Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 12, 2018

Newsline: Trump claims he saved almost $999800000 on US embassy in Jerusalem

President Donald Trump spent roughly 10 minutes of an hourlong speech Thursday night in Indiana telling the story of how he saved nearly $999,800,000 on controversial plans to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a claim he has made before in the months leading up to the facility’s opening on Monday. The administration did announce plans in February to designate a US consular facility in Jerusalem as the US Embassy but the process of building a new permanent embassy in the city will take years. After opening the embassy next week, the US will build out additional office space at the consular facility by the end of 2019. But that space, too, will be temporary as the US works to identify a site and build a permanent embassy in Jerusalem. “In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in February. But Trump once again failed to mention that distinction Thursday while telling the crowd that the US would spend only “$200,000 to $300,000” on the new embassy versus a $1 billion proposal he said he was initially presented with. A State Department spokesperson told CNN on Friday that Nauert’s statement still stands but added that they have “started the process of site selection for a permanent embassy in Jerusalem and “are looking at all sites we currently lease or own.”

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/12/politics/trump-jerusalem-embassy-cost/index.html

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Newsline: Guatemala asks Sweden, Venezuela to remove ambassadors over ‘interference’

Guatemala asked the governments of Sweden and Venezuela to withdraw their ambassadors, accusing the diplomats of interfering in domestic politics and calling the country corrupt. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has been assailed by graft accusations against his family, and he has been at loggerheads with a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body of which Sweden is a prominent backer. “Because Ambassadors Anders Kompass and Elena Alicia Salcedo Poleo have, in the course of their work, assumed attitudes that result in interference in the internal affairs of Guatemala, the governments of Sweden and Venezuela have been asked to withdraw them,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel told a news conference the requests to remove the ambassadors had nothing to do with the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), however.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-guatemala-diplomacy/guatemala-asks-sweden-venezuela-to-remove-ambassadors-over-interference-idUSKBN1IC06Y