Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Diplomatic Briefing

Newsline: U.S. eyes ‘big dollar’ Pacific diplomacy in China contest

The United States will announce “big dollar” assistance to Pacific island nations when President Joe Biden hosts a first-of-its-kind summit with their leaders on Wednesday, a gathering Washington hopes will help counter China’s expanding influence in a new theater of geopolitical competition. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-vows-big-dollar-help-090306769.html) Leaders from 12 Pacific island states are expected to take part in a two-day summit in Washington, with two more sending representatives, and Australia and New Zealand attending as observers. White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said last week the summit would focus on addressing issues such as climate change and health and that Washington and its allies were focused on boosting maritime security and island states’ communications links with countries like Japan, Australia and India. The leaders will be feted all around Washington, including at the State Department, the U.S. Congress, Coast Guard headquarters, by business leaders, and at the White House. On Wednesday, Washington also will unveil a detailed new strategy specifically for the Pacific, a senior Biden administration official said. It will be the first time the United States has hosted so many leaders of a region it has considered it maritime backyard since World War Two, but into which China has been making steady advances. Some of the nations have complained about being caught in the middle of the superpowers’ battle for influence.

Newsline: Iranian Foreign Minister tells Western diplomats protests won’t lead to regime change

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says he is telling Western diplomats that the protests in his country will not destabilize Iran. In an interview with Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep in New York City, Amirabdollahian acknowledged the tragedy of Amini’s death, but said such incidents happen around the world and downplayed the significance of the nationwide protests. “I’m assuring them that there is not a big deal going on in Iran,” he said of his message to his Western counterparts. “There is not going to be regime change in Iran. Don’t play to the emotions of the Iranian people.” (https://www.kpbs.org/news/news/national/2022/09/27/the-protests-wont-lead-to-regime-change-irans-foreign-minister-tells-npr) Protests erupted across dozens of cities in Iran in recent days, triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody in mid-September. The foreign minister insisted that Amini’s death is being “seriously investigated.” At the same time, Amirabdollahian cast many protests as a product of foreign media and outside agitation, though they appear to be widespread in his country. Amirabdollahian is a veteran Iranian diplomat who has been involved with long-running negotiations over its nuclear program. The U.S. is seeking to rejoin an agreement with world powers that limited Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Those talks seemed near a conclusion this year but appear to have stalled.

Newsline: Turkey summons German ambassador after politician likens President to ‘sewer rat’

Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the German envoy to Ankara on Tuesday to protest over comments made by a senior German politician who likened President Tayyip Erdogan to a “little sewer rat”. “We condemn in the strongest terms the insulting statements made by Wolfgang Kubicki, the vice-speaker of the German Federal Parliament, about our president (Erdogan) in a speech during he Lower Saxony state election campaign,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement. (https://news.yahoo.com/turkey-summons-german-envoy-politician-140015574.html) Contacted by Reuters, Kubicki confirmed making the comment during an election campaign rally while trying to draw attention to a rise in the number of illegal migrants moving from Turkey along the so-called Balkan route towards Germany. “A sewer rat is a small, cute, but at the same time clever and crafty creature that also appears in children’s stories,” Kubicki said, citing the popular animated movie “Ratatouille” as an example. Insulting the president is a criminal offence in Turkey, where Erdogan and his ruling AK Party have held power for two decades.

Newsline: Japan Demands Russian Apology Over Detention of Diplomat

Japan demanded an apology from Russia for what it saw as the unjust detention of one of its diplomats in Vladivostok, who Tokyo said was blindfolded and physically restrained after the Kremlin falsely accused him of spying. Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday that the diplomat committed no illegal activity and Russia had violated international conventions through the detention. “The treatment and accusations are absolutely unacceptable,” Matsuno said, adding the diplomat, who was detained on Monday, is facing no major health issues. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-demands-russian-apology-over-024811870.html) Russia expelled a Japanese consul in Vladivostok, accusing the diplomat of paying for sensitive information. Tatsunori Motoki was given 48 hours to leave the country, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, according to Tass.

Newsline: Protests Hit Iranian Embassies Around the World

Protesters across the world have taken to demonstrating outside Iranian embassies following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. There have been protests in Athens, Paris and New York, with the Metropolitan Police in London saying multiple officers had been injured in demonstrations. According to a VOA news report, around 4,000 protesters had gathered for demonstrations in Paris. (https://www.newsweek.com/iran-protest-embassy-embassies-officers-london-demonstrations-mahsa-amini-1746167) The protest began peacefully at Trocadero Square in the center of the French capital. However, as demonstrators neared the Iranian embassy, police in full anti-riot armor, backed by a line of vans, blocked their path. Tear gas was also used by police to disperse protesters. A Times of Israel report also said some protests descended into violence and that a firebomb was hurled at Iran’s embassy in Athens, Greece. According to the police, at around 1 a.m. local time, two people with their faces covered riding a motorcycle hurled a Molotov cocktail bomb at the wall of the embassy. No damage was caused, however.Amini was arrested by morality police on September 13, who accused her of breaking Iran’s strict law requiring women to cover their hair fully with a headscarf.

Newsline: Iran summons Norway, UK ambassadors amid unrest

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the ambassadors of the U.K. and Norway over issues it argued constitute meddling in the country’s ongoing protests, according to state media. The director-general of Western Europe within Iran’s foreign ministry called out Norway’s Parliament Speaker for allegedly “prejudicing and unrealistic comments” about recent protests in Iran, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA. The U.K. ambassador, meanwhile, was chastised for a London-based, Persian-language “hosting of the media” that Iran believes has produced “provocation and invitation to turbulence and expansion of riots in Iran on top of their agenda,” according to a second report from IRNA. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-summons-ambassadors-uk-norway-123312218.html) The two issues could be considered by Iran as meddling in Iran’s internal affairs, state media notes. Iran has experiencing unrest in the week since a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of Iran’s morality police as protesters demonstrate against the country’s strict dress code and clash with security forces.

Newsline: Philippines Eyes Diplomatic Compromise with China on South China Sea

The Philippines is interested in renewing talks with China on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea to expand and diversify its sources of energy, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. The Southeast Asian country seeks a compromise with China, which is claiming parts of the South China Sea that are within Philippine territory, Marcos said, stressing that any agreement must not violate his nation’s laws. While the Philippines and China couldn’t agree on which nation’s law would apply, “we continue to explore, perhaps there can be other ways that we can do it,” Marcos said. “There have been examples around the region where there have been similar differing views on exclusive economic zones and baselines, where they have managed to find a way to have joint explorations with the Chinese, with the Americans.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/philippines-marcos-seeks-china-compromise-051025015.html) In June, Marcos’s predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, ended talks with Beijing on oil and exploration in the South China Sea, with then-foreign affairs chief Teodoro Locsin saying discussions had gone as far as “it is constitutionally possible to go.”

Newsline: Riots erupts near Iranian embassy in London

Violent street protests erupted outside the Iranian embassy in London on Sunday, with rocks thrown at police and five protesters arrested. Large crowds have been gathering all week outside the Knightsbridge compound in protest against the death in Iranian police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16. London’s Metropolitan Police said that “a substantial group” of the large crowd were “intent on causing disorder” and confirmed that reinforcements had been called in when protesters tried to break police lines and storm towards the embassy compound. A number of police officers were injured in the skirmishes though none seriously, and some arrests were made for violent disorder. (https://news.yahoo.com/unrest-erupts-near-iranian-embassy-184036900.html) The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website said it summoned Simon Shercliff, the U.K.‘s ambassador to Iran, on Saturday and protested the hosting of critical Farsi-language media outlets. The ministry alleges the news outlets have provoked disturbances and the spread of riots in Iran at the top of their programs. Iran said it considers the news agencies’ reporting to be interference in Iran’s internal affairs and acts against its sovereignty.

Newsline: Iran will make ‘proportional’ response to Ukraine reducing ties

Iran is planning “proportional action” in response to Ukraine’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties over the reported supply of Iranian drones to Russia, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Saturday. Nasser Kanaani said Ukraine should “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries”, a ministry statement said. Kanaani said Ukraine’s decision was “based on unconfirmed reports and resulted from a media hype by foreign parties”. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-regrets-ukraines-downgrading-ties-110001232.html) Ukraine said on Friday that it would withdraw accreditation of the Iranian ambassador and significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff at the Iranian embassy in Kyiv over Tehran’s decision to supply Russian forces with drones, a move President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called “a collaboration with evil”.

Newsline: Families of missing students protest outside Israel’s embassy in Mexico City

Relatives of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared in 2014 protested outside Israel’s embassy, demanding the extradition of a former top investigator wanted in connection with the case. Hundreds gathered outside Israel’s embassy in Mexico City, with no visible police presence. Some carried pictures of the missing students while others sprayed graffiti on the embassy walls. Tomas Zeron, who previously led Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency, is accused of manipulating the probe into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies. “Israel is protecting Tomas Zeron, a human rights violator who tortured those he detained at the time to build the ‘historical truth,'” Meliton Ortega, a representative of the students’ families, told AFP. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/families-43-missing-students-mexico-urge-israel-to-deport-tomas-zeron-protests/) But Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Zvi Tal criticized the demonstrators’ actions. “It is clear to us that the violence displayed during the demonstration, where they left the walls of our headquarters painted with offensive graffiti, here is written ‘Death to Israel,’ has no relation to the Ayotzinapa case,” he said in a video address in front of the embassy. Mexico has repeatedly asked Israel to hand over Zeron, who is accused of kidnapping, torturing suspects and manipulating evidence — allegations he has denied. The 43 teaching students had commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to travel to a demonstration in Mexico City before they went missing. Investigators say they were detained by corrupt police and handed over to a drug cartel that mistook them for members of a rival gang, but exactly what happened to them is disputed. So far, the remains of only three victims have been identified.