Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 7, 2023

Newsline: Turkey summons U.S. ambassador

Turkey on Monday summoned U.S. envoy Jeff Flake to convey its discomfort about a top U.S. general visiting northeast Syria over the weekend, a foreign ministry source said. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said later on Monday that Flake went to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for meetings and discussions. (https://neuters.de/world/turkey-summons-us-envoy-over-top-generals-syria-visit-2023-03-06/) Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unannounced visit on March 4 to review a nearly eight-year-old U.S. mission to an area controlled by the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Price told reporters it was the State Department’s understanding that Milley met only with U.S. troops while in Syria and referred to the Department of Defense for details.

Newsline: China’s top diplomat warns U.S.

The United States should change its “distorted” attitude towards China or “conflict and confrontation” will follow, China’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. The U.S. had been engaging in suppression and containment of China rather than engaging in fair, rule-based competition, Foreign Minister Qin Gang told a news conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting in Beijing. “The United States’ perception and views of China are seriously distorted,” Qin said. “It regards China as its primary rival and the most consequential geopolitical challenge. This is like the first button in the shirt being put wrong.” (https://neuters.de/world/china/china-says-if-us-does-not-change-path-towards-it-there-will-surely-be-conflict-2023-03-07/) The U.S. says it is establishing guardrails for relations and is not seeking conflict but Qin said what that meant in practice was that China was not supposed to respond with words or action when slandered or attacked. “That is just impossible,” Qin told his first news conference since becoming foreign minister in December. Relations between the two superpowers have been tense for years over a number of issues including Taiwan, trade and more recently the war in Ukraine but they worsened last month after the United States shot down a balloon off the U.S. east coast that it says was a Chinese spying craft.

Newsline: EU revises climate diplomacy deal

European Union countries intend to push for a global phasing out of fossil fuels among their climate diplomacy priorities this year, which the bloc hopes to approve this week after rewriting a contentious section on nuclear energy. The draft text aims to set out the EU’s diplomatic priorities ahead of this year’s U.N. climate summit, where nearly 200 countries will negotiate joint efforts to curb climate change. A draft seen by Reuters said the EU would back a global shift away from fossil fuels. “The shift towards a climate neutral economy will require the global phase-out of unabated fossil fuels,” the draft said. “The EU will systematically promote and call for a global move towards energy systems free of unabated fossil fuels well ahead of 2050.” (https://neuters.de/business/environment/eu-rewrites-climate-diplomacy-deal-resolve-nuclear-sticking-point-2023-03-06/) Some countries are hoping this year’s COP28 summit could clinch a deal on phasing out the use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels – not only coal, as agreed at previous U.N. climate talks, but also oil and gas. A proposal by India to do this gained some support at last year’s U.N. climate summit but was opposed by Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas-rich nations. Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands had pushed for the fossil fuel exit in the EU text, EU diplomats said. Diplomats from EU countries will attempt to finalise the text on March 8, which ministers must then approve formally.