Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 21, 2022

Newsline: French police arrest Azerbaijani embassy attacker

Police in France have arrested an attacker on the Azerbaijani embassy in Paris, Azernews reported. Police in Paris arrested Loris Toufanian, the former chairman of the youth branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation of the Dashnaktsutyun in France, who in 2015 became one of the founders of the dissident group Charjoum. The arrest is likely due to a violent protest against the Azerbaijani embassy’s cultural center. (https://www.azernews.az/karabakh/201114.html) In September this year, an Armenian radical group attacked the cultural center of the Azerbaijani embassy in Paris. Armenians outside the building threw paint at the cultural center and were only removed from the scene by the police intervention.

Newsline: Australia’s top diplomat pledges millions in climate, security aid for Pacific

Australia has promised millions of dollars in support for Pacific island nations to address the “existential threat” of climate change, as well as funds for Australia’s police deployment in the Solomon Islands, regional aerial surveillance, and an Australian Border Force network. Foreign Minister Penny Wong, speaking at the Pacific Way Conference in French Polynesia, said Australia would increase its total budget for overseas development assistance by 1.4bn Australian dollars (around $878.3m) over the next four years. Some 900 million Australian dollars (almost $565m) will go to the Pacific region. Australia will update its federal budget next week and 46 million Australian dollars (some $29m) will be set aside to fund the country’s police deployments in the Solomon Islands, where officers are helping to provide security since last year’s riots in the capital Honiara. Wong described the assistance as a way of supporting regional partners to “provide their own security so they have less need to call on others”. “Without these investments, others will continue to fill the vacuum,” Wong was reported to have said, according to Reuters, and she pointed to previous Australian governments for losing ground in the Pacific where “we have a lot of catching up to do”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/21/australia-promises-millions-in-security-aid-for-solomon-islands) Wong said the budget commitments would be a “major step towards the goal of making Australia stronger and more influential in the world”, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

Newsline: Chinese diplomat says pulling hair of Hong Kong protester was his ‘duty’

A Chinese diplomat who was filmed pulling the hair of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester on the grounds of his consulate in Manchester, England, has defended his actions – saying it was his “duty” to maintain China’s dignity. “Any diplomat” would have done the same, Chinese Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan said when asked about video footage that has emerged of a group of men assaulting the protester. (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/10/20/uk/manchester-chinese-consulate-hong-kong-protester-intl-hnk) The confrontation took place on Sunday, when a group of pro-democracy protesters turned up to the consulate with banners featuring satirical images of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The demonstration coincided with the start of a key week-long meeting of the Chinese Communist Party elites in Beijing, at which Xi is widely expected to secure a norm-breaking third term as leader. Video footage shows one of the pro-democracy protesters – since identified as Bob Chan – being dragged through the gate into the consulate grounds and being beaten by the group of men. It also shows Manchester police entering the consulate grounds to break up the violence.