Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 13, 2023

Newsline: Iran top diplomat eyes restoration of Saudi Arabia ties

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed hope during a visit to Lebanon Friday that diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh could be restored through dialogue between the two regional arch-rivals. Amir-Abdollahian told a news conference in Beirut “we are ready to restore ties,” and such a move “would have positive repercussions on the entire region.” (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-top-diplomat-hopes-restoration-150208109.html) He also hailed a potential rapprochement between Iranian ally Syria and Turkey, after their defence ministers met last month. Amir-Abdollahian said the first steps should be resuming talks on reopening Iran’s consulate in Jeddah and Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Mashhad for citizens interested in religious travel. Iran and Saudi Arabia back opposing sides in various conflicts in the region, including in Syria. Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January 2016, after protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in second city Mashhad following Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in UK ‘firmly opposed’ to Britain’s Hong Kong report

China’s embassy in Britain said on Thursday it had lodged “stern representations” about the UK’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong, which criticised what it called the erosion of freedoms in the former British territory by China. “It distorted facts, grossly interfered in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, and seriously violated the basic norms governing international relations,” an embassy spokesperson said of the report. “We are strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to it, and have lodged stern representations with the British side.” (https://neuters.de/world/chinese-embassy-uk-firmly-opposed-britains-hong-kong-report-2023-01-12/) China has in the past responded to similar criticism by accusing Britain of acting with a colonial mindset.

Newsline: UK top diplomat criticises erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong

Britain criticised what it said was the systematic erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong by the Chinese government and a crackdown on free speech by authorities in the former British colony. The criticism, contained in the government’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong, accused China of diminishing the way of life promised to the people of Hong Kong and repeated its view that Beijing had broken the terms of its 1997 handover. “Freedoms are being systematically eroded by Beijing on multiple fronts, tightening the restrictions on the lives of ordinary Hong Kongers,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in the foreword of the report, which covered the first half of 2022. (https://neuters.de/world/china/britain-criticises-erosion-freedoms-hong-kong-2023-01-12/) Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule more than 25 years ago with a deal guaranteeing a high degree of autonomy, including freedom of speech, under a “one country, two systems” formula.