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Archive for Germany

Newsline: G7 top diplomats focus on Ukraine, China

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven nations on Friday focused on Ukrainian crisis and China’s increasing assertiveness. Foreign ministers from the G-7, wrapping up two days of talks in the historic western German city of Muenster, were set to release a statement asserting common positions on Ukraine, Russia, China and recent developments in Iran and North Korea, officials said. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the United States comprise the G-7. A year after warning Russia about the consequences of invading Ukraine, the G-7 ministers were to endorse further punishments for the Kremlin and additional backing for Kyiv and countries affected by food and energy shortages that the war has exacerbated, the officials said. (https://news.yahoo.com/g7-ministers-rally-support-ukraine-111536517.html) The ministers called out Iran for allegedly supplying weapons to Russia and a brutal crackdown on antigovernment protesters. Their statement further condemned the recent escalation of tensions in Asia caused by North Korean military activity.

Newsline: G7 top diplomats to discuss Ukraine, China and Iran

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – are meeting in the western German city of Munster to discuss issues relating to Ukraine, China and Iran. Senior U.S. officials traveling with Blinken said they expected the discussions on Thursday and Friday in Munster’s town hall — which local officials say was last used for an international diplomatic event in 1648 when the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the 30 Years War — to reaffirm G-7 “alignment and consistency” on Ukraine and a number of other issues. (https://news.yahoo.com/g7-foreign-ministers-set-grapple-220558577.html) Those include joint approaches to China, which has sided with Russia over Ukraine while also seeking to boost investments in critical and sensitive infrastructure in the West, and Iran, which in addition to crackdown on protesters is accused of supplying Russia with drones.

Newsline: German authorities looking into reports of illegal Chinese diplomatic police in Frankfurt

Authorities in Germany are investigating whether China maintains an illegal extraterritorial diplomatic police station in Frankfurt, a spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the interior ministry in the German state of Hesse said police and internal security services were checking a report by Spanish activist group Safeguard Defenders, who said China had set up undeclared police offices in 30 countries, including Germany. Confirming an earlier report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, the spokesperson said they so far had no indications such facilities existed in Frankfurt. (https://www.reuters.com/world/german-authorities-looking-into-reports-illegal-chinese-police-frankfurt-2022-10-28/) The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dutch authorities on Wednesday said they were investigating Chinese offices that were operating illegally in the Netherlands, carrying out tasks like renewing driving licences. That followed allegations, denied by the Chinese embassy in The Hague, that the office had also harassed a Chinese dissident living in the Netherlands.

Newsline: Zambian Embassy in Berlin warns against online scams

The Zambian Embassy in Berlin, Germany has expressed concern over the high number of Zambians being swindled by online scammers purporting to be Polish based motor vehicle and tractor dealers. Charge d’ Affaires at the Zambian Embassy in Germany, Dorcas Chileshe has cautioned Zambians wishing to purchase motor vehicles and tractors online from Poland to verify the authenticity of the companies they are dealing with before making payments. “Scammers usually purport to be selling tractors and motor vehicles in excellent condition at very low prices to attract unsuspecting buyers,” she said. (https://www.lusakatimes.com/2022/10/13/high-numbers-of-online-car-dealers-scams-worry-zambian-embassy-in-berlin-germany/) Ms Chileshe has since encouraged Zambians to conduct due diligence on the companies they deal with and seek guidance from the Zambian Embassy in Germany or the Consulate in Poland, as the Zambian Embassy in Berlin covers Poland as a country of Extra accreditation.

Newsline: Israel’s ambassador slams German politician

Israel’s ambassador in Berlin has slammed a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party for appearing to dance on the country’s Holocaust memorial. Ambassador Ron Prosor said tweeted that far-right politician Holger Winterstein had brought “shame upon himself and his party.” (https://thehill.com/homenews/ap/ap-international/ap-german-far-right-politician-danced-on-holocaust-memorial/) A picture posted on social media showed Winterstein posing with outstretched arms on one of the stone slabs that form the memorial in Berlin for the more than 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. German media reported that the picture was taken after a protest organized Saturday by Alternative for Germany. The party, known by its German acronym AfD, said it would take action against Winterstein over his “extremely disrespectful behavior.” Winterstein is a county representative in Thuringia.

Newsline: German embassies report surge in Russians seeking visas

Germany’s embassies in countries neighbouring Russia have seen a surge in visa enquiries from Russian citizens since partial mobilisation for the war in Ukraine began in their home country, a source from the German foreign ministry said. “We can confirm a sharp increase in the number of enquiries sent to our foreign missions in the region, particularly by e-mail and telephone,” the source told Reuters. (https://news.yahoo.com/several-german-embassies-see-surge-154926184.html) In some cases, people were going to the embassies in person. Der Spiegel news magazine previously reported that German missions in Yerevan, Astana, Tbilisi, Baku and Minsk had registered thousands of requests for entry permits to Germany since President Vladimir Putin ordered the partial mobilisation on Sept. 21. An exact figure was not given because it had become impossible to process the requests within set deadlines, the report said, adding that appointments for hearings were no longer being handed out. The ministry is said to be considering increasing its staff in the five cities.

Newsline: Israel’s new ambassador to Germany takes post

Israel’s new ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, officially took on his post on Monday after handing his credentials to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeier’s office said the president was “convinced that, with Ambassador Prosor as a diplomat long associated with our country, the special friendship between Israel and Germany can be further developed.” (https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/israels-new-ambassador-to-germany-starts-work/ar-AA10VXGz) A former UN ambassador, Prosor wrote on Twitter before his trip to Steinmeier’s official residence at Bellevue Palace that it was “a special day for me.”

Newsline: Former Merkel spokesman becomes Germany’s ambassador to Israel

Steffen Seibert, the long-time spokesman of former chancellor Angela Merkel, has officially taken office as Germany’s new ambassador to Israel. The 62-year-old presented his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday. “The friendship between Israel and Germany is a treasure, and I am honoured to work to strengthen it,” Seibert wrote on Twitter after the official ceremony in Jerusalem. “Without forgetting the past, we look to the future together,” the Israeli president said, praising Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security. (https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/former-merkel-spokesman-becomes-german-ambassador-to-israel/ar-AA10sQVK) Seibert was government spokesman under Merkel for more than 11 years. Before that, he worked as a television journalist for public broadcaster ZDF. In Israel, he has taken over the post from the previous ambassador, Susanne Wasum-Rainer, who had her last working day there at the end of June.

Newsline: Tanzania Opposition Leader Seeks Refuge With German Ambassador

Tanzania’s main opposition leader Tundu Lissu sought refuge at the German ambassador’s residence in the city of Dar es Salaam, claiming he feared for his life after a contentious election. Lissu and other opposition leaders were briefly detained by the police last week after calling for nationwide street protests against the East African country’s Oct. 28 election, which they said was rigged in favor of the ruling party. The electoral body said the poll was free and credible. “I’m staying at the German ambassador’s residence since Monday because of threats on my life,” Lissu told Bloomberg on Saturday by telephone. Unidentified people had threatened to deal with him “once and for all,” he said. “I read that as: They are out to kill me.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-07/tanzania-opposition-leader-seeks-refuge-with-german-ambassador) Calls to the Dar es Salaam police chief, Lazaro Mambosasa, weren’t answered. Police said recently that the security situation was calm, with no incidents of election-related violence.

Newsline: Thai protesters march on German embassy to seek probe of king

Thousands of protesters marched on the German embassy in Bangkok to ask for an investigation of the Thai king’s activities during lengthy stays in Germany as months of protests give rise to growing calls for reforms of the monarchy. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/26/thai-parliament-opens-to-discuss-pro-democracy-protests) Berlin has said it would be unacceptable for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to conduct politics in Germany and Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said the European country continued to look into his behaviour during long sojourns in Bavaria. Criticising the monarchy can mean a 15-year jail sentence in Thailand, but the protests have swept away the longstanding taboo on discussing it. Protesters accuse the monarchy of helping to enable decades of domination by military rulers. They also complain about spending on the king’s European visits at a time the coronavirus has hit the tourism-reliant economy hard.