Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Chinese ambassador calls on Australia to drop ‘Cold War mentality’

China’s ambassador to Australia said on Tuesday “less bias and bigotry” was needed to repair bilateral relations amid concerns over Chinese influence in Australia and its use of loans to build leverage over poorer South Pacific island nations. “We need to see each other’s development and policy intentions from a more positive perspective with less Cold War mentality,” Cheng Jingye said in a speech to politicians and business leaders in Canberra. Relations between Canberra and Beijing have soured since Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused China late last year of meddling in domestic affairs, and as concern at China’s influence in the region has grown. Editorials in Chinese state media, including the China Daily and the Global Times, on Tuesday accused Australia of arrogance and taking a “distorted view on relations”.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-china-diplomacy/chinese-ambassador-calls-on-australia-to-drop-cold-war-mentality-idUSKBN1JF045

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Newsline: Sacked US Embassy guards in Cambodia stage protest

Almost three dozen security guards fired by the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia for allegedly sharing pornography on smartphones they used for work held a protest Tuesday demanding proper compensation from their former employer. The 32 protesting guards said they had been sacked without a full explanation and not according to the law, and placards they held complained of injustice. The protesters acknowledged that some pornographic images had been shared but argued that it had been on a private chat group they had set up on Facebook Messenger and not the official embassy chat group. Reports in Cambodia media had said some images featured people under the age of 18, but one placard declared the allegation unproven. A spokesman for the embassy, David Josar, said it did not comment on internal personnel matters but took the problem of child pornography seriously and also respected the right to peaceful protest. An embassy official accepted a petition from the group. The protesters claimed the phones at issue were their own property, not the embassy’s. They also accused the embassy of violating their rights by searching their phones. The guards said their terms of employment at the embassy ranged from five to 20 years. They said since they got fired in late March, they have filed several complaints with the embassy, but had not received a satisfactory response. Until the matter was fairly resolved, they said, they would continue to protest.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/sacked-us-embassy-guards-cambodia-stage-protest-55994165

Newsline: New Colombian president open to moving embassy to Jerusalem

The newly elected Colombian president said recently he would be open to moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, potentially becoming the fourth country, and third from Latin America, to do so. Conservative Ivan Duque won just over 54 percent of the vote, beating out leftist rival Gustavo Petro’s, who took 41.7% with nearly all the votes counted, electoral authority figures showed. On May 16, Duque said at a campaign event that if elected he would not rule out “the possibility of placing the diplomatic seat in Jerusalem.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/new-colombian-president-open-to-moving-embassy-to-jerusalem/

Newsline: Suicide attack close to Indian consulate in Afghanistan kills 14

Jalalabad, Afghanistan: A suicide attack in restive eastern Afghanistan on Sunday killed at least 14 people and wounded 45, an official said, the second attack in as many days to mark an unprecedented ceasefire. The explosion happened outside the Nangarhar provincial governor´s office in the capital Jalalabad, his spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. It was also close to the Indian consulate. Khogyani said 14 people had been killed and 45 wounded. An Afghan security source confirmed the suicide attack but gave a lower death toll of at least 10. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/330637-suicide-attack-close-to-indian-consulate-in-afghanistan-kills-14

Newsline: U.S. embassy receives ‘suspicious substance’ meant for ambassador to Canada

Officials at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa say they received an envelope containing a “suspicious substance” that was addressed to the U.S. ambassador to Canada. The envelope was received at an off-site mail screening facility in Ottawa, but the mailing address was the embassy, with Kelly Knight Craft’s name on it. “The substance was tested and found not to be harmful,” the embassy told CityNews. An embassy staff member was exposed to the substance and received precautionary medical attention and is fine. A spokesperson for the embassy wouldn’t provide more details since the incident is under investigation. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland tweeted about the incident, saying it is a “wholly unacceptable threat” and that Craft “does an essential and difficult job and Canada respects her service.” CTV reports that a death threat against Craft accompanied the substance, along with a threat to U.S. President Donald Trump.

https://www.680news.com/2018/06/15/u-s-embassy-receives-suspicious-substance-meant-ambassador-canada/

Newsline: Australia rules out moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Australia will not be following Donald Trump’s lead and moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Julie Bishop has said, despite strong support from the party’s base. The Liberal Party’s youth arm had called on the government to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s legislative capital, and to suspend all aid to Palestine “until it terminates its ‘Martyr’s fund”. The motion, which is non-binding, was carried in a vote 43 to 31, but the foreign minister said there was no chance the government would adopt it as policy. There are 110 council delegates who have voting rights at the national council. “While I understand the sentiment behind this resolution, the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem,” Bishop said. “Jerusalem is a final status issue and we have maintained that position for decades and we are doing all we can do to ensure that any support we give to the Palestinian Authority is only used for purposes that we determine.”

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/diplomacy/article/2151120/australia-rules-out-moving-its-israel-embassy-jerusalem-line-us

Newsline: ‘Ambassador Boris Becker’ aces creditors by claiming diplomatic immunity

Boris Becker has declared himself a diplomat for a small African country in a bid to stop creditors chasing him for millions in debts. The three-time Wimbledon tennis champion was declared bankrupt last summer and earlier this year launched an appeal to find his missing trophies to try to pay off £54 million of debts. The German is due to be one of the BBC’s commentators when the Wimbledon tennis championships start in a fortnight’s time. Now his lawyers have told the High Court that Becker quietly became a “sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs” attache for the Central African Republic on April 27. A defiant Becker said last night he was “immensely proud” of his new role – and attacked the “bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats” chasing him for money. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention, he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent. He cannot be sued for the cash without the consent of the Central African Republic, while legal claims can only be served on him through diplomatic channels. Any legal action would require the agreement of Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, as well as the Central African Republic’s foreign minister. Experts said that anyone could become a foreign diplomat if invited to do so by the country. Becker’s decision to become a diplomat could mean that none of the money he is expected to receive for commentating for the BBC at Wimbledon will go to his creditors.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/tennis/104742648/ambassador-boris-becker-aces-creditors-by-claiming-diplomatic-immunity