Archive for February, 2017
France has replaced its ambassador Charles Malinas to the Czech Republic, who held the post from last August, with Roland Galharague, who was appointed on February 10, according to the embassy’s Internet page. Mondafrique server puts the change in connection with a scandal with the granting of French visas to the citizens of the Central African Republic, where Malinas was ambassador before he was moved to Prague. According to the server, the French embassy issued hundreds of visas to Central Africans without checking them duly. The case was uncovered a few months ago when the French anti-terrorism forces detained a group of radical Muslims, who arrived in France from the Central African Republic. It writes that the practice was covered up personally by Malians and that the French Foreign Ministry is investigating the case. It is not ruled out that Malinas sought personal enrichment. He had to leave Prague in December already. Malinas officially assumed the post last October.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has introduced legislation to name the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington Boris Nemtsov Place in honor of the slain opposition politician. Rubio (Republican-Florida) proposed the bill on February 27, two years after Nemtsov was shot dead on a bridge near the Kremlin. Rubio, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said that Nemtsov “was just one of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s critics who have wound up dead or hospitalized as the regime cracks down on any opposition.” “The creation of ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’ would permanently remind Putin’s regime and the Russian people that these dissidents’ voices live on, and that defenders of liberty will not be silenced,” Rubio said in a statement. “Whether it is looking at a street sign or thousands of pieces of correspondence addressed ’1 Boris Nemtsov Plaza,’ it will be abundantly clear to the Kremlin that the intimidation and murder of opposition figures does not go unnoticed.” For Rubio’s resolution to become U.S. law, it must be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.
China’s top diplomat will soon be in the United States (US) on the first official visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office, amid signs of strain in ties over trade relations and growing tension in east Asia. State Councillor Yang Jiechi will be in Washington for two days beginning Monday. He will exchange views with senior Trump administration officials on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. Yang, the top diplomat in Chinese political hierarchy who has served as ambassador to Washington, is the first senior official from China to visit the US since Trump took office on January 20. And it comes after Trump agreed to “honour” the ‘One China’ policy, which considers Taiwan part of China, during a telephonic conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 10, retracting from his previous public stance that he would negotiate the policy. The future of US-China ties remain uncertain after Trump accused the world’s second-largest economy of cheating at trade and repeatedly called it a “currency manipulator”. Trump has also slammed China over its assertive moves in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), where Beijing has built islands that can potentially be used for military purposes.
India’s top diplomat will visit Washington this week for talks with the new US administration, an Indian foreign ministry official said Sunday. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is expected to discuss with American officials India’s concerns over proposed US legislation that could make it harder for companies to replace American workers with those from India and other countries. Also on the agenda during Jaishankar’s four-day visit, which begins Tuesday, is safety for foreigners following a Kansas City bar shooting that killed an Indian engineer and wounded another. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup did not give details Sunday, but news reports said Jaishankar would meet with US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Tom Shannon and other officials.
A lawyer representing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that there was a “great concern” that a new Ecuadorian President could force him out of the country’s London embassy, the media reported on Sunday. Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso. Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office. “We are preparing potential legal remedies should the opposition come to power in Ecuador,” Jennifer Robinson, a member of the legal team representing Assange and Wikileaks, told NBC News. “You don’t change asylum protections just because a change of government,” she added. Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador in 2012, and has been sheltering in the country’s UK embassy since then, in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. The whistleblower said he fears Swedish authorities could deport him to the US, where he argues his work with Wikileaks could earn him life in prison or even the death penalty.
Malaysia said it will issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong-nam if he doesn’t voluntarily cooperate with the police. “Reasonable” time will be given for the diplomat to come forward before police take further action, said Selangor police chief Datuk Seri Abdul Samah Mat. On Wednesday, Malaysia said 44-year-old Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the North Korean embassy here, was wanted for questioning over the death of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Abdul Samah said if the person concerned did not cooperate, the police would issue a notice under Malaysian law, “compelling” him to appear before the investigation team. “And if he fails to turn up upon given this notice, then we will go to the next step by getting a warrant of arrest from the court,” he told reporters. Eight North Koreans are wanted in connection with the case, including the diplomat. One has been detained by Malaysian police, four are believed to have fled to North Korea, while two others are still in Malaysia.
Two officials at the North Korean Embassy here today accepted a sealed document that was hand delivered to them at the gates. The individual who delivered the document arrived at the embassy gates at 12.50pm in a Proton Preve car. The document bore the stamp of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Earlier, North Korean counsellor Kim Yu Song told reporters milling around outside the embassy to clear the path as they were awaiting the delivery of a document. He however refused to give any details when pressed by reporters as to the contents of the document or from whom it was from. Members of the media have virtually camped outside the embassy since the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Feb 13 at the KL International Airport 2.