Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South America

Newsline: Norwegian diplomats say Venezuela’s government and opposition to meet

The government of Venezuela and its opposition will resume over the weekend long-stalled negotiations meant to find a common path out of their country’s complex crisis, Norwegian diplomats announced. “We announce that the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Unitary Platform of Venezuela have decided to resume the dialogue and negotiation process in Mexico on November 26, facilitated by Norway,” the Norwegian Embassy in Mexico tweeted. “There the parties will sign a partial agreement on social matters.” (https://wtop.com/europe/2022/11/diplomats-venezuelas-government-opposition-to-meet/) The announcement of the upcoming discussions in Mexico City comes two weeks after delegates from both parties participated in a round table to address the Venezuelan crisis, promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron. The talks formally began in September 2021 in Mexico but were suspended the following month when President Nicolas Maduro ordered his delegation to withdraw in protest of the extradition to the United States of a close ally.

Newsline: Chilean President receives Israeli ambassador credentials after diplomatic dispute

Chilean President Gabriel Boric received the credentials of Israel’s new ambassador on Friday afternoon, two weeks after a diplomatic tussle as the ceremony was postponed due to the death of a young Palestinian. Israeli ambassador Gil Artzyeli had initially been scheduled to attend the ceremony on Sept. 15, but that same day it was postponed in a move Israel’s foreign ministry characterized as “unprecedented.” (https://news.yahoo.com/chiles-boric-receives-israeli-ambassador-195409433.html) Chile’s decision was in response to the death of a Palestinian teenager during a military operation in the occupied West Bank, the Chilean government said in a statement, adding that the ceremony had been rescheduled for Sept. 30.

Newsline: President of Chile refuses to accept Israeli ambassador’s credentials

The president of Chile sparked a diplomatic row with Israel Thursday, after he snubbed Israel’s new ambassador to Chile. On Thursday, Israel’s new ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzeyli, was scheduled to meet with President Gabriel Boric and to present his credentials and formally replace Marina Rosenberg as ambassador. The ceremony – typically a formality – made international news, however, when Artzeyli was rebuffed at the last minute. Walla reported that Artzeyli had already arrived at the presidential residence when he was refused entry. According to a report by Israel’s Yediot Aharanot, Artzeyli was told that the meeting was cancelled after Boric was angered by Israel allegedly “killing children in Gaza”. (https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/359936) In fact, Boric appeared to be referencing the killing of a 17-year-old Palestinian Arab who had attacked IDF soldiers during an operation early Thursday morning, following the murder of IDF Major Bar Falah. Late Thursday night, Chile’s foreign ministry issued an apology to Artzyeli. Chilean foreign ministry officials said the ceremony for receiving Artzyeli’s credentials has been rescheduled to October.

Newsline: Peru’s foreign minister resigns due to disagreements with President

Peru’s Foreign Minister, Miguel Rodríguez Mackay, resigned on Friday as head of the Peruvian diplomacy a little more than a month after taking office due to disagreements with Peruvian President Pedro Castillo. The resignation has been announced by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry itself through its Twitter account, where it has shared a “letter of irrevocable resignation” from the minister to Castillo. (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/peru-s-foreign-minister-resigns-due-to-disagreements-with-pedro-castillo/ar-AA11FfeA) The head of Peruvian diplomacy would have declined after a disagreement regarding the position between his sector and President Pedro Castillo on, for example, the Escazu Agreement signed in April 2021, Peru’s accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Convemar), and the recent recognition of the Saharawi Republic, as reported by ‘El Comercio’. Rodriguez Mackay announced that the Government was withdrawing its recognition of the Saharawi Arab Republic. However, the same day Pedro Castillo denied what his minister said, pointing out that Peru reaffirmed its relations with that country, according to ‘La República’.

Newsline: Ruined consulate reflects years of conflict between Colombia and Venezuela

Without doors or windows, its walls covered with graffiti, the Venezuelan Consulate in the Colombian capital is in ruins. The vandalized structure with a trash-strewn lawn sticks out like a sore thumb in the upscale north Bogota neighborhood. The lone police officer standing guard is in no position to keep out intruders or even to stop passers-by from dumping garbage, including – on the occasion of Efe’s visit – a used tire. (https://www.laprensalatina.com/derelict-consulate-reflects-years-of-strain-between-colombia-and-venezuela/) Links between Caracas and Bogota have been troubled for years and the relationship broke down entirely in 2019. Colombia’s consulate in Caracas remained intact during the rupture, newly appointed Colombian Ambassador Armando Benedetti said after arriving in the Venezuelan capital. In April, the Venezuelan government submitted a formal complaint about a fire at the consulate in Bogota as a result of “permanent vandalization” and demanded that Colombia’s then-president, Ivan Duque, render “due respect and protection” to Venezuela’s diplomatic missions. The ceilings of the building still bear traces of the fire and the graffiti on the internal walls are accompanied by clothing and mattresses apparently belonging to homeless people. All of the furniture was stolen within months of the diplomatic breach, to be followed by the windows, doors and other fixtures. The new Venezuelan envoy to Colombia, Felix Plasencia, said this week that restoring the consulate and other diplomatic outposts would be a priority.

Newsline: Brazil prosecutors charge German diplomat for husband’s death

Brazilian state prosecutors pressed charges against a German diplomat accused of the murder of his Belgian husband and are investigating reports that he has left the country after a court released him from police custody. (https://news.yahoo.com/brazil-prosecutors-charge-german-diplomat-235837600.html) Uwe Herbert Hahn, who worked at the German consulate in Rio de Janeiro, was indicted by the city prosecutors’ office with aggravated murder, following the death of his husband, Walter Biot, earlier this month. On Friday, a state court released Hahn from a preemptive arrest he had been on since Aug. 7, claiming that prosecutors missed the initial deadline to present charges. According to Brazilian news portal G1, Hahn took a flight out of Brazil and arrived on Frankfurt, Germany, early on Monday. The prosecutors’ office said it was still investigating whether the consul left the country. The German consulate in Rio de Janeiro could not be reached for comment.

Newsline: Brazil court frees German diplomat arrested over husband’s death

A Brazilian court freed a German diplomat arrested earlier this month in connection with the death of his Belgian husband, letting him face the murder investigation in freedom. Uwe Herbert Hahn had been on pre-emptive arrest in Rio de Janeiro since August 7 following the death of his husband, Walter Biot. Prosecutors have yet to formally charge him. His release, confirmed by Rio de Janeiro’s state department of prisons, came after Judge Rosa Helena Guita ruled that prosecutors missed the initial deadline to present charges. In her decision, Guita cited a clear “excess of time limit for a criminal action to be filed, noting that “no charges had been filed so far, nine days after the 10-day legal deadline expired.” (https://www.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/3190439/brazil-court-frees-german-diplomat-arrested-over-husbands-death) The Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office said in a statement to Reuters that it had not yet been summoned to file charges. “The deadline for offering the charges has not even started,” the statement said. At the time of Biot’s death, Hahn said he had fallen from their flat in the Ipanema neighbourhood after suffering a sudden illness. Police arrested Hahn on suspicion of murder after their forensics found bloodstains in the flat and the autopsy of Biot’s body showed multiple wounds, leading them to consider the case a “violent death.”

Newsline: Colombian Ambassador-designate Arrives in Venezuela

The Colombian ambassador-designate to Venezuela, Armando Benedetti, arrived in Caracas. It is said, although unconfirmed, that Benedetti will present his credentials and on Tuesday he will travel back to his country. (https://www.entornointeligente.com/colombian-ambassador-designate-arrives-in-venezuela/) The arrival in Caracas of the newly appointed ambassador by Colombian President Gustavo Petro opens a new chapter in the history of relations between the two neighboring states, interrupted in February 2019. With Petro’s assumption to power and the atmosphere of détente between Caracas and Bogota, President Nicolás Maduro appointed Felix Plasencia as his ambassador to Colombia on August 11.

Newsline: Argentina’s ambassador in Venezuela slams ‘hijacking’ of aircraft by courts

Argentina’s ambassador to Venezuela Oscar Laborde has hit out at the local courts over its decision to detain the Emtrasur aircraft held at Argentina’s Ezeiza Airport at the request of the United States, describing it as a plot to “harm” the relationship between Caracas and Buenos Aires. “There is a feeling of injustice in the Venezuelan people. There is clearly an intention on the part of the courts and many people are suffering from it,” said the envoy, referring to the plane held at Ezeiza since June 8 along with its 19 crew members, of whom five are Iranian citizens. Laborde went on to declare that the aircraft “is confiscated because the judge has so determined without apparently finding anything to reproach” the crew members still being held in this country. He later described the move as a “hijacking.” (https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/latin-america/argentinas-ambassador-in-venezuela-slams-hijacking-of-aircraft-by-courts.phtml) The comments, delivered this week during an interview with the local AM750 radio station, prompted a wave of condemnation from the opposition, which accused the envoy of backing the “illegitimate” government led by Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

Newsline: Venezuela, Colombia seek to repair ties with appointments of new ambassadors

Venezuela and Colombia appointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals, moving to rebuild relations between the two countries that have been broken for more than three years. The appointments come days after the inauguration of Colombia’s first leftist president, Gustavo Petro, who has expressed his intention to normalize diplomatic relations with Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appointed Felix Plasencia, a former foreign minister, as ambassador to Bogota, calling him “a man of great diplomatic experience”. Petro named Armando Benedetti, a former senator, as Colombia’s ambassador to Caracas. (https://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-president-appoints-former-foreign-233943284.html) Maduro added that Vice President Delcy Rodriguez will be in charge of designing a plan to reopen Venezuela’s border with Colombia and boost trade and investment with its neighbor. Caracas broke off relations with Bogota in early 2019 after members of the Venezuelan opposition tried to cross from Colombian territory with trucks loaded with food and medicine.