Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 15, 2022

Newsline: The oldest embassy in the world turns 400

The permanent diplomatic mission of the Kingdom of Spain to the Holy See was established 400 years ago, and is therefore the oldest in the world still in existence. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s Secretary of State, presided over a Mass this past October 12 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Spanish Embassy in the Vatican, the oldest embassy in the world. (https://aleteia.org/2022/10/14/the-oldest-embassy-in-the-world-turns-400/) The Spanish Embassy still sits today in the Monaldeschi Palace, also known as the Palace of Spain (Palazzo di Spagna). Until 1622, the Spanish ambassador did not have a permanent residence. He chose to establish it on a square located in the heart of Rome which, in homage, was later baptized Spain Square, Piazza di Spagna. The Square is today a tourist hot spot.

Newsline: Pakistan summons US ambassador

Pakistan on Saturday summoned the US envoy for an explanation after President Joe Biden described the South Asian country as “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” and questioned its nuclear weapons safety protocols. “I have discussed it with the prime minister, and we have summoned the ambassador of the United States… for an official demarche,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said during a press conference in Karachi. “I am surprised by the remarks of President Biden. I believe this is exactly the sort of misunderstanding that is created when there is lack of an engagement.” (https://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-summons-us-envoy-over-122447788.html) Biden made the apparently off-the-cuff remark late Thursday while talking about United States foreign policy during a private Democratic Party fundraiser in California, but the White House later published a transcript of his comments, sparking outrage in Pakistan. Biden was speaking about his frequent interactions with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, when he said: “Did anybody think we’d be in a situation where China is trying to figure out its role relative to Russia and relative to India and relative to Pakistan? “This is a guy who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? “And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.” Hours after the transcript of his address was posted, Pakistan summoned the US ambassador Donald Blome to the foreign office in Islamabad. Washington’s relations with Pakistan have soured since last year, when the US ended a two-decade war in Afghanistan.

Newsline: Poland summons Israeli ambassador

Polish foreign ministry has summoned Israel’s ambassador for Monday, a Polish deputy minister said on Friday, after the diplomat criticised the government for not allowing student trips from Israel to visit Holocaust memorial sites in Poland. Holocaust education trips for Israeli students to Poland had been suspended earlier this year over the fact that armed guards accompanied the students on the trips, a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed to Reuters. “I regret that Ambassador @YacovLivne has chosen to communicate with @MSZ_RP through the media and public speeches – in addition misleading the public as to why the trips are not taking place,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski tweeted on Friday. “To clarify the situation, he will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.” Jablonski added that Poland’s position regarding the trips had not changed since August. “We are ready to welcome (Israeli) groups even from tomorrow. Security rules should be the same as in other similar countries, i.e. no armed protection. Poland should be treated according to the same standard,” Jablonski tweeted. (https://whtc.com/2022/10/14/polish-foreign-ministry-summons-israeli-ambassador-over-student-trip-comments/) Livne criticised the Polish government for not allowing the student trips earlier this week during a commemoration of an uprising at Nazi extermination camp Sobibor, according to Polish media reports. In July, Poland and Israel vowed to improve relations that had deteriorated after Warsaw introduced a law last year limiting the ability of Jews to recover World War Two properties, saying they would mutually restore ambassadors.