Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US closes embassy in Tajikistan

The US embassy in Tajikistan‘s capital, Dushanbe, said Friday that it was closing until further notice after a series of incidents involving armed gunmen clashing with police. “Although the significance of these events is unclear, they may be precursors to other acts of violence,” the embassy said in a statement. “Official Americans have been advised to shelter in place and not send children to school today,” the statement added. “All US citizens are advised to exercise caution.” Media reports said that several police officers were killed by gunmen believed to be Islamists retaliating against a government crackdown on public displays of the religion.


Newsline: Russian Embassy in Tajikistan Boosts Security

The Russian Embassy in Tajikistan said Friday it had taken additional security measures following clashes between government forces and gunmen in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. “We have taken additional security measures to protect the embassy staff,” an embassy official told RIA Novosti. The diplomat also said no Russian nationals were injured in Friday clashes.


Newsline: Controversy At Libyan Embassy in Gambia

There was intense internal controversy among the diplomats at the Libyan embassy in Banjul over who is the legitimate ambassador representing the North African country in Gambia. There has been no stability at the embassy, as the ambassador, Dr. Ibrahim, refused to hand over to a successor, also called Dr. Ibrahim, as his replacement. The source further disclosed that the named successor is already in the country and that it is still uncertain as to whom of the two is the actual ambassador representing Libya in Gambia. The Gambian staff working at the embassy is asked to stay at home until the controversy is resolved. There is no consular activity currently going on at the embassy.


Newsline: Mexico Senate ratifies academic as next ambassador to US

Mexican lawmakers have confirmed a U.S.-based Mexican academic as the country’s next ambassador to the United States. The 98-3 vote in the Senate means Miguel Basanez becomes Mexico’s top envoy to its northern neighbor and main trade partner. Arguably Mexico’s most important diplomatic post, the office of ambassador to Washington had been vacant for five months before President Enrique Pena Nieto nominated Basanez in mid-August. Basanez is an expert on opinion polling and adjunct professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He was sworn in Wednesday at the Senate. About 11.4 million Mexican-born people live in the United States while some 1 million American citizens reside in Mexico, according to the Foreign Relations Department.


Newsline: Saudi Arabia Embassy seeks probe into abuse of Saudi family at airport in Turkey

The Saudi Embassy in Turkey has called for a thorough investigation into reports that a Saudi family was beaten up and abused at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul last week, Al-Hayat daily reported. The Saudi Embassy in Ankara said it had contacted the Turkish foreign minister with regard to the incident involving the family of Abdullah Al-Munaisir. The embassy also said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu reassured them that his government would look into the incident as “such an atrocity will not die down easily”. “The Turkish Ministry of Interior had quickly opened an investigation and has allowed the Saudi embassy to be involved. The Saudi Consulate in Istanbul followed up with the family and made sure they arrived in Saudi Arabia safely,” the embassy statement said.


Newsline: U.S. Embassy to Russia denies expansion of sanctions

Expansion of the list of entities on which restrictions of the U.S. Department of Commerce have been imposed does not expand sanctions over the Ukraine situation, the U.S. Embassy to Russia has said. “This action by the Commerce Department is not an expansion of our Russia/Ukraine-related sanctions; it is housekeeping to bring U.S. export controls into closer alignment with the OFAC sanctions announced on July 30. We refer you to the Commerce Department for more information,” Embassy press secretary William Stephens told Interfax on Sept. 2. “Today, the Department of Commerce made additions to its Entity List in order to align it with changes to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list made on July 30 in connection with Russia/Ukraine sanctions,” he said. “Parties on the Entity List are subject to a license requirement for exports, re-exports, and transfers (in-country) of all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations,” the Embassy press secretary said.


Newsline: Julian Assange’s plot to escape embassy in diplomatic bag

Ecuadorian officials considered to smuggle out Julian Assange from their London embassy in a diplomatic bag, wearing a fancy dress disguise. But escaping in a diplomatic bag – immune from search and confiscation only if it contains documents relating to embassy business – would be a serious breach of international law. The options for sneaking out the Wikileaks founder included scrambling across a rooftop to a helipad.



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