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Newsline: Former UK ambassador to US accused of leaking intelligence

A former civil servant has accused the government of an attempt to cover up “crimes” by the former British ambassador to the US, who he claims leaked intelligence to his lover. Andrew Hale-Byrne is suing the foreign secretary, James Cleverly, and the international trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, alleging that he was arrested in order to divert attention from Sir Kim Darroch, the former UK ambassador to the US. (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/may/31/ministers-accused-of-cover-up-over-claims-former-uk-ambassador-leaked-intelligence) Hale-Byrne was arrested by counter-terrorism police at his home in 2020 while recovering from cancer surgery over allegations he leaked diplomatic cables in which Darroch criticised Donald Trump. Hale-Byrne denies being the leaker and was never charged. In his legal claim, he alleges that his arrest was designed to deflect attention from Darroch, who he claims was leaking intelligence – unrelated to the cables – from the Five Eyes alliance. Hale-Byrne alleges Darroch was having an affair with a CNN correspondent and provided her with classified information. The correspondent has denied having an affair with Darroch or that she received intelligence from him. A story about the alleged affair in the Sun was later taken down.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Britain urges London to stop smearing China

The Chinese embassy in Britain in a statement asked London to stop slandering China to avoid further damage to China-UK relations. “The relevant remarks by the British side are simply parroting words from others and constitute malicious slanders in disregard of the facts. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” the embassy statement said. (https://wsau.com/2023/05/21/chinese-embassy-in-britain-asks-london-to-stop-slandering-china-to-avoid-damage/) This comes after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said China represents the world’s greatest challenge to security and prosperity but that other leading economies should not decouple from it after a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) nations.

Newsline: Britain relocates ambassador from Sudan to Ethiopia

Britain said on Thursday that Giles Lever, its ambassador to Sudan, had been relocated to neighbouring Ethiopia after it temporarily closed its embassy in the conflict-riven east African country. “From Addis Ababa, he will lead the UK’s diplomatic efforts in the region to bring fighting to an end in Sudan,” the British foreign office said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/britain-relocates-its-sudanese-ambassador-ethiopia-2023-04-27/) Britain, which like other nations has been evacuating its nationals from Sudan, is urging the warring parties in the country to extend a 72-hour ceasefire which is due to expire later on Thursday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said earlier.

Newsline: UK, France evacuate diplomatic staff from Sudan

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British armed forces had staged a “complex and rapid evacuation” of all diplomatic staff and their families from Sudan. He said the government was pursuing every avenue to end the bloodshed and ensure the safety of British nationals still in the country. The Foreign Office urged nationals to shelter in place and let it know where they were. Britain’s defence minister said British troops undertook the rescue operation alongside the United States, France, and other unnamed allies. A French plane carrying about 100 people left Khartoum on Sunday for Djibouti with a second plane carrying a similar number preparing to take off, a French diplomatic source said, adding that operations would resume on Monday. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/foreign-states-evacuate-citizens-sudan-2023-04-23/) Earlier, the warring army and RSF each accused the other of attacking a French convoy. The army said the RSF had fired on the convoy, wounding a French national. France’s Foreign Ministry has not commented on the reported attack or injury.

Newsline: Russia summons U.S., UK and Canadian ambassadors

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S., British and Canadian ambassadors for a dressing down on Tuesday after they condemned the conviction of an opposition politician on treason charges. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the three ambassadors of “crude interference in Russia’s internal affairs and activity incompatible with their diplomatic status”, Interfax news agency reported. There was no immediate comment from the three embassies. The U.S., British and Canadian ambassadors had made a joint appearance in front of TV cameras on the steps of the Moscow court on Monday to condemn the verdict against Kara-Murza and demand his release. British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert delivered her remarks in Russian so that Russian-language TV channels could potentially broadcast them. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the foreign ministry called Bronnert’s remarks “inappropriate” and “provocative” and said they ran counter to the British embassy’s status and to diplomatic norms. The ministry said the fact that Kara-Murza had a British passport in addition to his Russian one meant nothing in the eyes of Russian law. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/russia-warns-western-diplomats-expulsion-risk-after-meddling-dissidents-case-2023-04-18/) A Moscow court jailed Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza – who holds Russian and British passports – for 25 years on Monday after a trial he and the West said was politically motivated. It was the harshest sentence of its kind since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Kara-Murza, 41, had lobbied Western governments for sanctions that were later imposed on Russia and individual Russians for purported human rights violations, and condemned what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Newsline: India’s foreign ministry denies suspending trade talks with UK over embassy attack

Trade talks between India and Britain have not been suspended and will continue this year, three officials said on Monday, responding to a British newspaper report that said India had “disengaged” from the talks after London failed to condemn Sikh separatists. An official in India’s foreign ministry said progress in the trade talks and New Delhi’s concerns around Sikh separatist activities in Britain should not be interlinked. A diplomatic official in the British High Commission in New Delhi said trade talks will continue in a scheduled manner and security officials in London were addressing India’s concerns about Sikh separatist activities in Britain. “Both the UK and India are committed to delivering an ambitious and mutually beneficial FTA and concluded the latest round of trade talks last month,” a spokesperson for Britain’s Department for Business and Trade said. “The Foreign Secretary has condemned the recent acts of violence at the Indian High Commission, and we are working with the Metropolitan Police to review security and make changes to ensure the safety of its staff,” the spokesperson added. (https://neuters.de/world/india/india-has-not-suspended-trade-talks-with-uk-officials-say-2023-04-10/) New Delhi has been upset about protests and vandalism by Sikh separatists outside its mission in London and elsewhere in the United States and Canada. Last month, protesters with banners supporting the so-called independent Sikh state of “Khalistan” staged a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London and took down an Indian flag from the building’s balcony to denounce recent police action against a pro-Khalistan Sikh preacher.

Newsline: Indian police open probe into London embassy protest

Indian police have opened an investigation into a protest this week outside its High Commission in London, Reuters partner ANI reported on Friday, pursuing action on an incident that has raised tension in relations with Britain. Indian police opened an investigation, the ANI news agency reported. “Case registered after the Ministry of Home Affairs asked Delhi Police to take appropriate legal action,” ANI said, citing the police department of the Indian capital that reports to the federal government. Police officials and the British embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment. (https://neuters.de/world/indian-police-open-investigation-into-london-embassy-protest-media-2023-03-24/) Protesters with “Khalistan” banners took an Indian flag down from a first-floor balcony of the High Commission in the British capital on Sunday to denounce recent police action in India’s Punjab state, British and Indian media reported. Khalistan is the name of an independent Sikh homeland that some members of that community aspire to, both at home in India and in countries where Sikhs have settled. India summoned the top British diplomat in New Delhi on Sunday to convey its “strong protest at the actions taken by separatist and extremist elements” at the mission, and to seek an explanation for “the complete absence” of security there. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said acts of violence towards staff at the High Commission in London were unacceptable and British police were investigating.

Newsline: India summons British envoy

A senior British diplomat in Delhi has been summoned after a protest at the Indian High Commission in London. Crowds gathered outside the building in Aldwych, Westminster, on Sunday and windows were broken. The Indian foreign ministry issued a statement saying the senior diplomat had been asked to explain “the complete absence of British security”. (https://news.yahoo.com/indian-high-commission-diplomat-summoned-071718925.html) After the protest a man was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and a police investigation was launched. The Metropolitan Police said two security guards were injured. Videos on social media showed a crowd waving yellow “Khalistan” banners and a man detach the Indian flag from the first-floor balcony of the building. Khalistan is the proposed name of a Sikh state separatist groups wants to create in the Punjab region, which spans both India and Pakistan.

Newsline: U.S. embassy in London back to normal after security alert

The U.S. embassy in London said it was resuming normal operations after a security alert caused by a suspicious package outside the building on Wednesday. (https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/u-s-embassy-in-london-back-to-normal-after-security-alert/ar-AA17Ngin) “The U.S. Embassy is back to normal business operations. Local authorities investigated and cleared a suspicious package outside the Embassy,” the embassy’s official Twitter account said.

Newsline: Britain summons Iranian envoy

The British government summoned Iran’s most senior diplomat in London to protest what it said were serious threats against journalists living in Britain, as ministers launched a new security review into Iranian activities. On Saturday, a London-based television station critical of the Iranian government said it was moving its live broadcasting studios to the United States after threats it faced in Britain. “I am appalled by the Iranian regime’s continuing threats to the lives of UK-based journalists and have today summoned its representative to make clear this will not be tolerated,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/britain-summons-irans-most-senior-diplomat-over-threat-journalists-2023-02-20/) The foreign office said the Iranian Charge d’Affaires had been told in a meeting with British officials that Britain would not accept such threats to life and media freedom.