Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 16, 2022

Newsline: UK hopes Lebanon ruling brings closure after diplomat’s murder

Britain said on Friday it hoped a ruling by a Lebanese court to uphold the conviction of an Uber driver for the 2017 rape and murder of a British diplomat in Lebanon would bring closure for her family. The British embassy said in a statement that Lebanon’s court of cassation rejected an appeal by Tariq Houshieh against his conviction which followed his confession to raping and strangling 30-year-old Rebecca Dykes. He was sentenced to death in 2019, although Lebanon has an unofficial moratorium and has not carried out any executions since 2004, Human Rights Watch says. “We hope this verdict will bring some closure for Becky’s family, for the many around the world who loved Becky, and for all those whose lives she touched through her humanitarian work in Lebanon and elsewhere,” the embassy said after the ruling. (https://neuters.de/world/britain-hopes-lebanon-ruling-brings-closure-after-womans-murder-2022-12-16/) Dykes worked at the embassy in Lebanon for Britain’s Department for International Development.

Newsline: South Korea’s foreign ministry lashes out at Japan’s island claim

South Korea issued a strong protest against Japan’s territorial claim over disputed islands made in a national security strategy released on Friday while cautiously responding to Tokyo’s plans for an unprecedented military buildup. South Korea’s foreign ministry on Friday demanded an immediate removal of the territorial claims from Japan’s national strategy documents, saying in a statement that the move did nothing to help “building a future-oriented relationship” between the two countries. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/south-korea-protests-japans-island-claim-national-security-strategy-2022-12-16/) The foreign ministry later said it summoned a senior diplomat from Japan’s embassy in Seoul to lodge the protest. The islands known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan are controlled by Seoul with a small contingent of coast guards. In a separate statement, the foreign ministry said it hoped the implementation of Japan’s new security policy will be transparent and contribute to regional peace and stability while continuing to uphold the spirit of is pacifist constitution.

Newsline: India’s Modi tells Putin diplomacy only way forward in Ukraine

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy as being the only way forward in the context of ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Reuters partner ANI said on Friday, citing the Prime Minister’s office. (https://neuters.de/world/indias-modi-tells-putin-dialogue-diplomacy-only-way-forward-ukraine-conflict-ani-2022-12-16/) Putin spoke by phone on Friday with Modi, the Kremlin said.

Newsline: Turkey eyes trilateral diplomacy with Russia, Syria

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying he proposed to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin forming a trilateral mechanism with Russia and Syria to accelerate diplomacy between Ankara and Damascus. “First our intelligence agencies, then defence ministers, and then foreign ministers (of the three countries) could meet. After their meetings we as the leaders may come together. I offered it to Mr Putin and he has a positive view on it,” Erdogan was cited as saying. (https://neuters.de/world/turkey-seeks-trilateral-mechanism-with-russia-syria-erdogan-2022-12-15/) Broadcaster Haberturk cited Erdogan as telling reporters after a trip to Turkmenistan that he offered to Putin initiating a series of meetings between Turkey, Russia and Syria to revisit long-strained relations with Damascus.

Newsline: Afghan Taliban, Myanmar ambassadors not allowed into United Nations

A decision on whether the Afghan Taliban administration and the Myanmar junta can send a United Nations ambassador to New York has been postponed for a second time, but could be reconsidered in the next nine months, according to a U.N. credentials committee report. (https://neuters.de/world/afghan-taliban-administration-myanmar-junta-not-allowed-into-united-nations-now-2022-12-15/) The 193-member U.N. General Assembly is on Friday due to approve the report, which also deferred a decision on rival claims to Libya’s U.N. seat. The nine-member U.N. credentials committee includes Russia, China and the United States. The deferment of the decisions leaves the current envoys in the seats for their countries, diplomats said. Competing claims were again made for the seats of Myanmar and Afghanistan with the Taliban administration and Myanmar’s junta pitted against envoys of the governments they ousted last year. U.N. acceptance of the Taliban administration or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both. The U.N. General Assembly last year backed postponing a decision on the credentials of Myanmar and Afghanistan.