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Archive for Spain

Newsline: Suspect arrested in Spain in 2022 embassies letter-bomb case

Spanish police on Wednesday arrested a 74-year-old man suspected of sending letter-bombs in November and December to the Ukrainian and U.S. embassies, the Prime Minister’s office and an arms manufacturer in Spain, the Interior Ministry said. The man, a Spanish citizen, was detained in the northern town of Miranda del Ebro, and police conducted searches of his home, the ministry said in a statement, without providing further details. The man used to work for the townhall of Vitoria, a large city nearby, before retiring in 2013, a city spokesperson told Reuters. The investigation is still ongoing, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told reporters from Vitoria. “We are working on all possibilities,” Grande-Marlaska said. “The investigation is very advanced and we can really be very satisfied.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/spanish-police-arrest-man-suspected-2022-letter-bomb-case-2023-01-25/) A total of six parcels with explosives were sent to targets including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, government offices, a European Union satellite agency and the U.S. Embassy between Nov. 24 and Dec. 2. Most were defused, although an employee at the Ukrainian embassy was slightly injured when one of the devices ignited.

Newsline: Spain appoints new ambassador to Venezuela amid improving relations

The Spanish government has appointed a new ambassador to Venezuela, signalling a thaw in relations that comes two years after Madrid vacated the post to protest over what it said was the absence of free elections in the Caribbean country. The new ambassador is Ramon Santos Martinez, who has been the acting head of the diplomatic mission in Caracas since November 2021. “There are new circumstances that make it advisable to raise Spain’s representation in Venezuela to the level of ambassador,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday. “Once the negotiations in Mexico have resumed, Spain intends to be able to influence … the opening of the Venezuelan political process,” the spokesperson said. (https://news.yahoo.com/spain-appoints-ambassador-venezuela-amid-114556417.html) Following the 2018 presidential election, Spain recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and distanced itself from the government of Nicolas Maduro, culminating in the recall of its top envoy to Caracas in November 2020. The new appointment heralds a change in that stance within the context of the ongoing political talks in Mexico between Venezuela’s government and opposition groups.

Newsline: US, Ukrainian embassies, other sites targeted by letter bombs in Spain

The United States’ embassy in Madrid has received a letter similar to the five letter-bombs sent to the Ukrainian embassy to Spain and other targets in the country, according to La Sexta TV station. Deputy Interior Minister Rafael Perez told reporters earlier on Thursday that the letter bombs received by five other offices, including the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, a Spanish weapon manufacturer and three government institutions were sent from within the country. “It appears that they were all sent from within the country but we are basing this on early visual inspections without yet having an in-depth technical report,” he said. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/1/us-embassy-five-other-sites-targeted-by-letter-bombs-in-spain) The interior ministry said on Thursday that an “envelope with pyrotechnic material” addressed to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had been received on November 24 and disarmed by his security team. A “similar” package was received by the Ukrainian embassy on Wednesday was addressed to Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev and exploded when it was opened by a security official.

Newsline: Blast at Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid Injured One Employee

Spanish police said an employee at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid was injured on Wednesday in an explosion that occurred while he was handling a letter. The staff member suffered light injuries went to hospital under his own steam, police added. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-11-30/spanish-police-say-blast-at-ukrainian-embassy-injured-one-employee) Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid was not immediately reachable.

Newsline: The oldest embassy in the world turns 400

The permanent diplomatic mission of the Kingdom of Spain to the Holy See was established 400 years ago, and is therefore the oldest in the world still in existence. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s Secretary of State, presided over a Mass this past October 12 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Spanish Embassy in the Vatican, the oldest embassy in the world. (https://aleteia.org/2022/10/14/the-oldest-embassy-in-the-world-turns-400/) The Spanish Embassy still sits today in the Monaldeschi Palace, also known as the Palace of Spain (Palazzo di Spagna). Until 1622, the Spanish ambassador did not have a permanent residence. He chose to establish it on a square located in the heart of Rome which, in homage, was later baptized Spain Square, Piazza di Spagna. The Square is today a tourist hot spot.

Newsline: Spain summons Iran ambassador over protests crackdown

Spain summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its opposition to the heavy-handed crackdown on mass demonstrations across Iran that have claimed dozens of lives, a diplomatic source said. In a statement, the ministry expressed Spain’s “absolute condemnation” of the violence against peaceful demonstrators and in particular its “abhorrence of the violence against Iranian woman and their rights”. “The foreign ministry has summoned the Iranian ambassador in Madrid to express its objection over the repression of the protests and the violation of women’s rights,” the source said. (https://www.thelocal.es/20220928/spain-summons-iran-ambassador-over-protests-crackdown/) It urged the Iranian authorities to carry out “an independent investigation (into the bloodshed) and to establish responsibility in a transparent, objective and thorough manner” while “ending all arbitrary arrests” of journalists and other citizens exercising their civic freedoms.

Newsline: Top Pakistani Diplomat Involved In Visa Scam In Europe

A high-ranking Pakistani diplomat, who faced serious allegations of human smuggling in March, is at the core of a visa scam as he tried to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to illegally get visas for Pakistan nationals. A complaint was filed against the high-ranking Pakistani diplomat Israr Husain by Tariq Javid Khan, a former government servant who is in the visa business. Several emails issued to different embassies along with proofs of payment made to the accused diplomat were attached to the application, The News International reported. (https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/top-pak-diplomat-involved-in-visa-scam-in-europe-report-3215112) Husain used to work as an additional secretary of Europe and he would try to persuade the European embassies in Islamabad to get visas for Pakistan nationals. He allegedly tried to send around 11 individuals to Spain. Husain had earlier also served as Pakistan’s ambassador in Czech Republic. Khan alleged that Husain “made an offer to facilitate the issuance of visit, work and residency visas for Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and South Korea. He also introduced me to the ambassadors of these countries in Pakistan.” He added that he has the complete record of all payments he made to Hussain in the form of bank receipts, local media reported. The visa was not issued and the Pakistani diplomat had refused to return the money and warned him of dire consequences in case the word went out. The complaint added that the ambassador of Italy, Czech Republic and Spain “will be happy to confirm Husain’s disorderly conduct and they will provide evidence regarding his continuous requests for the illegal issuances of visas.” A formal complaint regarding Husain’s deceptive conduct was submitted to the foreign office by the ambassador of Czech Republic in Pakistan and the ambassador of Pakistan in Czech Republic.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy issues warning of increased sexual assault risk in Spain

The United States Embassy in Madrid issued a security alert for American travelers visiting Spain. “The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General urge U.S. citizen students and visitors to take precautions against sexual assault during their stay in Spain,” the alert reads. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2020/02/05/spain-sexual-assaults-rise-u-s-embassy-warns/4667505002/) According to the alert posted on the Embassy’s website, the Spanish Ministry of Interior has reported a steady increase in sexual assaults in the Iberian nation over the past five years. That rise includes an uptick in the number of sexual assaults of young U.S. citizens visiting or studying all over Spain. The alert comes just over a month after Spanish authorities arrested three Afghan men on suspicion that they sexually assaulted three sisters from Ohio on New Year’s Eve in Murcia, a city in southeast Spain, according to the Associated Press. The men were students as was one of the women.

Newsline: Spain’s, UK foreign ministries cooperates to repatriate nationals from Wuhan

A group of Spanish citizens will fly back from the Chinese city of Wuhan in the coming hours as part of a joint repatriation operation with the United Kingdom amid concerns over coronavirus, Spain’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-spain/spain-to-repatriate-nationals-from-wuhan-in-cooperation-with-uk-idUSKBN1ZT1WG) Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said earlier that the group of around 20 Spaniards will spend 14 days in quarantine when they return to the country.

Newsline: Bolivia prosecutor seeks Spain response over embassy spat

Bolivia’s attorney general has pushed forward a probe into Spanish officials the South American country’s government alleges were seeking to help allies of ousted leftist leader Evo Morales who are holed up in the Mexican embassy in La Paz. The prosecutor said it had sought information on why Spanish officials, on a December visit to the embassy in Bolivia, were accompanied by Spanish tactical police. The incident sparked a diplomatic stand-off and Bolivia expelled Mexico’s ambassador and several Spanish officials. Spain responded with a similar measure. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bolivia-diplomacy/bolivia-prosecutor-seeks-spain-response-over-embassy-spat-idUSKBN1Z8005) The affair has tested Bolivia’s caretaker government, which took power after Morales resigned under pressure in November after widespread protests, evidence of electoral fraud and waning support from military and police. The government of interim President Jeanine Anez claims that Spanish security forces had tried to hide their identity to gain access to the Mexican embassy, which granted asylum to Morales’ backers including former senior aide Juan Ramon Quintana.