Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 27, 2013

Newsline: Bomb blast near Turkish Embassy kills two in Somali capital

A powerful bomb explosion has rocked a building housing Turkish Embassy staff in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured, security sources say. The casualties come after a car loaded with explosives rammed into the gates of an office housing Turkish Embassy staff in the Somali capital. “A suicide car bomb targeted a building housing Turkish Embassy workers near k4 Kilometer Four). So far two people dead,” Reuters quoted a police officer as saying. The attack comes weeks after 15 people were killed in an attack on the main UN compound in the Somali capital. Local security officials said the bomber blew up explosives at the entrance gate of the UN Development Program (UNDP) office on June 19, 2013


Newsline: Canadian Diplomats Strike At 15 Embassies After Negotiations Fail

Canada’s striking foreign-service officers have escalated their job action to 15 major embassies after an attempt to seek binding arbitration with the federal government broke down Friday. The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers accused Treasury Board President Tony Clement of negotiating in bad faith for insisting on a series of preconditions before agreeing to binding arbitration. The union said Friday it will withdraw services at the 15 largest visa-processing centres in Canadian foreign missions, up from the three it had previously been targeting. In addition to Beijing, Mexico City and New Delhi, the striking officers say they will also take aim at London, Paris, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, among others. The union wants wage parity with counterparts in other federal departments who the union says make as much as $14,000 more for doing similar work. Friday’s developments escalated the war of words between the small but vocal union and the outspoken Clement and set the stage for a job action that could last into the fall. The job action has hurt tourism and the number of foreign students coming to Canada to study in the fall because of backlogs in processing visa applications. Tourism groups have estimated that the strike could cost the industry $280 million this summer. The union has said that visa processing dropped 65 per cent in June at the three major processing centres targeted so far by the strike.


Newsline: Philippines’ Aquino names 9 new envoys

President Aquino has appointed nine new ambassadors, including Cecilia Rebong as the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Rebong, a former consul general in New York City, previously worked as chief coordinator at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Also appointed were Ambassador Maria Rowena Sanchez to represent the country in Turkey with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Azerbaijan and Ambassador Victoriano Lecaros who will lead the mission in Czech Republic. The President also designated Maria Theresa Lazaro as the country’s ambassador to French Republic with jurisdiction over Monaco; Victor Ledda as ambassador to The Netherlands; and Catalino Dilem Jr. as ambassador to United Mexican States. Other appointees were Narciso Castañeda as Philippine ambassador to Oman, Edsel Barba as ambassador to Iraq, and Vicente Vivencio Bandillo as ambassador to Bangladesh. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. has been given an additional assignment with concurrent jurisdiction over Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Haiti, according to deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte. Cuisia already has concurrent jurisdiction over the US Virgin Islands, Granada, and Puerto Rico.


Newsline: Embassy of Netherlands in Kenya Warns of Attacks on Foreigners

The Dutch embassy in Kenya has warned of a possible attack against foreigners, shortly after police in the east African country discovered a large quantity of explosives on a bus in the capital Nairobi. Kenya has seen a series of grenade and gun attacks since October 2011, when its troops went into neighboring Somalia in pursuit of al Qaeda-linked insurgents it blames for kidnapping security personnel and Western tourists from its territory. Kenyan police said they had discovered 403 rolls of ammonium nitrate explosives inside boxes apparently containing books on a bus in Nairobi, but had few details about who was behind the parcels. Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said some embassies had been spooked by the discovery, but he was adamant that there was no threat to foreigners in Kenya. The Dutch embassy issued a security warning evening advising its residents to stay away from places where foreigners congregate. “We advise you throughout Kenya to be extra vigilant and to avoid such places,” the embassy said. A spokeswoman for the Dutch embassy in Nairobi confirmed the warning was sent to Dutch citizens living in Kenya, but could not provide any extra information.