering no further detail. Media and officials said the group included a former ambassador to Montenegro of neighboring Serbia. The six Russian diplomats were asked to leave the country over “breaches of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement on Twitter on Thursday. Russia in response closed down its consular services in Montenegro. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/montenegro-bans-entry-to-28-foreigners-for-malign-activity/2022/09/30/199cd1b2-40e6-11ed-8c6e-9386bd7cd826_story.html) Also on Thursday police raided multiple locations as part of a spy ring investigation that the government said was prepared and coordinated with Montenegro’s international partners and aimed at protecting national security.

Newsline: Several protesters tried to enter Iranian Embassy in Oslo

Several protesters attempted to enter the Iranian Embassy in Oslo, police said, with scuffles breaking out and rocks being thrown at officers. A crowd had gathered outside the diplomatic mission in Oslo to protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody in Iran after she was detained by Iran’s morality police. Several were shouting, others had Kurdish flags around their shoulders. Some called for freedom for Kurdistan, women’s freedom and shouted the name of Amini. Police in the Norwegian capital said “many people were behaving violently.” Authorities said 90 people had been detained.

Newsline: China lashes out at complaints over quarantining US diplomats

China on Friday dismissed complaints from U.S. congressmembers over the quarantining of American diplomats and their family members under the country’s strict COVID-19 regulations. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China “adopts a science-based and effective epidemic prevention protocol for both Chinese and foreigners coming to China without discrimination.” The policy, Mao said, is “open and transparent.” Regardless of their status, all U.S. visitors accepted China’s epidemic policies, including post-entry medical observation and health monitoring, Mao told reporters at a daily briefing. “Such statements by individual U.S. lawmakers are really absurd and completely groundless,” Mao said, adding that the congressmen appeared to be showing signs of “China phobia.” (https://news.yahoo.com/china-dismisses-complaints-over-quarantining-093158625.html) Republicans James Comer of Kentucky and Michael T. McCaul of Texas wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday asking for clarification on the quarantining of U.S. diplomats and family members by the People’s Republic of China. “U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing recently confirmed that 16 U.S. diplomats and their family members — throughout the pandemic — have been involuntarily held in quarantine camps and subjected to strict confinement measures with no definitive release date,” their letter stated. The letter followed an article in the Washington Post newspaper in July which cited the embassy saying 16 U.S. diplomatic personnel or their family members had “been sent, against their will, to Chinese government medical quarantine centers since the pandemic began.” It said the State Department concluded that was a “clear violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and that U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns has since secured a promise that U.S. diplomats and their family members would be allowed to quarantine in their homes or at the embassy rather at government-run isolation centers notorious for poor hygiene, overcrowding and a lack of privacy. The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment on the letter on Friday.

Newsline: Diplomat says EU countries remain divided on gas price caps

European Union countries are split over whether to cap gas prices, which they will discuss at a meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers on Friday, a senior EU diplomat said. “On the price caps at this moment there is nothing near like a consensus,” the diplomat said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/eu-countries-remain-divided-gas-170515617.html) The diplomat added it was “difficult” to predict if consensus could be reached among countries on imposing a price cap on Russian gas alone.