Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 8, 2023

Newsline: Qatar’s top diplomat became new prime minister

Qatar’s top diplomat was sworn in as the country’s prime minister on Tuesday, replacing another member of the ruling family who had held the post since 2020, state news reported. The Qatar News Agency says Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was sworn in as the new head of government, without providing further details. (https://news.yahoo.com/qatars-top-diplomat-sworn-prime-095112734.html) Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, appoints the holders of top offices, usually from members of the ruling family. As in other Gulf Arab countries, politics is largely confined to the ruling family and developments are rarely aired in public. Sheikh Mohammed has served as foreign minister since 2016 and was the public face of Qatar as it navigated a 3 1/2-year economic boycott by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt that only came to an end in January 2021.

Newsline: U.S. State Department clinches $100 mln deal to monitor health of diplomats

Palantir Technologies Inc has won a contract to sell up to $99.6 million worth of software to the U.S. Department of State for monitoring the health of the diplomatic corps, the company told Reuters ahead of a Wednesday announcement. (https://neuters.de/technology/palantir-lands-996-mln-deal-with-us-state-department-2023-03-08/) The U.S. data analytics firm said the project – Axiom – would help the Bureau of Medical Services respond faster to any health crises faced by the embassy staff and their families. The bureau has sought software to record health incidents, predict risks, manage medical-evacuation missions and handle other tasks, according to a government document. The news reflects how Palantir is aiming to secure government deals beyond the military and intelligence work central to its business, even as analysts have said such opportunities are being delayed by the U.S. budget scrutiny.

Newsline: India, Australia eye top level diplomacy

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrives in India on Wednesday seeking to strengthen the new momentum in ties between the two countries through deeper trade, investment and defence relations. The three-day visit by Albanese, the first by an Australian prime minister since 2017, comes days ahead of a visit by Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, another member of the so-called Quad grouping that seeks to counter China’s growing domination in the Indo-Pacific region. Quad includes the United States and India besides Australia and Japan. Australia is due to host a Quad leaders summit in Sydney later this year. “​India and Australia share warm and friendly relations based on common values and democratic principles. The Strategic Partnership between the two countries was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in June 2020,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement ahead of the visit. Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Albanese said Australia wanted “greater diversity in who we trade with – and greater variety in what we trade, meaning our economy is more resilient and more secure”. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/india-australia-aim-boost-economic-defence-ties-first-summit-pms-2023-03-08/) The two countries signed last year a free trade agreement called the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), the first signed by India with a developed country in a decade.