Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 3, 2022

Newsline: Elon Musk’s Twitter verification fee becomes matter of international diplomacy

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told ATV he could “carry out some diplomacy” with Elon Musk. The president of Turkey said that he might speak to Musk to negotiate a way to opt out of paying for a proposed $8-a-month Twitter verification fee. Reuters reported the news, citing an interview with Turkish broadcaster ATV. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/turkeys-president-says-wants-discuss-105621447.html) Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV he was considering talking to Musk about the monthly $8 subscription, which would give users a blue checkmark, the ability to post long-form video, priority in search, and fewer ads. The charge for Twitter verification “might be different for us,” Erdogan told ATV, Reuters reported. “We could carry out some diplomacy with him as well.” Erdogan, who appears to post regularly on Twitter, is verified on the social-media platform. This means Twitter has confirmed Erdogan’s account belongs to him.

Newsline: UK ambassador summoned to Russian foreign ministry met protesters

British ambassador Deborah Bronnert, who was summoned to Russian foreign ministry this morning was met with protesters chanting anti-UK slogans. Ambassador Bronnert arrived at the foreign ministry shortly after 10:30 a.m. as a small crowd chanted anti-British slogans and held placards reading “Britain is a terrorist state”. She left after around 30 minutes. (https://news.yahoo.com/british-ambassador-summoned-russian-foreign-091424035.html) Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it had delivered a protest to the British ambassador after summoning her over its allegation that British specialists had been involved in a Ukrainian drone strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. “The demarche stressed that such confrontational actions by the British threatened to escalate the situation and could lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences,” the ministry said in a statement. There was no immediate comment from Britain.

Newsline: G7 top diplomats to discuss Ukraine, China and Iran

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – are meeting in the western German city of Munster to discuss issues relating to Ukraine, China and Iran. Senior U.S. officials traveling with Blinken said they expected the discussions on Thursday and Friday in Munster’s town hall — which local officials say was last used for an international diplomatic event in 1648 when the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the 30 Years War — to reaffirm G-7 “alignment and consistency” on Ukraine and a number of other issues. (https://news.yahoo.com/g7-foreign-ministers-set-grapple-220558577.html) Those include joint approaches to China, which has sided with Russia over Ukraine while also seeking to boost investments in critical and sensitive infrastructure in the West, and Iran, which in addition to crackdown on protesters is accused of supplying Russia with drones.

Newsline: Ex-U.S. Embassy Employee Withdraws Plea to Sex Abuse Charges

A former U.S. government employee withdrew his guilty pleas to federal charges stemming from allegations that he sexually abused multiple women, often while they were unconscious, authorities said. In a plea agreement reached last year, Brian Jeffrey Raymond admitted to recording and/or photographing at least 24 unconscious women over the course of 14 years, and groping the victims while recording or photographing them. Raymond also admitted to having sexual intercourse with two of the women in the recordings, which prosecutors say were made in 2020 at his embassy-leased home in Mexico City. Both women “were incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or consenting to it,” according to a Department of Justice statement. Raymond was arrested in La Mesa in the fall of 2020. (https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2022/11/01/ex-la-mesa-resident-u-s-embassy-employee-withdraws-plea-to-sex-abuse-charges/) An FBI statement seeking information from the public about potential victims stated that Raymond worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for many years and was last working at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. However, a few months after his guilty plea was taken, Raymond filed a motion to withdraw the plea on the grounds that his legal counsel was ineffective and that he had raised a potential defense to the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

Newsline: China’s senior diplomat alleged to be serial violent offender

Last month, Chinese diplomats were involved in a brawl with a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester at China’s consulate in Manchester in UK. Now, a report claims that one of the officials involved in the brawl was also accused of assaulting Taiwanese diplomats in Fiji in 2020. According to ABC News, the diplomat is Gao Lianjia. Gao was among the two diplomats who allegedly beat up a Taiwanese official outside the Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji’s capital, Suva. (https://www.firstpost.com/world/fiji-to-manchester-chinas-senior-diplomat-identified-as-serial-offender-in-violence-cases-11559011.html) The incident happened as Taiwan was celebrating its national day in the hotel. While a war of words erupted between China and Taiwan over the incident, Fiji remained silent. According to ABC News, Gao and the other Chinese diplomat involved in the incident claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid facing any action.