Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 7, 2022

Newsline: EU diplomats work on Kosovo-Serbia normalisation

The European Union has drafted a new proposal for normalisation of ties between Kosovo and Serbia with a clear timeline of actions, according to a senior EU diplomat, speaking on the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans summit. The draft proposal was sent to both parties on Monday, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They added that they expected the two parties would reach a final agreement in less than a year. “There are a lot of things that make it a big step forward with respect to the current situation…. It’s not full recognition …but it is a full normalisation of relations,” the diplomat said. “After listening to both parties, we redrafted the proposal,” the diplomat said. The proposal contains an annex “with a clear calendar of actions – when and how things have to happen,” they said. The diplomat urged Pristina and Belgrade “to continue in their constructive engagement, and focus on making irreversible progress in normalisation.” (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/kosovo-to-apply-for-eu-membership-by-yearend–president-2848538) Belgrade and Pristina committed in 2013 to an EU-sponsored dialogue to resolve outstanding issues, but little progress has been made. Agreement with Kosovo remains one of the main pre-conditions for Serbia joining the EU.

Newsline: Chinese secret police stations prompt call for consulate closures

Countries should shut down Chinese consulates until the communist regime closes its network of illegal policing operations, a former deputy national security adviser said after nearly 50 additional stations were reportedly found. Safeguard Defenders, a pan-Asian human rights organization, published an investigation Monday, called “Patrol and Persuade,” reporting that another 48 Chinese police service stations were operating abroad in addition to the 54 the group had identified in September. The reported locations span 53 countries, including four U.S.-based stations: two in New York City, one in Los Angeles and one set up by the Nantong Public Security Bureau in an undisclosed location. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/shut-them-down-chinese-secret-police-stations-reportedly-found-prompting-call-consulate-closures) Since the campaign’s launch in April 2021, 230,000 Chinese nationals have been “persuaded to return” home to face prosecution for alleged crimes, according to the Ministry of Public Security in China. China’s Foreign Ministry has denied that it’s running undeclared police forces and said the locations provide services to its citizens living abroad, like renewing IDs and driver’s licenses. However, the newly reported stations were set up as early as 2016, according to Safeguard Defenders’ investigation, disputing China’s statements that the operations were started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsline: U.S. diplomat’s wife will not return to UK for sentencing over fatal car crash

Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, will not return to Britain for sentencing this week after admitting causing the death of a teenager by driving carelessly in England three years ago, a British court has said. Harry Dunn, 19, died in August 2019 after his motorcycle was hit by a car driven on the wrong side of the road by Sacoolas near RAF Croughton, an air force base in the English county of Northamptonshire that is used by the U.S. military. Sacoolas, whose husband worked as a U.S. intelligence officer at the base, left Britain shortly after the accident, claiming diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution and the United States refused to extradite her. In October, appearing at London’s Old Bailey court by videolink from the United States, Sacoolas denied causing death by dangerous driving but admitted the less serious charge. The judge had previously directed that she attend the sentencing, due to take place on Thursday, in person. The Old Bailey said in a statement on Tuesday that an application for Sacoolas to take part and be sentenced via videolink had been renewed. “The defence have supplied material in support of the application including evidence that Mrs Sacoolas’ government employer has advised her not to attend in person. The judge has granted the application,” the statement said. Radd Seiger, a spokesperson for Dunn’s family, said they were “horrified”. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-diplomats-wife-not-return-124851779.html) The crash led to a diplomatic spat between London and Washington, with the British government backing the call for Sacoolas to be prosecuted. The charge she admitted carries a maximum jail term of five years but guidelines suggest either a community order or a shorter prison sentence.