Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian diplomat, Tajik ambassador meet over Moscow protest

A Russian deputy foreign minister and Tajikistan’s ambassador have met to discuss the unrest in Moscow in which about 90 Tajiks were detained. On Wednesday hundreds of Tajiks protested outside a Moscow shopping center where security guards had severely beaten a Tajik worker. Police said 90 people were detained. Tajiks and migrants from other predominantly Muslim ex-Soviet republics flock to Russia for work, typically in low-paying jobs or manual work. Many Slavic Russians look down on the Central Asians and ethnic tensions are often high. On Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin met Tajik Ambassador Imomuddin Sattorov and “gave special attention to the incident occurring at the shopping center,” a ministry statement said.



Newsline: US embassy in Oman issues scam alert

The United States embassy in Muscat is warning people about a “potential scam” where emailers claim to represent the embassy. “WARNING — The U.S. Embassy has been made aware of a potential scam involving individuals purporting to represent the Embassy by soliciting purchase orders for solar generators,” the embassy reported in an online statement. “If your business receives a tender request from a ‘Michelle Collins, Embassy of the United States’ or from any of the following email addresses: usa@embassytenderdep.com or usa@embassytenders.com or info@embassytendersdep.com, please DO NOT ACT on this request and notify us immediately via email at: MuscatRSO@state.gov,” the embassy warned. “If you receive an email from any company or individual claiming to represent U.S. Embassy Muscat, be cautious. Particularly, if you receive an e-mail from a company or individual asking you to contact them and pay any money, be cautious. These messages are not from the Federal Government,” added the embassy. “Any official correspondence from the U.S. Embassy or an embassy official will be from a properly formatted U.S. Department of State email address ending in ‘@state.gov’ and will have a corresponding embassy telephone number with a local area code,” said the embassy online. “If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the embassy without a ‘state.gov’ email address and who asks for money, please contact MuscatRSO@state.gov immediately,” the embassy added.


Newsline: US embassy employee kidnapped, freed, in Venezuela

An employee of the US embassy in Caracas has been released after being kidnapped two days earlier by criminals demanding a ransom, police said. Police said the employee, a Venezuelan national identified as Kerbin Barazarte, 28 — whom they described as a security guard — had been released yesterday unharmed and without payment of a ransom. They said he was abducted while patrolling in a van near the embassy on Monday night. His captors, who were not identified, had demanded payment of USD 30,000 for his release. A colleague who was with him managed to evade the kidnappers, the police said. The interior ministry announced on Tuesday that the US embassy van had been recovered but that Barazarte was missing. Police gave no details of the circumstances of his release.

US embassy employee kidnapped, freed, in Venezuela: police

Newsline: Israel’s NY consulate briefly closed for 2nd time in 4 days over threat

The Israeli consulate in New York City was briefly closed with employees barred from leaving the premises, after an envelope with white powder was sent to the building along with a direct threat on the life of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior official told the Times of Israel. The substance was eventually determined to be harmless. It was the second such threat sent to the building in four days. The incident happened shortly after Netanyahu concluded a meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York and returned to his hotel room. The workers were waiting for the arrival of an NYPD sapper to check the envelope. Consul-General Dani Dayan was not in the building at the time.


Newsline: Philippine embassy in Mexico damaged by quake

There are no reports yet of any Filipino casualty in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico on Tuesday, September 19, but the quake has damaged the country’s embassy there, Malacañang said. “The Philippine embassy in Mexico City has been damaged by the earthquake. All our embassy officials and staff are safe, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement on Wednesday, September 20. Embassy personnel are continuously monitoring the situation and are coordinating with the Filipino community in Mexico. The earthquake has killed nearly 140 people after toppling buildings and sowing panic in the capital.


Newsline: Spain expels North Korean ambassador over nuclear stance

Spain ordered North Korea’s ambassador to leave the country by September 30 in protest over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests, which it has criticised as “a serious threat to peace”. “The ambassador of North Korea DPRK in Spain has been declared persona non grata,” the foreign ministry said on its English twitter account. The ministry added on its Spanish account that the ambassador has until the end of the month to leave the country. In late August, Spain had warned that Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes “create a serious threat to peace in the region and to global security,” saying they “would have consequences on bilateral relations”. The ambassador was also summoned to Madrid at the time and told to reduce the number of diplomatic staff, which include an ambassador and two diplomats, according to a foreign ministry spokeswoman. The North Korean embassy opened in 2014.


Newsline: Jordan king said to urge Israel to wrap up embassy shooting probe

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with representatives of American Jewish organizations in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reportedly chiding Israel over the pace of an investigation into a deadly shooting at the embassy in Amman in July. Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife Queen Raina, talked about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, stressing the important role US President Donald Trump and the US Jewish community play in the process, the royal court said in a statement. According to the Israeli Walla news website, Abdullah also told the participants, who were not identified in the report, that Israel must conclude an investigation into the deadly shooting of one of its citizens by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman. The guard, Ziv Moyal, was stabbed by a Jordanian on July 23, whereupon he shot and killed the attacker along with a bystander, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman. The entire embassy staff returned to Israel a day later, ater intensive diplomatic efforts to gain the guard’s release. Israel has launched a police probe into the deadly shooting but has yet to publicize its results. A source who was present at the meeting quoted Abdullah as saying he was pressing Israel to end the procedure soon — whether it finds Moyal guilty or innocent.