Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 11, 2017

Newsline: Russia to replace Ambassador to US with anti-Western hard-liner

Russia may replace its Ambassador to the United States after the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump takes place. Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, is likely to be replaced by Anatoly Antonov, who previously served as deputy Defence Minister, the Kommersant said. Russia’s incumbent Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, has been taking the position since July 2008. Kislyak was nominated for the position of the director of the Bureau for Combating Terrorism at the United Nations. On December 28, 2016, President Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Antonov, who then served as Deputy Defence Minister, for the position of Deputy Foreign Minister. At the Defence Ministry, Antonov was in charge of international cooperation. Antonov is considered a supporter of hard line policy against the West.



Newsline: Pakistan summons Iran’s ambassador over commander comments

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Tehran’s ambassador to Islamabad over remarks made by the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri. Mehdi Honardoost was summoned to convey Pakistan’s concerns after Bagheri said Iran itself would deal with the terrorists if Pakistan fails to do so, the Dawn newspaper reported. “We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases … If the terrorist attacks continue, we will deal crushing blows to their safe havens and cells, wherever they are,” Bagheri said on Monday. Bagheri further said that the border has turned into a training ground for “Saudi-hired terrorists” who are funded by the United States. Pakistan urged Iran to refrain from making statements which could harm relations between the two countries. The remarks were made a month after 10 Iranian border guards were killed in a terrorist attack launched from inside the Pakistani soil. One of the border guards, injured, is held captive by the terrorists.


Newsline: Germany’s government shuts down North Korean embassy property

The German government will shut down a Berlin hostel after it emerged that the site is North Korean embassy property and had been leased in violation of UN rules. Located downtown next to the gated North Korean embassy, Cityhostel Berlin offers dorm beds for as little as 16 euros ($17) a night. But it came under scrutiny after German media reported that the North Korean embassy was not just the hostel’s neighbour but also owner of the prime real estate. Rented out since 2004, the property fetches Pyongyang some 38,000 euros per month in rent, public broadcaster ARD said. Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer cited a UN Security Council resolution that requires member states to only allow “North Korean foreign representations to carry out diplomatic and consular activities”. “Any kind of commercial activity on the site of the embassy or in relation to the embassy is prohibited,” he said. “Cityhostel in Berlin constitutes neither a diplomatic nor consular activity of a North Korean foreign representation,” said Schaefer, adding that the government will move to “shut down the financial source to the North Korean regime as quickly as possible”. Over the past 11 years, the Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions on Pyongyang — two adopted last year — to significantly ramp up pressure and deny the North Korean regime the hard currency revenue needed for its rocket and atomic programmes. But UN sanctions experts have repeatedly told the council the measures have had little impact because they have been poorly implemented.