Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 28, 2022

Newsline: Spain appoints new ambassador to Venezuela amid improving relations

The Spanish government has appointed a new ambassador to Venezuela, signalling a thaw in relations that comes two years after Madrid vacated the post to protest over what it said was the absence of free elections in the Caribbean country. The new ambassador is Ramon Santos Martinez, who has been the acting head of the diplomatic mission in Caracas since November 2021. “There are new circumstances that make it advisable to raise Spain’s representation in Venezuela to the level of ambassador,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday. “Once the negotiations in Mexico have resumed, Spain intends to be able to influence … the opening of the Venezuelan political process,” the spokesperson said. (https://news.yahoo.com/spain-appoints-ambassador-venezuela-amid-114556417.html) Following the 2018 presidential election, Spain recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and distanced itself from the government of Nicolas Maduro, culminating in the recall of its top envoy to Caracas in November 2020. The new appointment heralds a change in that stance within the context of the ongoing political talks in Mexico between Venezuela’s government and opposition groups.

Newsline: US Special Envoys to Get Less Special

State Department special envoys are about to get less special. President Joe Biden’s administration is rushing to fill posts for special envoys and representatives ahead of a Jan. 3 deadline after which most such candidates will be required to get Senate confirmation. That rule, passed quietly in 2021, closes a loophole that let successive administrations circumvent the lengthy wait time that has plagued ambassadorial nominees. The loophole had resulted in a proliferation of the envoy jobs, and Congress had grown increasingly frustrated that the administration was relying on special envoys to do work that lawmakers argued should fall under their oversight. (https://news.yahoo.com/biden-special-envoys-less-special-120000681.html) Eager to beat the deadline, the Biden administration has announced several new envoys in recent weeks, including former Representative Abby Finkenauer for global youth issues, former Representative Joseph Kennedy III as an economic envoy to Northern Ireland, and Johnnie Carson, a veteran diplomat, to implement the goals of the US-Africa Leaders Summit.

Newsline: Indian bids for Pakistani Embassy building in US

An Indian is one of the bidders vying for a building that once housed the defence section of Pakistan’s embassy in Washington DC. The Indian realtor placed a bid of about $5 million, as per a report in the Pakistani news outlet The Dawn. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/indian-bids-for-dilapidated-pakistani-embassy-building-in-us-reports/ar-AA15HRe2) Pakistani embassy officials earlier noted that one of Pakistan’s three diplomatic properties in Washington, which is located on R Street NW, will be sold. The said building housed the embassy’s defence section from the 1950s to the early 2000s. However, neither the new nor old embassies were being sold, the Pakistani officials noted.