Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 30, 2023

Newsline: New U.S. ambassador to Moscow heckled by crowd

The United States’ new ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was heckled by a crowd of people chanting anti-U.S. slogans on Monday as she entered the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow to present her diplomatic credentials. The group held hand-painted placards carrying messages criticising Washington, one of which read “Your tanks are killing civilians”. Protests in Russia – particularly on issues related to the war – are banned unless they have the backing of the authorities. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Tracy he expected her to follow the principle of not interfering in Russia’s internal affairs, the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported. The U.S. Embassy said: “Ambassador Tracy is focused on maintaining dialogue between our capitals at a time of unprecedented tension, protecting the interests of U.S. citizens detained in Russia, and supporting ties between the American and Russian peoples.” (https://neuters.de/world/new-us-ambassador-russia-heckled-by-pro-kremlin-protesters-2023-01-30/) Relations between Washington and Moscow are near all-time lows. The United States has responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with weaponry – soon to include main battle tanks – and imposing a swathe of new economic sanctions on Russia, all in concert with Western allies.

Newsline: U.S. embassy warns of possible terrorist attacks in Turkey

The U.S. embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Koran-burning incidents in Europe. In an updated security alert, the U.S. embassy said “possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists” could take place in areas frequented by Westerners, especially the city’s Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal neighbourhoods. Turkish authorities are investigating the matter, it added. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/us-issues-another-warning-possible-terrorist-attacks-turkey-2023-01-30/) On Friday, several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Japan resumes visa issuance

A day after Chinese embassy in Japan said it had resumed the issuance of of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens travelling to the country, Tokyo pledged to continue monitoring COVID situation in China. Japan will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in China and deal “flexibly” with border control measures, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japan-will-continue-monitor-covid-situation-china-govt-says-2023-01-30/) China had stopped issuing visas for Japanese nationals earlier this month after Japan toughened COVID-19 border control rules for travellers coming directly from China.