Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for April 23, 2012

Newsline: TNT used to bomb Israel embassy car

Nearly two months after the attack on an Israeli diplomat’s car on the high-security Aurangzeb Road in the Capital, the Delhi Police received the forensic report of the magnetic bomb used, which said that Trinitrotoluene (TNT), an explosive material, was used in the attack. The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) handed over the report to the Delhi Police. The CFSL had deputed its senior scientists for establishing the explosive material used in the terror incident, a first of its kind in which an envoy was targeted by assailants from a different country. The Delhi Police has named three Iranian suspects who reportedly carried out the attack on the Israeli diplomat on February 13 this year allegedly with the help of Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi who has already been arrested in the case. The report also talks about pieces having magnetic nature which could have been used by one of the Iranian suspects, Houshang Afshar Irani, for sticking the bomb on the envoy’s car which also left four others injured. “This report along with the CCTV footage and other evidence we have collected against the Iranian suspects will help us build a strong case against the three Iranian suspects who have already fled the country. A Delhi Police team will soon visit Iran and work with the investigating agencies to trace the three accused,” said a senior police officer.



Newsline: Kenya to reopen their embassy in Mogadishu

A high level delegation from the neighboring Kenya has on Sunday visited Somali capital, Mogadishu, a move that Nairobi wants to accelerate its military operations against Al shabab militants. The visiting delegation is led by the Kenya’s deputy foreign minter Richard Onyango has received at Mogadishu airport a cordial welcome from Somali officials and held talks at the state house, Villa Somalia with President Sharif Sheik Ahmed and other senior TFG authorities. Sources said Both Somali and Kenya officials discussed more range of issues including bilateral relationship between the two neighbouring countries and the battle against Al-Shabaab militant.


Newsline: 7 nations begin embassy in Nigeria building projects

Seven countries have begun building their permanent embassies at the Diplomatic Drive, a street allocated to them in Abuja. They are Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey, Benin Republic, Serbia and Cote d’Ivoire. The Iraqi Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ali Al-Amery, said the new embassy would be completed by April next year, adding that it would accommodate the consular office as well. The Ambassador of Serbia, Mr Rifat Rondic, gave early 2014 as the expected date of completion of the project which is being handled by Energo company, a Serbian firm. Investigation revealed that most of the embassy projects are being by indigenous construction companies. Some embassies — Ghana, China, the U.S., Niger, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cuba and Liberia — are already operating from the Diplomatic Drive. Others are Palestine, North Korea, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. South Africa, Pakistan, Italy and the Netherlands embassies operate from Constitution Avenue, an extension of the Diplomatic Drive. Also reports that apart from the embassies, the area also houses a government agency, a church and an automobile dealership and this has led to criticisms by security experts.


Commentary: Japan’s Cultural Diplomacy Future

Japan’s presence in the international community appears to be fading. Even during last year’s euro crisis, while China’s response drew much interest, there was almost no mention of Japan. This isn’t to say that Japan has completely disappeared from view. Despite its two “lost decades” and the grim circumstances surrounding last year’s earthquake and tsunami, no one doubts that Japan will recover. Japan’s standing as a stable, global and developed nation remains unchallenged. The problem is that Japan lacks self-awareness not only of its role as a global player, but also of its potential – not least in terms of cultural diplomacy. Yet utilizing this potential needs to be about more than creative content, which is after all just a form of commerce. And merely exporting creative content doesn’t necessarily equate to influence. Instead, Japan must look at the diplomatic options its culture offers, and there’s no arguably no better place to look to understand the potential than Europe, and specifically France. In Japanese diplomacy, PR and cultural activities are typically under the same umbrella. I experienced diplomacy in the field when I worked as a public relations and cultural affairs minister of the Japanese Embassy in France during a two-year secondment. My department had integrated its public relations and cultural affairs work, and while this was partly a manpower issue, it also stemmed from the traditional view that culture had little independence in diplomacy. The way the Japanese Foreign Ministry works, PR activities are described as either policy-oriented or general public relations work. As the name suggests, policy-oriented public relations involves public relations specific diplomatic issues. This is the main part of public diplomacy. On the other hand, general public relations seeks to have the intended audience become familiar with Japanese history, culture, society or lifestyle. As this also includes aspects of educational and awareness-raising activities, the term “educational public relations” is also used. As a result, educational and cultural activities are positioned as an area of public relations. Japanese should be proud of the fact that their culture has diplomatic applications. To have hard power you need to have soft power. In other words, setting aside military strength, Japan is highly regarded as an economic superpower and leading high-tech nation. This represents trust being placed in Japan, and is also a thumbs up for the Japan brand.