Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 22, 2023

Newsline: Jordan parliament recommends expulsion of Israeli ambassador

The parliament of Jordan has voted to recommend the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Amman from the country in protest against the behaviour of a minister in Israel’s far-right government, who stirred controversy earlier this week after he denied the existence of the Palestinian people. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/22/jordan-parliament-votes-to-recommend-expelling-israeli-ambassador) During the legislative session, House of Representatives Speaker Ahmed al-Safadi called on the government to take action in response to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. The incident led to an angry backlash and the Israeli ambassador in Amman was summoned by the Jordanian foreign ministry to register its objections. The governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also issued statements condemning Smotrich’s words and actions.

Newsline: Israeli and Polish top diplomats meet to restore ties

The Israeli and Polish foreign ministers met Wednesday in a step that they hailed as a breakthrough in restoring a relationship that has been badly damaged due to bickering over Holocaust memory over the past five years. “I came here to restore the relationship between our countries, and I found in you, my distinguished colleague, a trusted partner,” Cohen said at a news conference alongside Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, whom he referred to more than once as his friend. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/22/poland-israel-cohen-warsaw-ghetto-anniversary-holocaust/b7421826-c8b5-11ed-9cc5-a58a4f6d84cd_story.html) The ministers signed an agreement that they say will allow for the resumption of Israeli youth trips to Poland, one of several points of contention that have led to bitter feelings between the two countries. The visit by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is the first at that level since 2018, and Poland’s Foreign Ministry says it will be followed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog attending observances next month for the 80th anniversary of the World War II Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Newsline: China protests Germany’s ‘vile’ Taiwan visit

Beijing expressed its anger at a visit by Germany’s education minister to Taiwan, describing it as “vile”, while a source at Berlin’s foreign office responded by saying the trip did not deviate from Germany’s “one China” policy. Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, also of the FDP, said at the signing of a technology cooperation agreement with Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council Minister Wu Tsung-tsong that it was “extremely important to my ministry and I to promote cooperation with like-minded partners”. “This arrangement stands for enhancing cooperation on the basis of the democratic values transparency, openness, reciprocity and scientific freedom, to only name a few,” she said in Taipei on Tuesday. In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said it had filed a strong protest with Germany about her “vile conduct”. Germany should “immediately stop associating and interacting with Taiwan independence separatist forces, immediately stop sending wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces, and immediately stop using the Taiwan issue to interfere in China’s internal affairs”, Wang told a daily news briefing. A source at the German foreign office said Berlin had taken note of the Chinese response but that Stark-Watzinger’s trip was in line with its “one China” policy, which acknowledges that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. (https://neuters.de/world/german-minister-says-honoured-be-esteemed-partner-taiwan-2023-03-21/) Germany, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, though it does maintain a de facto embassy in Taipei.