Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 2, 2017

Newsline: Russian embassy shrugs off US uproar

The Russian embassy to the United States sayd it was in regular contact with “US partners” after the Washington Post reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had failed to disclose meetings with Russia’s ambassador. Citing Justice Department officials, the Post said Sessions spoke twice last year with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador, while he was still a US senator. US House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called on Sessions to resign over the issue. The question of how much contact there was between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Russia prior to his election has dominated the early days of his presidency along with allegations from US intelligence officials that Moscow ran an influence campaign to try to sway the election’s outcome. Russia categorically denies meddling and Russian officials say the issue is being deliberately used by Trump’s opponents to derail chances of a swift warming in US-Russia ties. “The embassy doesn’t comment on numerous contacts with local partners, which occur on a daily basis in line with diplomatic practice,” Russian embassy spokesman Nikolai Lakhonin told Russia’s Interfax news agency, when asked to comment on meetings between Sessions and Kislyak. Sessions has denied discussing details of the US presidential campaign with Russian officials. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired last month after he discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.



Newsline: Iran summons Danish ambassador to protest embassy attack

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the Danish ambassador to Tehran to protest over a recent attack on the Iranian embassy in Copenhagen, Tasnim news agency reported. Lack of “serious and deterrent action” on such recurring incidents on the Iranian mission in Denmark could damage the ties between two countries, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi. On Wednesday, “six hostile elements” attacked the Iranian embassy in a “suspicious move,” Qasemi said. In the meeting with the Danish envoy, the Islamic republic voiced “strong protest” at the second attack in less than two months on Iran’s diplomatic mission in Copenhagen, he added. The Danish envoy slammed the incident as “unacceptable” and pledged to relay Iran’s protest to his government as soon as possible and report back to Tehran, Qasemi said.