Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Protesters Converge On Russian Embassy In Malaysia

Protesters marched on the Russian embassy at Menara Tan & Tan in Kuala Lumpur earlier today, waving placards and demanding justice for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down over eastern Ukraine last week. The rally of some 100 protesters was organised by UMNO Youth. The protesters demanded that authorities catch whoever was responsible for downing the passenger jet in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people. An unnamed Russian Embassy official said that staff members had been ordered to stay within the embassy compound. UMNO Youth had earlier announced that they were going to march on both Ukrainian and Russian embassies to pressure both governments to grant safe passage to the site.


Newsline: US Embassy apologizes to Ghana president after critical tweet

The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is apologizing after a staff member sent what’s being described as “an errant tweet” criticizing the president from the official Embassy Twitter account. Ghanaian President John Mahama had tweeted about the country’s financial woes, saying that “as a people, we have had to make sacrifices” and that the results of those cutbacks would start to show soon. A post from the U.S. Embassy’s Twitter account later retorted to the president: “And what sacrifices are you making?” In an apology, the U.S. Embassy in Accra says it has apologized to Ghana’s president and is also apologizing to the Ghanaian people. It says that an embassy staff member mixed up a personal Twitter account with that of the embassy’s.


Newsline: Philippine Embassy says militants beheaded construction worker in Libya, starts mass evacuation

A Filipino construction worker in Libya was beheaded by militants in Benghazi, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. He is the first Filipino casualty in Libya since the civil strife in the North African state erupted anew and since the first civil war that toppled the regime of Libyan strongman Moammar Ghadafi in 2011, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told a press briefing. Citing the report of the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli and Filipino community members, Jose said the Filipino, whose identity he refused to disclose, was kidnapped by armed men on July 15 and was subsequently beheaded in Benghazi. His remains were found at a hospital on July 20. Libya is currently in a state of civil war. The Philippine government is currently enforcing the mass evacuation of around 13,000 Filipinos there. The Philippine government has identified Egypt or Tunisia as exit routes for the Filipinos. As of Monday, 207 Filipinos have registered for evacuation and will be flown to Manila as soon as the Philippine embassy there has completed their travel requirements, Jose said.


Newsline: Jordanians Call for More Rockets Near Israeli Embassy

Hundreds of mainly Islamist Jordanian protesters burnt Israeli flags in Amman on Sunday, as demonstrators called on Hamas to step up rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities to avenge civilian deaths caused by Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. According to the Reuters news agency, demonstrators near the Israeli embassy in Amman chanted “Death to Israel” in one of the biggest public outpourings of anger against Israel in the last few years. Jordan is one of only two Arab states, the other being Egypt, to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Nevertheless, the treaty has never won much domestic favor and there have been protests against Israel over the years. In 2011, Israel temporarily evacuated its embassy in Amman after calls by Jordanian activists for a ‘million man march’ near the embassy building.


Newsline: Egypt summons Turkish envoy over Gaza criticism

Egypt on Sunday summoned Turkey’s charge d’affaires over criticism of Cairo’s handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires to lodge Egypt’s rejection and resentment over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comment, slamming Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as an illegitimate tyrant. Erdogan also said that Egypt could not be relied upon to negotiate a ceasefire with Israel. Turkey and Egypt withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Egyptian Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Turkey’s government has had a strained relationship with Egypt since the ouster of Morsi. The spat between Ankara and Cairo came to a head in November when Egypt’s military rulers expelled Turkey’s ambassador over Erdogan’s support for Morsi, prompting a tit-for-tat response from the Turkish government.


Newsline: DC mourners march from Embassy of the Netherlands to Malaysia Embassy

People in the District hit the streets to mourn the 298 lives lost in Thursday’s deadly plane crash in the Ukraine. A candlelight vigil and march from the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Malaysia Embassy paid tribute to each innocent life cut short. The march was a silent, solemn walk of remembrance. Through candles and flowers, mourners found a way to honor the 298 individuals who perished aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


Newsline: US says diplomatic incident has developed closer ties with India

The US has said the aftermath of last year’s Khobragade incident has led to the development of closer ties and closer communication with India. “I think that despite the fact that we had this very uncomfortable and unfortunate situation that we had to work through, at the end of the day I think we have developed closer ties and closer communication with our two systems as a result,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal said. We have certainly spent many, many long hours discussing with our Indian colleagues ways to ensure that we have greater understandings and greater clarity about our expectations of each other under each other’s laws and under each other’s systems, she said. Ms Khobragade, a 1999 India Foreign Service officer and mother of two daughters has now returned to India. However, the US has still not withdrawn the allegations against her. Both Ms Khobragade and the Indian Government has denied those charges. Ms Khobragade’s arrest, particularly reports that she was handcuffed in front of her children’s school and strip-searched while in detention, infuriated the Indian public. Washington, for its part, was taken aback by the fierce Indian reaction, which included withdrawing diplomatic privileges for US diplomats and removing security barriers at the US embassy in New Delh.


Newsline: Ukrainians Pay Tribute At Dutch Embassy In Kiev

Ukrainians turned out at the Dutch embassy in Kiev to pay tribute to the hundreds of people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. A somber crowd of mourners presented wreaths and messages outside the embassy. One took the moment to make a political statement with a sign that read: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a terrorist.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ordered all Dutch flags to fly at half-mast following the tragedy. “The whole of the Netherlands is in mourning,” Rutte said. Coming just months after Flight MH370 disappeared on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, this is the second loss for Malaysia Airlines in a year. Reports differ on the number of passengers on board the plane. Reuters has reported that 295 people on board the plane have been killed while Associated Press has put the number at 298.


Newsline: Mourners lay flowers outside Malaysian embassy in Moscow

Russians continue bringing flowers to the Embassy of Malaysia in Moscow to remember the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in eastern Ukraine. Moscow citizens and visitors place roses, chrysanthemums and carnations outside the embassy. People light candles and bring plush toys. Employees of other countries’ embassies located in the vicinity also paid their respects to the hundreds of people killed.


Newsline: Israel Pulls Diplomatic Staff from Turkey Over Violent Rioting

Violent protests erupted at the Israeli embassies in Istanbul and Ankara on Thursday night, with throngs of shrieking Turkish demonstrators hurling rocks at the embassy and at staff, screaming hate slurs, and waving pro-Palestinian flags and banners. Hundreds of protesters attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul while similar numbers sought to break into the residence of the ambassador in Ankara. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to halt the protests in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning but in Ankara they stood on the sidelines. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Friday that he would be retracting much of the Israeli embassy staff in Turkey following the senseless riots, citing safety concerns and growing anti-Israel incitement from the Turkish leadership. The move follows a number of inflammatory and anti-Semitic hate slurs from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has become increasingly vocal against Israel. Erdogan has threatened to end the normalization process with Israel over “state terrorism.”



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