Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US diplomat in China shows symptoms of ‘mild’ brain injury

A US government employee in southern China has shown signs of a “mild traumatic brain injury” after reporting abnormal sounds and air pressure in a case that recalls the mystery illness that hit American diplomats serving in Cuba. In an emailed notice to American citizens in China on Wednesday, the State Department said it was not currently known what had caused the symptoms in the staff member, who is based in the US consulate in Guangzhou. “A US government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” the notice said. “The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event.” Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing, said that between late 2017 and April 2018, a US government employee assigned to Guangzhou reported a variety of physical symptoms. “The employee was sent to the US for further evaluation,” Lee said. “On May 18, 2018 the embassy learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury. “The US State Department is taking the incident very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact of the incident.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2147448/us-diplomat-china-reports-mystery-symptoms-case-echoes

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Newsline: Angola fires diplomats for attending Jerusalem event on eve of US embassy move

Angola fired two senior diplomats after one of them attended an event celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last week, state-run media said. Angola’s Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto dismissed João Diogo Fortunato, a senior adviser and the number 2 figure in the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to Angolan state-run media. Augusto also fired the director for Africa, Middle East and Regional Organizations in the Luanda foreign ministry, Joaquim do Espírito Santo, who authorized Fortunato’s attendance at the May 13 party in Jerusalem. Fortunato was one of twelve envoys from African countries and one of 33 ambassadors and chargés d’affaires to participate in an event organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to celebrate the next day’s US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/angola-fires-diplomats-over-attendance-at-event-for-us-embassy-move/

Newsline: US to retaliate for Venezuela expulsion of diplomat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will respond reciprocally to President Nicolas Maduro’s expulsion of the top American diplomat in Venezuela. Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the State Department received formal notice Wednesday that charge d’affaires Todd Robinson had been declared persona non grata. He said the U.S. would act in kind, suggesting it would remove Venezuela’s top diplomat in Washington as well. Maduro said Tuesday he was expelling Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo for allegedly conspiring against his government by pressuring opposition groups to boycott Sunday’s presidential election that he won by a landslide. He gave the two career diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. Venezuela and the U.S. haven’t exchanged ambassadors since 2010.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuelan-president-expels-top-us-diplomat-amid-tensions/2018/05/22/fb4caaa6-5e23-11e8-b656-236c6214ef01_story.html?utm_term=.de2d79b4e374

Newsline: Venezuelan president expels top US diplomat

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said he was expelling the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for allegedly conspiring against his government and trying to sabotage the country’s recent presidential election. “The empire doesn’t dominate us here,” Maduro said in a televised address, giving charge d’affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo 48 hours to leave the country. “We’ve had enough of your conspiring.” Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have mounted following Maduro’s victory in presidential elections on Sunday, a vote the White House has branded a “sham.”

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuelan-president-expels-top-us-diplomat-55357211

Newsline: Sudan summons Egypt ambassador over ‘insulting’ TV series

Sudan has summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Khartoum to complain about a TV series that portrays Egyptian rebel fighters living in the neighbouring country. The Sudanese foreign ministry said on Saturday that the Ramadan series, titled Abu Amr al-Masry, broadcasted by ON TV satellite channel, is “insulting to Egyptians living in Sudan and destroying the confidence and relations between the people of the two countries”. It urged Egypt to “stop attempts at disturbing the interests of the two countries”.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/sudan-summons-egypt-ambassador-insulting-tv-series-180520095212783.html

Newsline: Spanish ambassador to Israel reprimanded

Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Spanish ambassador to Israel for a reprimand. The reprimand was issued in response to Spain’s vote at the UN Human Rights Council in favor of an investigation into Israel’s response to the violent riots in Gaza last Monday. The Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director-General for Europe Rodica Gordon delivered the reprimand to the Spanish ambassador. Gordon stated that that Spain’s vote “is contrary to the warm relations between the two countries as reflected on the Israeli side.” Earlier, the Slovenian and Croatian ambassadors received similar reprimands.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/246239

Newsline: Paraguay president inaugurates Israel embassy in Jerusalem

Paraguay opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem, the second country to follow the United States in making the politically sensitive move from Tel Aviv. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony on Monday. The US relocated its embassy to Jerusalem a week ago, drawing Palestinian and international anger, and was followed by Guatemala on Wednesday.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/paraguay-president-inaugurates-israel-embassy-jerusalem-180521093516971.html