Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 6, 2022

Newsline: Top US diplomat urges Rwanda to halt support for armed groups in Congo

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Rwandan President Paul Kagame to halt support for armed groups in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including rebels who are accused of multiple rights violations, the State Department said on Monday. Blinken emphasized during his Sunday call with Kagame that “any external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s assistance to M23,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “Secretary Blinken also shared deep concern about the impact of the fighting on Congolese civilians who have been killed, injured and displaced from their homes,” added Price. (https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/top-us-diplomat-urges-rwanda-to-halt-support-for-armed-groups-in-congo-3656725) Blinken also condemned hate speech and public incitement against Rwandaphone communities – meaning the speakers of Kinyarwanda, including most ethic Tutsis – “recalling the real and horrible consequences of such rhetoric in the past,” the statement added, likely referring to the 1994 genocide. The Democratic Republic of the Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting the March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group, which some fear could capture Goma, the capital of North Kivu, Congo. While Rwanda denies the allegations, political and diplomatic tensions between the two countries continue.

Newsline: Canada Summons Chinese Ambassador Repeatedly

Recently, the “police stations” that China has established in Canada have been a source of concern in Ottawa. The Canadian government has confirmed that it has repeatedly summoned the Chinese ambassador to request an end to these activities. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized that the government will ensure that the nation’s citizens are not subject to foreign government interference or impacted in their daily lives. In October of this year, international human rights organization Safeguard Defenders released a report revealing that China has set up at least 54 “police stations” in 30 countries around the world, three of which are located in the Greater Toronto area of Canada. Since this information was made public, it has garnered significant attention. Weldon Epp, the director of the Northeast Asia department of Canada’s Global Affairs department, explained at a meeting of the Canada-China Relations Committee that Ottawa takes this matter very seriously. He stated, “We have had multiple contacts with the Chinese side, summoning the ambassador multiple times to express our deep concerns. The Canadian government has formally demanded that the Chinese government, including the ambassador and embassy, be held accountable for any activities within Canada that are not part of the Vienna Convention and ensure that these activities are stopped.” (https://swarajyamag.com/world/canada-summons-chinese-ambassador-repeatedly-telling-him-to-stop-the-operation-of-ccp-police-stations-on-canadian-soil) The Chinese embassy in Canada issued a statement saying that the purpose of the service stations is to provide free services such as vision and hearing exams, as well as physical examinations, to Chinese citizens living abroad. This is meant to make it easier for them to replace driver’s licenses and other documents. According to the Vienna Convention, consular and administrative services should be provided by embassies and consulates.

Newsline: U.S. diplomats “actively engaged” with Russians on prisoner swap

U.S. diplomats are “actively engaged” with their Russian counterparts to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan, possibly in a prisoner swap. “We have to see if the engagements that we’ve had, the discussions that we have, produced an actual result. That’s the most important thing, but we are not resting on the laurels of having put forward a proposal some months ago. We’ve been actively engaged over these many months to try to move things forward,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday, Dec. 4, on CBS News’ Face the Nation. (https://www.bet.com/article/muluo5/top-us-diplomat-says-administration-actively-engaged-prisoner-swap-brittney-griner) A Russian diplomat said in November that the two sides could reach a prisoner swap agreement this year that could bring home Griner and Whelan, a former U.S. Marine detained in Russia since 2018 on alleged espionage charges.