Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 20, 2011

Newsline: Israel Reoccupies Embassy in Cairo

The Israeli Embassy here appeared to reopen, ending a 10-day shutdown after a mob broke into the building and its staff was hastily withdrawn. A newly reinforced phalanx of dozens of heavily armed soldiers and police officers stood guard outside the building on Monday evening, and lights were on inside the offices. Soldiers outside said the embassy was occupied again, and a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said four diplomats, not including the ambassador, had returned to Cairo, though some news reports said they would work in new quarters. Officials in both governments have been eager to reopen the embassy in order to reaffirm the peace agreement that is a cornerstone of their mutual security. For Israel, some Israeli officials said, maintaining their strategic alliance with Egypt was becoming more important than ever because of the many other challenges emerging from the Arab Spring democracy movements, from the Palestinian appeal to the United Nations for statehood to the prospect of civil war in neighboring Syria. Israeli officials said as early as the day of the evacuation that they looked forward to returning their diplomats as soon as new security arrangements were made.




Newsline: Pakistan denies Afghan attacks involvement

The United States should focus on defeating Muslim militant enemies inside Afghanistan instead of blaming Pakistan for its failure, Pakistani officials said.Washington accused Pakistan on Saturday of having links to the Haqqani network, whichWashingtonblames for an attack on the US Embassy and other targets in Kabul, and said the government inIslamabadmust cut those ties. “Whenever big attacks in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan take place this blame game starts,” a senior military official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. “Instead of blaming us, they should take action against terrorists on their side of the border.” Washington has long blamed militants sheltering inPakistanfor violence in Afghanistan. Islamabad says its forces are taking high casualties fighting insurgents and bristles at any suggestion it provides support for fighters. Insurgents in a bomb-laden truck occupied a building in Kabul last week, raining rockets and gunfire on the US Embassy and other targets in the diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital, and battled police during a 20 hour siege. Five Afghan police and 11 civilians were killed.



Newsline: British embassy wall collapse victims’ kin seek compensation

Angry protesters sought compensation from the British Embassy in Kathmandu after the perimeter wall of the embassy collapsed during the previous night’s earthquake, killing three people, including a girl. Locals and relatives of the three killed as well as people from Gorkha district in western Nepal, the home of two of them, assembled before the British Embassy in the Lainchaur area of the capital, demanding compensation. The anger was fuelled after the guards at the embassy prevented locals from conducting rescue operations on their own immediately after the nearly nine-foot wall collapsed Sunday and the search and rescue began in full swing only after the arrival of the army and armed police force personnel. The British Embassy issued a statement, saying it regretted the deaths. It said the British Ambassador, John Tucknott, met with relatives of the victims Monday morning. Sources said the embassy had agreed to pay up to 50,000 pounds as compensation for all the three victims but had said the negotiations should be made through theNepalgovernment. The wall collapse occurred close on the heels of reports in the media about the British government’s foreign aid wing, the International Development Department, having spent 32,000 pounds to safeguard the residence of its chief in Nepal against earthquakes and on renovations. Nepal, along with India and Tibet, was hit by an earthquake Sunday measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in northeastern India’s Sikkim state. Nearly 50 people have perished so far in the three countries.