Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 25, 2023

Newsline: Kenyan court convicts Venezuelan diplomat for envoy’s murder

A Kenyan court on Wednesday found a Venezuelan diplomat guilty of murdering the Latin American nation’s acting ambassador a decade ago at her home in an upmarket Nairobi neighbourhood. Dwight Sagaray, who was the first secretary at the embassy, was found guilty of the May 2012 killing of Olga Fonseca, Judge Roselyn Korir said in her ruling. Sagaray could be tried for the murder because he did not enjoy diplomatic immunity after Venezuela waived it following the crime, the court ruled. Sagaray will be sentenced at a later date, the judge said. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/kenyan-court-convicts-venezuelan-diplomat-envoys-murder-2023-01-25/) Fonseca was found strangled in her bedroom less than two weeks into her posting to Nairobi, which followed the abrupt departure of the previous ambassador after he was accused by his domestic staff of sexual harassment. Sagaray, who had been heading the mission before the arrival of Fonseca, was angered by her presence since he wanted to continue overseeing the embassy, the court found.

Newsline: Suspect arrested in Spain in 2022 embassies letter-bomb case

Spanish police on Wednesday arrested a 74-year-old man suspected of sending letter-bombs in November and December to the Ukrainian and U.S. embassies, the Prime Minister’s office and an arms manufacturer in Spain, the Interior Ministry said. The man, a Spanish citizen, was detained in the northern town of Miranda del Ebro, and police conducted searches of his home, the ministry said in a statement, without providing further details. The man used to work for the townhall of Vitoria, a large city nearby, before retiring in 2013, a city spokesperson told Reuters. The investigation is still ongoing, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters from Vitoria. “We are working on all possibilities,” Grande-Marlaska said. “The investigation is very advanced and we can really be very satisfied.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/spanish-police-arrest-man-suspected-2022-letter-bomb-case-2023-01-25/) A total of six parcels with explosives were sent to targets including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, government offices, a European Union satellite agency and the U.S. Embassy between Nov. 24 and Dec. 2. Most were defused, although an employee at the Ukrainian embassy was slightly injured when one of the devices ignited.

Newsline: Incoming U.S. ambassador to Moscow met Russian envoy in Washington

The incoming U.S. ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy has held a meeting on Tuesday with Moscow’s top envoy in Washington DC Anatoly Antonov, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. Tracy, a veteran U.S. career diplomat, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December. She will depart for Russia in coming days and should be in place later this month, Price said. He declined to detail what the two envoys have discussed but said they did not talk about “any form of negotiated settlements” over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “She’s currently in the process of having consultations with desks and individuals here in Washington and in this case, she had an opportunity to have a discussion with Ambassador Antonov,” Price said. “We have been clear about our desire to maintain open channels of communication with Russia. We have an embassy in Moscow, it’s under duress because of the pressure and the limitations that the Kremlin has imposed on it,” he said. (https://neuters.de/world/us/incoming-us-envoy-moscow-met-russian-counterpart-washington-state-dept-says-2023-01-24/) Tracy, who served as a U.S. diplomat in Central Asia and was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Moscow between 2014-2017, heads to Moscow at a time when the bilateral relationship between the two countries have plunged to depths not seen since the Cold War. As bilateral ties have deteriorated, Washington and Moscow has also been in a dispute over staffing of their embassies in each other’s capital, each criticizing the other for imposing restrictions.

Newsline: India invites Pakistan’s top diplomat to meet in May

India has invited Pakistan’s foreign minister to a meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) that it is hosting in May, Indian media reported on Wednesday. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/india-invites-pakistans-foreign-minister-may-meeting-media-reports-2023-01-25/) The invitation came days after Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif called for talks with India over all outstanding issues, including the disputed Kashmir region. Just a month ago, there were street protests in India over comments Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of United Nations Security Council meeting. India called Zardari’s comments “uncivilised”. Foreign ministry spokespersons for the two countries did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment on the media reports that Zardari had been invited to the SCO foreign ministers meeting being hosted in Goa. The SCO comprises China, India, Russia, Pakistan and four Central Asian states.