Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 22, 2022

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat meets with Saudi counterpart

Iran’s foreign minister said that he has met with his Saudi counterpart on the sidelines of a conference hosted in Jordan. This marks the first high-profile meeting between officials of the two countries since cutting ties in 2016. Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that he spoke with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud among other foreign ministers that he had the opportunity to hold “friendly talks” on the sidelines of the Jordan conference. Amirabdollahian said that Prince Faisal told him of the kingdom’s willingness to continue dialogue with Iran. In other comments by Amirabdollahian, reported by Iran’s IRNA news outlet, the top Iranian diplomat said: “We are interested in resuming talks with Saudi Arabia and they also wanted it.” (https://www.econotimes.com/Iran-FM-meets-with-Saudi-counterpart-at-Jordan-conference-1647732) The meeting between Amirabdollahian and Prince Faisal marks the highest-profile meeting between officials from rivaling countries since cutting ties in 2016. Both countries have been on opposing sides in regional conflicts such as in Syria and Yemen.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Manila says Bejing abides by consensus after Philippines orders strengthened military presence near disputed islands

The Chinese embassy in Manila reiterated that China strictly abides by a consensus reached among claimants that included not developing uninhabited reefs and islands. Asked to respond to the defence ministry’s statement, it said both countries would “properly handle maritime issues through friendly consultations.” (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/philippines-orders-strengthened-military-presence-after-chinese-activities-near-2022-12-22/) The Philippines’ defence ministry on Thursday ordered the military to strengthen its presence in the South China Sea after monitoring “Chinese activities” in disputed waters close to a strategic Philippine-held island. The ministry did not specify what activities those were and its statement follows a report this week of Chinese construction on four uninhabited features in the disputed Spratly islands, news that Beijing has dismissed as “unfounded”. Any encroachment or reclamation on features within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone “is a threat to the security of Pagasa island, which is part of Philippine sovereign territory,” the ministry said in a statement, using the Filipino name for Thitu island. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which billions of dollars worth of goods pass each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to various islands and features.

Newsline: U.S. Senate confirms new ambassador to Russia

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Lynne Tracy as President Joe Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to Russia, hours before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was to give a rare wartime address to a joint meeting of Congress. Tracy, a career diplomat and current ambassador to Armenia, will be the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia. It was not immediately clear when she will assume the post, because Russia must agree to accept her. “The United States needs an ambassador to represent us in Moscow,” said Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noting that it was the 300th day of the Russian war on Ukraine as he urged support for Tracy. (https://neuters.de/world/us/ahead-zelenskiy-address-us-senate-backs-new-ambassador-russia-2022-12-21/) Tracy was confirmed by an overwhelming 93-2. The two no votes came from Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee.