Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 25, 2022

Newsline: US left-wing lawmakers pull letter urging diplomatic end to war in Ukraine

Left-wing US lawmakers on Tuesday withdrew a letter that appealed to President Joe Biden to negotiate with Russia, saying they were not joining Republicans who question support for Ukraine. Days before congressional elections, Representative Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, took responsibility and said that staff released the letter Monday that had been drafted months ago and was not vetted. She regretted that the letter was being “conflated” with recent remarks by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy who warned there would be no “blank check” to Ukraine if his party wins control of the chamber on November 8. “The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats… are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President (Volodymyr) Zelensky,” Jayapal said in a statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too,” she said. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-left-wing-lawmakers-pull-174350587.html) The original letter, signed by 30 Democrats, urged the Biden administration to negotiate directly with Russia, saying that funding for weapons created a “responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues.” The appeal held out the possibility of sanctions relief for Russia and a potential new European security framework with guarantees for all sides.

Newsline: South Africa hosts diplomatic talks on Ethiopia’s Tigray

Peace talks to end Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have begun in South Africa, a South African government spokesman said Tuesday. It is the highest-level diplomatic effort yet to end two years of fighting that has killed perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. The spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Vincent Magwenya, said the African Union-led talks that started Tuesday are expected to continue until Sunday. “Such talks are in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent,” Magwenya said. (https://www.mrt.com/news/article/South-Africa-says-Ethiopia-peace-talks-have-begun-17532652.php) Delegations from the Ethiopian government and Tigray authorities arrived in South Africa this week. There was no immediate comment from either side.

Newsline: Former U.S. diplomat pleads guilty to sex with minors in Philippines

A former State Department employee pleaded guilty Monday to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors while working at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. Dean Edward Cheves, 63, served at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines from 2017 to 2021. During that time, he met multiple minors over the internet, according to the Department of Justice. Between December 2020 and March 2021, Cheves communicated with a then-15 to 16-year-old Philippine minor whom he paid to produce and send sexually explicit images, the DOJ said. (https://www.foxnews.com/us/former-state-department-employee-pleads-guilty-sexual-conduct-minors-philippines) In February 2021, Cheves engaged in sex acts on two separate occasions with another Philippine minor who he met online, using his government-issued cell phone to film the encounter. The illicit material was later found on devices seized from his embassy residence in the Philippines, the DOJ said, adding that he was aware of the minors’ ages. Cheves was sent back to the U.S. in March 2021. Cheves is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison for each count.