Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for July 1, 2014

Newsline: Senate Politics Leave 28 Countries With No U.S. Ambassador

The Senate just confirmed two new United States ambassadors to crucial posts – Iraq and Egypt. Two down, 49 to go. A backlog of nominees for ambassador positions across the world has been gathering dust in the Senate, including in countries and offices that Obama administration officials consider vital to U.S. security interests. Stewart said the Senate can’t act on nominations until they pass the Democrat-controlled Foreign Relations Committee, noting that the nominations for ambassadors to Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Honduras, Argentina, Korea, Algeria and Vietnam only made it out of the committee to await Senate confirmation this past week. The administration, he noted, hasn’t named a nominee for Romania, and has yet to finish paperwork for newly nominated ambassadors to France, Ireland and Slovenia. “That’s an issue for the administration/committee – not ‘obstruction,’” he said. Currently, the U.S doesn’t have an ambassador to Kuwait. That nomination has been waiting for confirmation by the Senate for more than 200 days. The Senate has yet to send a top U.S. diplomat to Niger, Cameroon and Mauritania.


Newsline: After 23 Years, China to Reopen Embassy in Somalia

China has announced that it will reopen its embassy in Somalia more than two decades after evacuating its diplomats from the East African country. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that Beijing would send a delegation to Somalia on July 1 to reopen the embassy, which was closed in 1991 following Somalia’s plunge into chaos. “Somalia has entered a new stage of its peace process,” Hong told reporters at a regular briefing, adding, “That brings a new opportunity for the development of China-Somalia relations.” He also noted that China’s reopening of the embassy in Somalia shows that his country “attaches great importance to relations with Somalia.” Earlier in June, the United States said that it would appoint an ambassador to Somalia 23 years after it closed its embassy in the Horn of Africa nation. Britain and Turkey have also opened their embassies in Somalia. Somalia has been the scene of clashes between government forces and al-Shabab fighters since 1991. The country did not have an effective central government until September 2012, when lawmakers elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president. China has made major investments in Africa, with Chinese companies constructing roads and other infrastructure in the continent. Official figures show that China-Africa trade reached USD210 billion in 2013.


Newsline: Obama sending 200 American troops to Iraq to secure US Embassy

President Obama announced that he is sending approximately 200 American troops to Iraq to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Baghdad International Airport, as the country wages a bloody battle against jihadists. The troops will serve a different mission in Iraq than the 275 advisory troops sent to Iraq earlier this month in response to advances by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS). The additional troops will serve to solely augment security. “The presence of these additional forces will help enable the Embassy to continue its critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraq on challenges they are facing as they confront (ISIS),” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. Obama notified House and Senate leaders in a letter on Monday. Obama said the additions include security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Obama said the troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed.