Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 6, 2022

Newsline: U.S. envoy fears “return to war” in Yemen

The American diplomat tasked with helping to end the grinding civil war in Yemen – which has claimed close to 400,000 lives and left the majority of the country’s people dependent on humanitarian aid for survival – lamented the end of a six-month ceasefire without a truce agreement to replace it. U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking told reporters on a State Department telephone briefing that he feared the failure to reach a new peace agreement would bring a “return to war.” Lenderking said that if the fighting between Yemen’s Saudi Arabian-backed central government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who hold a huge swath of the Arabian nation, does resume, it will “bring nothing but casualties and destruction on Yemen and will create further confusion as to where this conflict is headed.” (https://news.yahoo.com/u-envoy-fears-return-war-132600310.html) The Houthis, whom Lenderking blamed for the failure of the negotiations, made it clear to CBS News that the fighting was indeed likely to resume, as they warned of an imminent “return to military operations.”

Newsline: US eyes nuclear diplomacy with Iran

The vast majority of Americans support diplomacy with Iran to constrain its nuclear program, a survey found Wednesday, amid a stalemate in negotiations to restore a 2015 deal. A wide-ranging annual survey by the Eurasia Group Foundation found that nearly 79 percent of US voters believe the United States “should continue to pursue negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon in the near future.” (https://news.yahoo.com/broad-support-us-nuclear-diplomacy-202830441.html) Former Republican president Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in 2018, calling it the “worst deal ever,” and reimposed sweeping sanctions. But the survey found that close to 72 percent of Republicans backed nuclear diplomacy with Iran. It did not ask about specific details of the 2015 accord. President Joe Biden supports a restoration of the accord, but negotiations have repeatedly broken down, with Iran most recently demanding an end to the UN watchdog’s probe of previous suspicious activities. Political pressure has also built on Biden not to give Iran economic relief amid major protests against the clerical state triggered by the death of a young woman in the custody of morality police.

Newsline: Kazakhstan rejects Russian demand to expel Ukrainian ambassador

Kazakh authorities rejected a demand from Russia that they expel Ukraine’s ambassador over comments about killing Russians. Tensions escalated after Ukraine’s ambassador in Astana, Petro Vrublevskiy, said in August in an interview with a local blogger, referring to the war in Ukraine, that “the more Russians we kill now, the fewer of them our children will have to kill”. Russia demanded that Kazakhstan expel the diplomat in response, but Astana instead asked Kyiv to replace him, telling him his comments were unacceptable for a country with a large ethnic Russian minority. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday said Moscow was “outraged” by the fact that Vrublevskiy was still in Astana, and had summoned the Kazakh ambassador. (https://www.reuters.com/world/kazakhstan-snubs-russian-demand-expel-ukrainian-ambassador-2022-10-05/) Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov on Wednesday called Zakharova’s tone “discordant with the nature of the allied relations between Kazakhstan and Russia as equal strategic partners”, adding that the Russian ambassador would in turn be summoned to the Kazakh ministry.