US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Monday that the United States and almost 40 other nations would not participate in the first-ever talks on an international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Flanked by ambassadors from about 20 nations, including nuclear powers United Kingdom and France, Haley couched the decision not to attend the talks, which began Monday, in personal terms. As a mom and daughter, “there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons,” the former South Carolina governor said. “But we have to be realistic.” “Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?” Haley asked. President Barack Obama’s administration also opposed the talks, which the General Assembly voted to approve in December, and nuclear powers Russia and China also are not taking part. United Kingdom Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said his country also would not attend the talks because “we do not believe that those negotiations will lead to effective progress on global nuclear disarmament.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Ankara over a protest in Bern targeting Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The protest had Kurdish groups among its organizers. The ambassador, Walter Haffner, was told that Turkey expects the Swiss authorities to bring the organizers of the protest to justice and to prevent such “incidents” in the future. “We are protesting this rally that explicitly promoted violence and terrorism and has been permitted, and we ask Switzerland to take immediate legal action against this offense,” the ministry said in a statement, as cited by the Turkey’s Hurriyet daily. The demonstration, which was held in central Bern, was attended by some 3,000-3,500 people, the Swiss media report, citing the event’s organizers. The protesters marched through the city center and then held a rally in front of the federal parliament building. They were chanting anti-Erdogan slogans and were holding numerous placards that read, “For Democracy in Turkey.”
Malaysian police on Sunday entered the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur in connection with last month’s murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, according to China Press, a Malaysian Chinese-language newspaper. Four police officers, including the investigating officer of the murder, the Selangor state police chief and Selangor prosecution team officer, entered the embassy in the morning and were there for two and a half hours, the China Press said, adding they were granted permission by the embassy to enter. The entry indicates that a preliminary agreement may have been reached on processing the body of Kim Jong-nam, and on the recording of statements of three suspected accomplices in the murder believed to be hiding in the embassy, according to the report. One of the three is Hyon Kwang-song, 44, the second secretary of the embassy. Malaysian officials indicated that talks with North Korea on thorny affairs plaguing bilateral relations following murder could wrap up “very soon.” The remarks follow reports Saturday that former North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Ri Tong-il has returned to the Malaysian capital.
Tunisia’s government has summoned the British ambassador to protest against a decision to restrict carry-on electronic goods on flights from Tunisia, the Foreign Ministry said. Britain announced that from Saturday it would ban passengers from carrying some phones, laptops and tablets on flights from six countries in the Middle East including Tunisia. Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the British decision was “unjustified” and did not reflect an improved security situation in Tunisia. “Tunisia is surprised by this decision, which was taken without consultation with the Tunisian authorities or informing them in advance,” the statement said. Tunisia has been working to contain a threat from Islamist militants after three major attacks claimed by Islamic State in 2015, including two targeting foreign tourists. The United States imposed similar restrictions on planes coming from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified security threats. The U.S. restrictions did not include Tunisia.
The man who killed four people outside Britain’s Parliament was in Saudi Arabia three times and taught English there, the Middle Eastern country’s embassy said. A Saudi Embassy statement released late Friday said that Khalid Masood taught English in Saudi Arabia from November 2005 to November 2006 and again from April 2008 to April 2009. The embassy said that he had a work visa. It said he returned for six days in March 2015 on a trip booked through an approved travel agent. The Saudi Embassy said that he wasn’t tracked by the country’s security services and didn’t have a criminal record there.
New Zealand has announced plans to open its first embassy in Dublin. At present, the country is represented here by the New Zealand High Commission in London. However, there is a New Zealand Honorary Consulate-General in the capital. An estimated 14,000 Irish-born people live in New Zealand, while approximately one-in-six New Zealanders claim Irish heritage – out of a total population of 4.7 million.
The site of the Australian embassy in Sathorn area, almost eight rai of land, is being offered for sale by expression of interest, according to the appointed sole agent JLL. The compound covers 12,728 square metres of freehold land on South Sathorn Road, one of Bangkok’s prime commercial and residential addresses. The closing date for offers is early June.