Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 28, 2022

Newsline: Global Conference on Bioweapons Faces Risks Related to Russia and Ukraine

Hundreds of diplomats and health security experts are gathering in Geneva to grapple with the increasing risk that viruses, bacteria and other pathogens could be used as weapons. But Russia’s presence threatens to undercut their efforts. Russia’s campaign alleging that the US has supported secret biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine is likely to undermine negotiations at a conference geared toward strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, the first global disarmament treaty that sought to ban an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. (https://news.yahoo.com/russia-ukraine-claims-risk-thwarting-050100451.html) For the first time in six years, representatives from the US, Russia, China and other countries are gathering at Geneva’s Palais des Nations starting Monday to review the treaty, which is seen as lacking the geopolitical and scientific muscle needed to verify whether nations have violated it. But health security experts say they fear that Russia will use the three-week conference as a platform to again peddle contentions intended to sow distrust in the US and Ukraine.

Newsline: Diplomats say Russia-U.S. nuclear talks postponed

Nuclear disarmament talks between Russia and the United States set to take place this week have been postponed, Moscow’s foreign ministry and the U.S.Embassy said on Monday.Officials from the two countries were due to meet in the Egyptian capital of Cairo from Nov. 29 to Dec.6 to discuss resuming inspections under the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which had been suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The previously schedled session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission under the U.S.-Russia New START Treaty in Cairo (Nov. 29-Dec. 6) will not take place on those dates,” the ministry said. “The event is postponed to a later date.” (https://kfgo.com/2022/11/28/russa-u-s-nuclear-talks-postponed/) It gave no reason, although the U.S. Embassy was quoted by the Komersant newspaper as saying the decision had been Russia’s. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had played down expectations of a breakthrough, although the talks were a sign that both sides at least wanted to maintain dialogue, even though relations are at their lowest level since the Cold War.

Newsline: Belarus’ foreign policy to remain unchanged after top diplomat’s death

Belarus’ foreign policy course will not be changed after the death of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, regardless of who takes his office, Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, told TASS on Sunday. The expert argued that Makei “once used to be a kind of a leader of the pro-Western faction in [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko’s team.” “He was pursuing a policy that was dictated by Lukashenko. So, I don’t think that there will be any cardinal changes in Belarus’ policy to other countries,” Zharikhin said. (https://tass.com/world/1542435) Vladimir Makei died on Saturday at the age of 64. He worked at the Council of Europe and headed the European Cooperation Department of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. He was appointed foreign minister in August 2012.