Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for December 29, 2022

Newsline: Some U.S. Ambassador Posts Remain Unfilled

President Biden is set to enter the third year of his presidency with more than two dozen ambassador slots unfilled, including vacancies in the strategically important countries of India and Saudi Arabia, despite a late surge of confirmations this past month. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-picks-for-some-ambassador-posts-remain-stalled-11672242409) The White House is on track to have more top foreign representatives in place than former President Donald Trump did at this point in his term, but fewer than former presidents George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Leaving posts open could reduce U.S. influence and make it more difficult for the president to put his stamp on foreign policy, at a moment when countries increasingly feel pressure to pick sides in the intensifying rivalry between the U.S. and China.

Newsline: Bulgaria summons Russia’s ambassador

Bulgaria protested to Russia on Thursday for putting Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev on a wanted list, with its prime minister criticising the move as an intimidatory tactic designed to muzzle free speech. The foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, to deliver the protest. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/bulgaria-summons-russian-envoy-over-bellingcat-journalist-grozev-2022-12-29/) Grozev, chief investigator on Russia for the Bellingcat news outlet, is “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code,” according to information published on Russia’s interior ministry website this week. Interim PM Galab Donev said Bulgaria would demand full information from Russia on why Grozev had been put on the list. “This act is unacceptable. It represents an attack on freedom of speech and an attempt to intimidate a Bulgarian citizen,” Donev told reporters. Grozev has angered Moscow with investigations into the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and the downing of the MH17 passenger plane over eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied responsibility for any of those attacks.

Newsline: Italy summons Iran’s new ambassador

Italy’s foreign minister has summoned Iran’s new ambassador to Rome to express his country’s concerns over the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on anti-government protests that have been under way for more than three months. Conveying Italy’s “indignation and worry” over the crackdown, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said he hopes that Iran will respond “positively to Italy’s request”. The deadly crackdown, he said “has nothing to do with protecting the national security of the country”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/28/italy-summons-irans-envoy-to-rome-over-crackdown-on-protesters) Tajani added that the Iranian ambassador, Mohammad Reza Saburi, who took up his post on Wednesday, agreed to convey Italy’s requests.