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Archive for Middle East

Newsline: UAE urges diplomacy to end Russia-Ukraine crisis

Lana Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs, in a statement has said “since the beginning of the crisis, the UAE has called for de-escalation and dialogue, and has supported all diplomatic initiatives in this regard.” “The UAE firmly believes that diplomacy remains the only viable way to end the crisis, and shares the international community’s deep concerns about the repercussions of the current situation on civilians in and out of Ukraine, and regional and international peace, security and stability,” the statement said further. (https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2022/11/24/diplomacy-only-way-out-of-russia-ukraine-crisis-says-uae) In times of conflict, our collective responsibility is to leave no stone unturned towards identifying and pursuing paths that bring about a peaceful and swift resolution of crises. As such, the UAE remains firmly committed to help keep channels of communication open, encourage dialogue, support diplomacy, leveraging all the tools at our disposal to alleviate suffering and find a peaceful and sustainable solution that enhances international peace and security and ends the humanitarian impact on civilians.

Newsline: US ambassador says two citizens injured in Jerusalem terror attack

Two U.S. citizens were among the injured after a pair of explosions rocked two bus stops in Jerusalem during the height of the rush hour commute Wednesday morning, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel confirmed. The bombs injured at least 18 victims and killed a Canadian-Israeli teenager in what Israeli police said were attacks by Palestinians. “Sadly, I can now confirm that two U.S. citizens were among those injured in today’s terror attacks in Jerusalem,” Amb. Tom Nides tweeted. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-citizens-injured-jerusalem-deadly-terror-attack-ambassador-says) The first explosion occurred just after 7 a.m. local time at a crowded bus station. Israeli police suspect that a bag with explosives was detonated remotely.

Newsline: Turkey summons Swedish ambassador

Turkey summoned the Swedish envoy on Monday after images that allegedly insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and served as Kurdish militant propaganda were projected on the Turkish Embassy building in Stockholm, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Turkey-summons-Swedish-envoy-over-images-17601196.php) Anadolu Agency said Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, where officials condemned the incident, called for an investigation and renewed a demand for Stockholm to take “concrete steps” against groups that Turkey considers to be security threats, according to Anadolu Agency.

Newsline: US climate envoy contracts COVID-19 as COP27 remains in deadlock

US climate envoy John Kerry has tested positive for COVID-19 at the United Nations climate talks in Egypt, where negotiators were desperately trying to break a deadlock over loss and damage funding for developing countries battered by weather disasters. Kerry’s illness has added worries to the negotiations, which were scheduled to end on Friday but have been continuing with no clear end in sight. “He is fully vaccinated and boosted and experiencing mild symptoms. He is working with his negotiations team and foreign counterparts by phone to ensure a successful outcome of COP27,” Kerry’s spokeswoman Whitney Smith wrote in a statement late on Friday. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/19/cop27-in-deadlock-as-us-envoy-john-kerry-contracts-covid-19) The talks at the COP27 summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh have stumbled on the controversial issue of “loss and damage” funding for less developed countries to deal with the effects of climate change. Loss and damage remains the main sticking point between rich and poor nations, particularly the issue of how to compensate countries that have already been ravaged by climate-driven floods, droughts, mega-storms and wildfires. Negotiations, at least those in public, hit a lull by Friday evening as press conferences and plenaries were postponed or cancelled. Diplomats said they hoped for late-night progress as they changed airline reservations for talks going into extended overtime on Saturday.

Newsline: Israel summons Ukrainian ambassador

Israel said it had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for a dressing down after Kyiv voted in favour of a resolution to open an international probe into Israel’s prolonged occupation of the West Bank. The resolution, approved at U.N. headquarters in New York last week, asks that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) “urgently” weigh in on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory”, which it said were violating the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Israel “expressed its dissatisfaction” with Ukraine’s decision to vote in favour of the resolution in a conversation with Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk, according to a statement released by the Israeli foreign ministry. “It was clarified to the ambassador that this behaviour does not embody friendly behaviour,” the statement said. (https://news.yahoo.com/israel-admonishes-ukrainian-ambassador-over-135245644.html) In a statement about the meeting on Facebook, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel wrote: “The ambassador expressed disappointment with the position of Israel, whose representative abstained during the vote in the U.N. General Assembly on the issue of Russian reparation payments to Ukraine.” While the Israeli statement said the ambassador had been “summoned”, Ukraine said the meeting had been prearranged and was not a summons.

Newsline: German embassy complains to Egypt for too much surveillance of COP27

The German embassy in Cairo has lodged a complaint with the Egyptian government over the excessive surveillance of its participants at the World Climate Conference (COP27) being held in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. According to the embassy, Egyptian security officials kept a close eye on some events held in the German pavilion, to the point of videotaping them. The German Embassy has called on the Egyptian authorities to cease this activity. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/techandscience/germany-complains-to-egypt-for-excessive-surveillance-of-cop27-participants/ar-AA143Ie9) In recent days, the German conference area has hosted events focusing on the human rights situation in Egypt. Among the participants were the directors of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, Tirana Hassan and Agnès Callamard, along with Egyptian activist Sanaa Saif, a filmmaker who has served prison sentences in Egypt. In a statement released before the start of the summit, HRW deplored the existence of cameras in cabs leading to the event, and the fact that the Egyptian government has forced all attendees to download an application that collects personal information and requires access to the camera, microphone and location service of the cell phone.

Newsline: Turkey appoints new ambassador to Israel

After a four-year hiatus, Turkey has appointed an ambassador to Israel in the most recent step towards improving relations with the Jewish state. Turkish media reported that Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, a veteran diplomat who previously served as Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem between 2010 and 2014, was appointed to the position. (https://english.newstracklive.com/news/turkey-appoints-a-new-ambassador-to-israel-sc77-nu355-ta355-1257144-1.html) In May 2018, Ankara recalled its ambassador to Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy to protest the killing of several Palestinians by the Israeli military.

Newsline: US Embassy Identifies American Killed in Baghdad

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has identified an American aid worker and language instructor who was fatally shot in the Iraqi capital as 45-year-old Stephen Edward Troell, the Embassy said Tuesday. The embassy said it was closely monitoring an investigation begun by Iraqi authorities, but declined to comment further out of respect for his mourning family, the embassy statement said. A State Department official said he was a private citizen with no connection to the government. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to go on the record. (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2022-11-08/u-s-identifies-american-slain-in-baghdad-questions-remain) Troell, a native of Tennessee, was killed by unknown assailants in his car as he pulled up to the street where he lived with his family in Baghdad’s central Karrada district. It was a rare killing of a foreigner in Iraq, where security conditions have improved in recent years.

Newsline: Elon Musk’s Twitter verification fee becomes matter of international diplomacy

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told ATV he could “carry out some diplomacy” with Elon Musk. The president of Turkey said that he might speak to Musk to negotiate a way to opt out of paying for a proposed $8-a-month Twitter verification fee. Reuters reported the news, citing an interview with Turkish broadcaster ATV. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/turkeys-president-says-wants-discuss-105621447.html) Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV he was considering talking to Musk about the monthly $8 subscription, which would give users a blue checkmark, the ability to post long-form video, priority in search, and fewer ads. The charge for Twitter verification “might be different for us,” Erdogan told ATV, Reuters reported. “We could carry out some diplomacy with him as well.” Erdogan, who appears to post regularly on Twitter, is verified on the social-media platform. This means Twitter has confirmed Erdogan’s account belongs to him.

Newsline: Qatar summons German ambassador

Qatar summoned the German envoy over remarks by Germany’s interior minister, who appeared to criticize the decision to award the World Cup to the Gulf Arab nation because of its human rights record. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is also responsible for sports, plans to travel to Qatar on Monday and Tuesday with the government’s human rights commissioner, German lawmakers and a delegation from the German soccer federation. In an official statement issued on Friday, Faeser noted that “no World Cup takes place in a vacuum.” She added that with regard to future international sporting events, “we must ensure that their awarding and organization is tied to human rights standards.” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned the ambassador to convey its “disappointment and complete rejection and condemnation” of Faeser’s remarks. (https://www.wdtn.com/sports/ap-sports/ap-qatar-summons-german-envoy-over-world-cup-rights-criticism/) It was the first time Qatar has summoned an ambassador following years of heavy international scrutiny of its treatment of migrant workers and criminalization of homosexual relations. With just weeks to go before the start of the soccer tournament, Qatari officials appear increasingly frustrated with such criticism, which they say is often unfounded and ignores progress on labor issues in recent years.