Archive for Spain
The Spanish Ambassador to Zimbabwe has been killed in a car crash while on a visit to Namibia on Monday. The Spanish embassy announced on Tuesday Ambassador Pilar Fuertes Ferragut who doubled up as the Spanish envoy to Zambia and Malawi died in a fatal accident. “The Spanish Embassy wishes to inform you of the tragic passing away of H.E. Pilar Fuertes Ferragut… in a car accident on Monday afternoon,” said a statement signed by embassy official Romée Fisher. The statement added that “all cultural activities of the Embassy of Spain have been cancelled until further notice.” Ambassador Ferragut was accredited to Zimbabwe in March 2009.
In Madrid Spain’s foreign ministry said it intends to close its embassy in Syria to protest brutalities carried out by Assad’s government. Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Spain is aiming to shut the embassy as soon as Tuesday, but the decision depends on the outcome of a meeting of the European Union’s Political and Security Committee in Brussels. He said Spain would maintain two or three diplomats in Syria as part of the EU delegation. Spain recalled its ambassador to Syria last month. Britain, Canada, France, and the United States have already closed their embassies in Damascus.
A Slovenian prosecutor has charged the country’s former ambassador to Spain with sexually abusing his three daughters. Slavko Ozbolt, the prosecutor in the coastal town of Koper, said Tuesday that details from the indictment could not be revealed. Peter Reberc — who faces up to eight years in prison if convicted — is charged with repeatedly abusing his daughters between 2005-2007, when two of them were under 15 years old. The report says Reberc’s wife reported him to the police. Reberc, a former politician, became ambassador to Spain in 2008, but was fired from the foreign ministry in 2010 for allegedly embezzling embassy funds.
Spain and Italy on Tuesday recalled their ambassadors to Syria for consultation in light of latest political events in that country. Spain announced that it has recalled ambassador Julio Albi for consultations over state of insecurity and exacerbate violence against civilians in Syria. Also, Spanish minister of foreign affairs Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will summon Syrian ambassador in Madrid to hand him a condemnation letter to the actions of Syrian regime’s armed forces, added the statement. In the same context, Italian minister of foreign affairs Giulio Terzi said, in an official statement, that his country had recalled its ambassador to Syria for consultation, noting that the Italian embassy in Damascus would still be operating in order to help its citizens residing in Syria and follow the latest updates on current political crisis. Also, the statement noted that the Italian government summoned the Syrian ambassador late evening on Monday to express the strongest condemnation and disappointment of the “unacceptable” violence that the regime was using against civilians.
A group of Spanish activists from an international flotilla banned by Greek officials from setting sail for the Gaza Strip continued to occupy their country’s embassy in Athens for a second straight day Wednesday, embassy officials said. Embassy officials said four activists were currently inside the embassy as part of a ‘symbolic occupation,’ while another 17 were gathered at the entrance outside. The activists had draped a Palestinian flag from one of the embassy’s balconies. The group of 21 Spanish activists are from the Spanish boat Gernica, which has been docked on the southern Mediterranean island of Crete for the past few weeks, awaiting an opportunity to sail. The Spanish activists insist they will continue to ‘peacefully’ occupy the premises of the embassy until their government asks Greek authorities to allow them to sail to Gaza. Greek authorities have banned a 10-vessel flotilla, loaded with aid and carrying several hundred pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries – including Greece, Canada, France, Spain and the United States – from sailing towards Gaza.
A Spanish diplomatic vehicle was involved in a two-kilometer, multiple-hit-and-run rampage in Itaewon, Seoul, injuring three police officers, police said. According to the National Police Agency, the husband of a Spanish Embassy official was driving a blackVeracruz, a private vehicle registered under the embassy, when he hit a guard post, a patrol car and five civilian vehicles. The man, identified by his first initial C, was reportedly screaming and causing a scene in front of the Spanish Embassy before the incidents, which embassy officials notified to the police. The 42-year-old man then drove his vehicle into a parked civilian vehicle and a sentry post at the Iranian Residence at about12:30 p.m., shattering the glass. A guard at the post was injured by some of the shards. The man then reversed down an alleyway at 60 kilometers per hour, smashing into a patrol car responding to the scene and pushing it nearly 15 meters. The two officers in the vehicle were left with bruises. C continued another 1.2 kilometers downItaewon Culture Street, sideswiping four other vehicles in transit on the other side of the road. He then got out of his vehicle and ran on foot to the Hamilton Hotel, some 300 meters away before being apprehended by two officers in front of the hotel. After further investigation, police found the man was not under the influence of alcohol.
Two Spanish banks have frozen the bank account of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s embassy in Madrid. Banco Santander has notified the Iranian embassy officials to withdraw the embassy’s money from the bank within maximum one month. Following the withdrawal of the money, the embassy’s account was blocked. The Iranian embassy officials then went ahead to open a new account with a branch of la Caixa. However, la Caixa also stopped all the banking transactions with the embassy’s account last Friday and finally froze it on Monday. The freezing of the embassy’s accounts has caused many problems for the Iranians. The two banks’ officials have announced that they took the actions due to the sanctions imposed against Iran. The banks have so far not frozen the Iranians’ personal accounts, including the Madrid embassy staffs. However, they have made the opening of any new account for Iranians contingent upon the authorization of the country’s High Banking Council and, eventually, all such requests are rejected.
Iran has apologized to Spain for the arrest of its consular representative in Tehran, ending a ‘serious diplomatic incident,’ Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said Friday. Jimenez said she had received a phone call from her Iranian counterpart Ali-Akbar Salehi. Spain had threatened to recall its ambassador to Iran for consultations unless Tehran apologized for the arrest of Ignacio Perez-Cambra after he took a walk in an area where anti-government protesters were staging a rally on Monday. The Spaniard was held for over four hours without being told what he was accused of. Salehi apologized for Iranian police having unknowingly violated the Vienna Convention regulating diplomatic relations, Jimenez said. Iran was investigating who was responsible for Perez-Cambra’s arrest.
Spain says it might recall its ambassador to Iran for consultations, unless Iran explains and apologizes for the detention of a Spanish diplomat amid street protests. Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez told reporters the government might take this step if Iran does not apologize in two days or so. ‘This is a very serious and unacceptable incident,’ she said. Ignacio Perez Cambra, the No. 3 diplomat at the Spanish Embassy in Tehran, was held in a police station for four hours Monday, while tens of thousands of people attended an opposition-led rally in Tehran, a ministry official said. Jimenez said arresting diplomats is illegal under international conventions, and that Perez Cambra had identified himself. She said Spain on Monday summoned the Iranian ambassador in Madrid for an explanation, but the ambassador said he knew nothing about the detention. The ministry official could not confirm Spanish media reports that Perez Cambra had been watching the opposition rally with the Spanish ambassador and was detained as he returned to the embassy.
Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on that Spain and Russia had been in a serious diplomatic spat resulting in a tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats. The Spanish Foreign Ministry later confirmed that it had expelled two Russian diplomats one month ago, leading to Moscow sending away two Spanish diplomats in response. Madrid asked the two Russian embassy staff members to leave Spain for “engaging in activities incompatible with their status,” the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. In diplomatic language a statement like this usually is an allegation of espionage. The Spanish secret service reportedly found evidence that the two had been spying. “In retaliation,” Russia expelled two Spanish diplomats, the ministry statement continued. The incident is one of the most serious between the two nations since Moscow restored diplomatic relations with Madrid in 1977 after a 38-year break during the rein of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Moscow on Tuesday declined to comment on the incident. Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez is scheduled to meet with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on January 16 to try and smooth things over. Last week London requested the departure of a Russian diplomat accused of activities against British interests. Russia then expelled a British diplomat, saying the spat was groundless, but that it had been forced to respond in kind.