Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 22, 2023

Newsline: Top diplomats did not attend Arab League meeting in Libya

A handful of top Arab diplomats met Sunday in the Libyan capital in a gathering boycotted by powerful foreign ministers who argued that the mandate of the Tripoli-based government has ended. Five of the 22 member states of the Arab League sent their foreign ministers to the periodic, consultative meeting. They included the chief diplomats of neighboring Algeria and Tunisia, local media reported. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Chief-diplomats-boycott-Libya-hosted-Arab-League-17734016.php) Others sent their envoys to the meeting in Tripoli. Among those boycotting the gathering was Egypt, which questioned the legitimacy of Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah’s government after Libya’s east-based parliament appointed a rival premier last year. The foreign ministers of Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also did not attend, as well as Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. Najla Mangoush, the foreign minister of Libya’s Tripoli-based administration, said in televised comments they “insist on full exercise of Libya’s rights” in the Arab League, in reference to the rotating leadership of the pan-Arab organization. In September, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry withdrew from an Arab League session chaired by Mangoush, protesting her representing Libya at the pan-Arab summit.

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat vows ‘reciprocal’ response to EU

Iran on Sunday warned the European Union it would take “reciprocal” measures after the European Parliament voted to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. “The parliament is working to place elements of European countries’ armies on the terrorist list” of the Islamic republic, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter. “The European Parliament shot itself in the foot,” Iran’s top diplomat said, adding that the response would be “reciprocal”. Later asked if Iran would consider withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or expel United Nations nuclear inspectors, Amir-Abdollahian said all options were on the table. If European diplomats “who have no experience in diplomacy… do not correct their positions, every possibility is conceivable”, he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-vows-reciprocal-response-eu-124333692.html) Amir-Abdollahian and Guards chief Major General Hossein Salami attended a closed-door parliament session on Sunday morning to discuss the European Parliament’s move. Members of the European Parliament voted on Wednesday to include the Guards on the 27-nation bloc’s terror list in “light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia”. The vote is non-binding but comes with EU foreign ministers already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Iran next week.

Newsline: US eyes China’s diplomatic engagement

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet in Beijing with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, on Feb. 5-6, Washington-based diplomats familiar with Blinken’s travel plans told POLITICO. (https://news.yahoo.com/blinken-test-limits-china-diplomatic-210330153.html) Blinken’s much-anticipated China trip is a follow-up to President Joe Biden’s meeting with China’s paramount leader, Xi Jinping, in Indonesia in November at which Biden pledged to “maintain open lines of communication” with Beijing at a time of worsening bilateral tensions. The visit is a test of whether the Biden-Xi meeting has paved the way for more productive U.S.-China ties at a time when the relationship has become increasingly rancorous over issues ranging from Taiwan and trade policy to U.S. concerns about Beijing’s human rights record.