Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 8, 2022

Newsline: US Embassy Identifies American Killed in Baghdad

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has identified an American aid worker and language instructor who was fatally shot in the Iraqi capital as 45-year-old Stephen Edward Troell, the Embassy said Tuesday. The embassy said it was closely monitoring an investigation begun by Iraqi authorities, but declined to comment further out of respect for his mourning family, the embassy statement said. A State Department official said he was a private citizen with no connection to the government. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to go on the record. (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2022-11-08/u-s-identifies-american-slain-in-baghdad-questions-remain) Troell, a native of Tennessee, was killed by unknown assailants in his car as he pulled up to the street where he lived with his family in Baghdad’s central Karrada district. It was a rare killing of a foreigner in Iraq, where security conditions have improved in recent years.

Newsline: China’s consulate in Toronto accused of election interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of attempting to interfere in the country’s elections. Mr Trudeau accused Beijing of playing “aggressive games” with democracies and of targeting Canadian institutions. It comes as local media report that Canadian intelligence identified a “clandestine network” of Beijing-backed candidates at recent elections. At least 11 candidates were supported by China in the 2019 federal elections, officials reportedly told Mr Trudeau. Citing unnamed intelligence officials, local broadcaster Global News reported that Beijing had directed funds to the candidates and that Chinese operatives had acted as campaign advisers to many candidates. The operation, which was reportedly directed from China’s consulate in Toronto, also sought to place operatives within the offices of serving MPs in an attempt to influence policy, the outlet alleged. (https://news.yahoo.com/trudeau-accuses-china-aggressive-election-045504416.html) In one case, funding of C$250,000 was directed through the office of an Ontario-based provincial MP. And efforts were also made to “co-opt and corrupt” former Canadian officials in a bid to gain influence within political circles. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denied these allegations. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has no interest in meddling in Canadian elections.

Newsline: Diplomats say China cancelled EU leader’s video address

Chinese authorities behind a major trade expo in Shanghai pulled an opening ceremony address by the European Council president that was set to criticise Russia’s “illegal war” in Ukraine and call for reduced EU trade dependency on China, diplomats said. (https://www.reuters.com/world/china/exclusive-china-cancelled-eu-leaders-video-address-opening-major-trade-expo-dips-2022-11-08/) The pre-recorded video by Charles Michel was meant to be one of several from world leaders and heads of international organisations, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Friday, three European diplomats told Reuters.

Newsline: Canada mulls loosening French requirements for diplomats

A Senate committee studying the future of Canada’s foreign service is pondering whether French needs to be a lower priority for recruiting diplomats as Ottawa pivots its foreign policy toward the Indo-Pacific. The issue has emerged in ongoing hearings at the Senate foreign-affairs committee, which is looking into whether Global Affairs Canada is designed to successfully execute Canada’s foreign-policy goals. British Columbia Sen. Yuen Pao Woo told his colleagues that many from his province have an expertise in Asian languages and cultures, but seem to be held back due to their lack of French. “I wonder if it might be possible to rank the intrinsic savvy and skill that some Canadians have,” he suggested, in order to “counteract some of the lower scores that we get for deficiencies in French.” (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/senators-ponder-loosening-french-requirements-for-diplomats-as-canada-pivots-to-asia/) At the Nov. 3 meeting, Woo argued that diplomats should still be learning French, but that this could be treated as a lower priority for diplomats than for other public servants.