Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 19, 2013

Newsline: Israel warns EU ambassadors of serious crisis over new settlement guidelines

The Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of Britain and France and the deputy ambassador of Germany to discuss a new European Union ruling barring EU agencies from funding Israeli entities connected to West Bank settlements. The ambassadors were told their governments must act to deflect a serious crisis between Israel and the European Union, a senior Foreign Ministry source said. British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould denied a report in Thursday’s Haaretz which said that most EU diplomats had backed the new guidelines during discussions in Brussels in recent weeks. Haaretz also reported that the British delegate suggested the guidelines should be extended to every Israeli citizen living beyond the Green Line.


Newsline: Obama campaign bundler gets plum embassy post

President Obama on Thursday nominated a campaign bundler for U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, one year after the nominee withdrew from consideration amid charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest in Maryland. The president nominated Washington attorney Timothy M. Broas of Chevy Chase, who raised more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama’s reelection, to the plum diplomatic post. He is at least the 12th Obama campaign fundraiser nominated for an ambassadorship this year. Mr. Broas, who specializes in white-collar criminal defense work, had been nominated to the same post and was cleared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 19, 2012. But hours before the committee’s favorable action, police in Chevy Chase had pulled over Mr. Broas and charged him with attempting to drive under the influence of alcohol. He was ticketed for driving 47 mph in a 35 mph zone on Connecticut Avenue. The White House withdrew his nomination 10 days later. Mr. Broas is among an elite group of Obama fundraisers, having also raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for Mr. Obama’s first White House race in 2008.


Newsline: Czech envoy in Philippines to prove bribery claim

Malacanang told Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar on Friday to prove claims officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications asked executives of the Inekon Group for $30 million to bag a contract to supply trains for the Metro Rail Transit 3. “Give us the evidence and we will investigate …We are asking the Czech ambassador, as in any allegation, to give us the evidence,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a briefing aired over Radyo ng Bayan. At the same time, Lacierda cast doubs on the statement of Rychtar noting, among others, that the envoy’s claim, which came out in a report in the Philippine Star, that Inekon had been blacklisted for refusing to give in to the bribe demand in July last year was not true. The report said Rychtar, who accompanied Inekon representatives to the DOTC last year, advised them not to engage in corruption. The agency was then headed by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. From the original $30 million demand, the amount was reportedly whittled down to $2.5 million and when the Inekon executives still refused, their proposal was allegedly scuttled.