Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for February 6, 2023

Newsline: China lodges protest to US embassy over shooting down of balloon

Representing the Chinese government, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng lodged a solemn representation to the US Embassy in China over the US’ attacking a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by force. Xie stressed the unintentional entry of Chinese civilian airship to the US airspace was an unexpected accident caused by force majeure. However, the US, regardless of the facts, abused military force and shot down the civilian airship that was about to exit US airspace, representing an overreaction and severely violating the spirit of international law and norms, Xie said. What the US did severely impacted and endangered the efforts and process for the two sides to stabilize bilateral relations. China is firmly opposed to and strongly protested US’ actions. China urged the US not to take further moves that violate China’s interests, or to escalate the fraught situation, Xie said. (https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202302/1284899.shtml) The Chinese government is closely watching developments, and will firmly defend justified interests of Chinese companies and safeguard China’s interests and dignity. China reserves the right to take further necessary action, the Xie added.

Newsline: Russian envoy denies plans to close embassy in Afghanistan

Zamir Kabulov, director of the Second Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Minister, said Russia has no intentions to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul, TASS reported. “Such thoughts have not even occurred,” Kabulov said when asked whether Russia had such plans. (https://www.khaama.com/russia-has-no-plans-to-close-its-embassy-in-afghanistan-says-envoy/) The Al-Arabiya TV channel stated that several governments have opted to close their embassies in Kabul due to security concerns. According to the foreign ministry of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Kabul was closed on February 2 due to the security threats of possible attacks on the diplomatic mission by ISIS. Based on the confirmed source from the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry, ISIS was preparing to use a car bomb to strike the Saudi diplomatic mission in Kabul. As a result, they closed the embassy in Kabul and evacuated the staff to Islamabad.

Newsline: Israel’s Ambassador robbed on the streets of Lusaka

Israel’s ambassador to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana was mugged on a street in Lusaka last week, with the robbers getting away with her diplomatic passport, her cellphone, and some cash that was in her bag. Ambassador Ofra Farhi was crossing a street in Lusaka on Friday when she was mugged, according to Ynet, as cited by The Times of Israel. (https://mbaretimes.com/2023/02/israels-ambassador/) A car pulled up alongside her and the occupants grabbed her bag and dragged her resulting in her sustaining some minor injuries. Farhi’s bodyguards, who were with her at the time, did not manage to prevent the crime. She was treated at a local clinic and continued on to her scheduled meetings with local officials. Zambian Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo and a presidential adviser both called Farhi to offer their support. Farhi is a roving ambassador who lives in Israel and makes diplomatic visits to the countries she serves.

Newsline: Saudi embassy in Turkey says no reports of Saudi victims after quake

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey said it has not received reports confirming the death of Saudi citizens in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. The embassy said it was working with the Turkish authorities to confirm whether any Saudi citizens have died in the earthquake that hit the nation early on Monday. (https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/02/06/Saudi-Arabia-s-embassy-in-Turkey-says-no-reports-of-Saudi-deaths-yet-after-quake) The quake – which was felt in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, and several other neighboring countries – has killed hundreds of people in southeast Turkey and northern Syria. A total of at least 640 people have died in both Syria and Turkey, according to authorities. The death toll is expected to keep rising as rescue teams continue to dig under the rubble of collapsed buildings across several Turkish and Syrian provinces.