Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Accidental US Embassy Shooting in Jordan Wounds 2

An accidental shooting at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan wounded two local guards, authorities said. Jordanian police spokesman Amer al-Sartawi said the shooting wounded one guard in the hand and the other in the leg. He described the shooting as an accident, but did not elaborate. Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the incident happened as guards were moving between vehicles outside of the embassy. “A gendarmerie officer’s weapon accidentally discharged inside the vehicle, injuring two officers,” Vasquez said. “We understand the incident has been ruled an accident and the government’s investigation has been closed.”


Newsline: Ecuadorean President Confirms Granting Assange Asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange still has a right to political asylum in Ecuador, however, the resolution of the conflict depends purely on Britain, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said during a visit to Guatemala. “The situation with Assange could be resolved as early as tomorrow if the United Kingdom gives him a pass to leave the country,” Notimex news agency reported, quoting Tuesday’s statement by Correa. The Ecuadorean president claimed there are representatives in influential circuits, supporting capital punishment for Assange, which would be a violation of international law. At a press conference Monday, Assange claimed he would leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London “soon,” without giving any further details. The WikiLeaks founder wants to be given guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States once he leaves the embassy building, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson told ABC News on Tuesday. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London since British courts ruled out in June 2012 his extradition to Sweden, where the whistleblower is facing sexual assault charges.


Newsline: Uganda Foreign Missions websites seen as disaster

A website of Uganda’s Foreign Mission in Germany is totally different from that of Ottawa, Canada. The official E-mail address of the Ambassador of Uganda to Italy, is at Hotmail dot com (ugandaembassyrome@hotmail.com ), and that of the Ambassador to Washington DC is dot org (owonekha@ugandaembassyus.org) The domain names are chaotic. While the Embassy in Washington uses dot com (http://www.ugandaembassy.com) for the website the staff E-mails have dot org. The domain name for China is dot org (http://www.ugaembassycn.org/) and that of Germany uses dot de (http://www.uganda.de/). The High Commission to UK has a totally different domain name; dot co dot uk (http://www.ugandahighcommission.co.uk/). The website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ has no connections to the foreign missions websites whatsoever, because it uses dot go dot ug (http://www.mofa.go.ug). And until recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website had Kenyan colours; green, black and red. One would automatically think, all government ministries and foreign missions should have similar domain names like that of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (dot go dot ug).


Newsline: Saudi embassy denies cash, “sensitive documents” stolen in Paris attack

The Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris has issued a statement carried on Saudi state media confirming that a car owned by a Saudi citizen was forced to stop on the way to the airport and stolen, but denied media reports that the vehicle was affiliated to the embassy and was carrying money and sensitive documents. Reuters claimed that armed gunmen ambushed a Saudi prince’s convoy on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday evening, making off with a large amount of cash and some private documents in what police said looked like a raid by well-informed attackers. The Saudi convoy of about a dozen cars had been heading for the small Le Bourget airport north of the city along the major A1 highway with the prince, whose name was not revealed. According to a police official about eight masked attackers with guns, driving in two BMW cars, forced one of the cars in the convoy to stop near the Porte de la Chapelle exit junction on the northern edge of the capital at around 2100 (1900 GMT).


Newsline: Australia, Indonesia Mend Ties Following Allegations Of Embassy Spying

Australia and Indonesia have come to a “joint understanding” following a diplomatic row after reports surfaced last year alleging that the former had spied on Indonesian leaders. Reports alleged that Australia used its embassy in Jakarta in the spying effort. President Yudhoyono had reacted angrily to the spying allegations at the time.


Newsline: Assange to Leave Embassy When ‘Siege’ Is Lifted

WikiLeaks website founder Julian Assange will leave the Embassy of Ecuador in London only when the cordon around the embassy is lifted, WikiLeaks spokesman and Assange’s lawyer Kristinn Hrafnsson said in an interview with RT. Assange is indeed planning to leave the embassy, but only if the British government “calls off the siege outside,” Hrafnsson said. In an interview with Fairfax Media, Assange said he awaits legal reforms in the United Kingdom that will help him find the proper solution to the threat of extradition to Sweden. Earlier the same day, the Wikileaks founder said he may soon leave Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has sought refuge for more than two years.


Newsline: Man Arrested for Shooting at Turkish Embassy in Moscow

Police have detained a man who opened fire on the Turkish Embassy in central Moscow on Monday morning, ITAR-Tass reported. The man, who fired two shots from a double-barreled hunting rifle at an embassy sign depicting the Turkish flag, was immediately detained by police officers guarding the embassy. No one was harmed in the incident, according to ITAR-Tass. Moskovsky Komsomolets identified the shooter as a 43-year-old Armenian businessman. The police had not commented on the identity of the shooter by the time of publication. While the shooter’s motives remain unclear, the strained relations between Turkey and Armenia over the recent exacerbation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh — a region that lies within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders but is populated by a large majority of Armenians — circulated Monday in the Russian press as a potential motive for the act. Rallies have also previously been held at and near Turkish embassies and consulates in Russia by representatives of the country’s extensive Armenian diaspora calling for Turkey to recognize as genocide the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman authorities in 1915 in what is modern-day Turkey. ITAR-Tass reported that police have opened a hooliganism case against the man, who currently remains in police custody. If charged and convicted, he faces up to five years in prison under Russian law.



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