Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 27, 2022

Newsline: Irish Ambassador to France refuses to comment on ‘Champagnegate’

The Irish Ambassador to France has refused to publicly answer questions about last year’s ‘Champagnegate’ controversy. Former secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs Niall Burgess would not take questions about having a champagne celebration in Iveagh House during the lockdown. The end of Mr Burgess’ term as the top civil servant in the department was marred by controversy as he took a ‘selfie’ photograph of himself and his officials in the department standing closely together in June 2020 while strict social distancing restrictions were in place. A team of officials were celebrating following Ireland’s successful bid to get on the UN Security Council. Mr Burgess took the photograph and posted it on Twitter with the caption “Now we’re walking on air…”. (https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/ambassador-embroiled-in-champagnegate-refuses-to-comment-on-controversy-42175507.html) The tweet was deleted shortly after. Details of the event did not emerge until December of last year, causing a political firestorm for the Government and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney.

Newsline: UAE urges diplomacy to end Russia-Ukraine crisis

Lana Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs, in a statement has said “since the beginning of the crisis, the UAE has called for de-escalation and dialogue, and has supported all diplomatic initiatives in this regard.” “The UAE firmly believes that diplomacy remains the only viable way to end the crisis, and shares the international community’s deep concerns about the repercussions of the current situation on civilians in and out of Ukraine, and regional and international peace, security and stability,” the statement said further. (https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2022/11/24/diplomacy-only-way-out-of-russia-ukraine-crisis-says-uae) In times of conflict, our collective responsibility is to leave no stone unturned towards identifying and pursuing paths that bring about a peaceful and swift resolution of crises. As such, the UAE remains firmly committed to help keep channels of communication open, encourage dialogue, support diplomacy, leveraging all the tools at our disposal to alleviate suffering and find a peaceful and sustainable solution that enhances international peace and security and ends the humanitarian impact on civilians.

Newsline: Australian family says targeted with bomb threats amid fight with Chinese diplomat

Even if Drew Pavlou wins what he believes is a landmark case against a Chinese diplomat, the activist says it won’t stop the bomb threats. However, the human rights campaigner hopes a protection order against Xu Jie is successful, saying China’s ex-Brisbane consul-general started a brutal, systematic harassment campaign against him. “The Chinese Communist Party has been behind an extended campaign to brutally go against me and my family,” Pavlou said. “My younger brother has been targeted with bomb threats, my family have continued to be targeted with death threats, I have been assaulted multiple times on Australian streets.” (https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/pavlou-says-family-targeted-with-bomb-threats-amid-fight-with-chinese-diplomat-20221125-p5c1fh.html) Pavlou on Friday launched a Brisbane District Court appeal after his Peace and Good Behaviour Act application against Xu was dismissed in August 2020. The complaint two years ago followed a July 2019 protest at University of Queensland in which Pavlou was twice assaulted. Xu issued a press release after the confrontation, which Pavlou said incited violence against him. Pavlou was unsuccessful in court two years ago after a Brisbane magistrate ruled Xu had diplomatic immunity. However, he has launched the appeal after seeking legal advice from international experts even though Xu is no longer Brisbane consul-general or in Australia.