Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for February 1, 2023

Newsline: U.S. diplomat says China has not done enough on Sri Lanka debt

The United States wants China to provide credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) along with other creditors to help Sri Lanka unlock a $2.9 billion bailout, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday. “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief,” U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told reporters. “We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.” “We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves, that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland added. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/china-has-not-done-enough-sri-lanka-debt-restructuring-us-diplomat-2023-02-01/) Sri Lanka, an island of 22 million people, is caught in its worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, with soaring inflation, a recession and currency depreciation over the last year. Sri Lanka entered into a staff level agreement with the global lender last September but needs financing assurances from key bilateral lenders China and Japan before disbursements can begin. The Export-Import Bank of China has offered Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on its debt and said it would support the country’s efforts to secure an IMF program. India, the third significant lender, dispatched its financing assurances to the IMF last month.

Newsline: U.S. embassy refrains from comment after woman walking calf on Red Square was detained

The U.S. embassy did not immediately comment after a U.S. woman was detained and fined by a Russian court on Wednesday for walking a calf on Moscow’s Red Square that she said she had bought to save from slaughter, Russian state media reported. Alicia Day, 34, was fined 20,000 roubles ($285) for obstructing pedestrians in an unauthorised protest and sentenced to 13 days of “administrative arrest” on a separate charge of disobeying police orders. Video shared by state media showed Day explaining that she had got a driver to bring the calf to Red Square by car. “I wanted to show it a beautiful place in our beautiful country,” she said. Day had been living in a suburb of Moscow on a tourist visa, the RIA news agency said, and had carried out similar acts of protest before in other countries.

Newsline: U.S. top diplomat shuttles for two-state solution

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttled from Israel to the Palestinians’ West Bank, appealing for an end to resurgent violence and reaffirming Washington’s backing for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict. Blinken is urging calm on both sides after last week’s killing by a Palestinian gunman of seven people outside a Jerusalem synagogue and anger among Palestinians over actions by Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank. “That’s the only way that we can create conditions in which people’s sense of security will start to improve,” he told a news conference in Jerusalem. He took that message into a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, warning all parties against any action that could threaten a two-state solution, with an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. “We’ve been clear that this includes things like settlement expansion, the legalization of outposts, demolitions and evictions, disruptions to the historic status of the holy sites, and of course incitement and acquiescence to violence.” (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/blinken-takes-support-two-state-solution-disillusioned-palestinians-2023-01-31/) He said he had heard “deep concern” about the current trajectory in both Israel and the West Bank but also constructive ideas and he had asked senior officials to remain behind to continue talking. A senior State Department official said the officials staying would be Barbara Leaf, the top department official for the Middle East, and Hady Amr, U.S. special representative for Palestinian affairs.