Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 19, 2023

Newsline: India top diplomat visits Sri Lanka

India’s foreign minister arrives in Colombo on Thursday following his country’s backing of Sri Lanka for a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. India has told global lender IMF that it strongly supports Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plan, with Colombo owing around $1 billion to its nearest neighbour. During his two-day visit, his third to Sri Lanka since 2021, minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will look to strengthen India’s ties with its debt-ridden neighbour and sign several key deals. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/india-foreign-minister-visits-sri-lanka-with-stronger-ties-china-focus-2023-01-19/) The two countries are also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a renewable power project covering three islands in Sri Lanka’s north during Jaishankar’s visit, two sources at Sri Lanka’s power and energy ministry said. Jaishankar will meet Sri Lanka’s president on Friday morning, his office confirmed. He will also hold discussions with Sri Lanka’s prime minister and foreign minister, according to a statement from India’s foreign ministry.

Newsline: South Korea, Iran summon each other’s ambassadors

Iran and South Korea summoned each other’s envoys in a deepening spat over comments by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol that described the Islamic republic as the enemy of the United Arab Emirates. Yoon, speaking to South Korean troops stationed in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, said South Korea and the UAE are under “very similar” circumstances, each facing North Korea and Iran as “the enemy, biggest threat.” Yoon’s office has said his comment was intended as words of encouragement for South Korean soldiers while the foreign ministry said on Thursday it had repeatedly offered explanations to Tehran. Unappeased, Tehran summoned South Korean ambassador Yun Kang-hyeon on Wednesday, warning that bilateral ties could be reviewed if the issue was not resolved, according to a report from Iran’s official IRNA news agency. Iran’s deputy foreign minister for legal affairs, Reza Najafi, told Yun that Iran has “deep-rooted and friendly relations” with most neighbours. He described Yoon’s comment as “interfering”, adding that Yoon was “undermining peace and stability in the region,” the report said. Hours later on Thursday, South Korea’s foreign ministry said its vice minister Cho Hyun-dong had called in Iran’s ambassador in Seoul, Saeed Badamchi Shabestari, to complain about Najafi’s remarks. The ministry said Najafi had made a “completely groundless” claim that Yoon had hinted at developing a nuclear weapon. (https://neuters.de/world/south-korea-envoy-iran-summoned-over-yoons-enemy-remarks-media-2023-01-19/) Relations between Seoul and Tehran had already been testy over frozen Iranian funds in South Korea and suspected arms dealings between Iran and North Korea.

Newsline: Canada summons Russian ambassador

Canada summoned Russia’s ambassador on Wednesday over an attack in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said. Officials summoned ambassador Oleg Stepanov to “make clear we do not accept the sheer brutality of Russia’s recent attacks against civilians in Dnipro,” Joly told reporters in Toronto. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/canada-summons-russian-ambassador-over-attacks-civilians-ukraine-2023-01-18/) Stepanov later said his discussions at the meeting focused on a “predictable line of overall Western propaganda” and that Moscow’s differences with Canada left little room for diplomacy.