Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 15, 2018

Newsline: Iran accuses French police of slow reaction to attack on Paris embassy

Iran said on Saturday that Kurdish activists attacked its embassy in Paris and it accused French police of arriving late on the scene. Paris police confirmed officers had responded to an incident at the embassy on Friday afternoon, but declined to comment on the speed of their response. Fars news agency reported that about 15 Kurdish activists burned the Iranian flag in front of the embassy during the incident and broke some windows with stones. They also threw fire extinguishers and computers at the gate but did not manage to enter the premises, Fars said. “The French government should take all necessary measures to protect Iranian diplomatic missions in that country,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA on Saturday. “Unfortunately, the French police did not arrive as expected on the scene on time, although the assailants were members of a terrorist organization,” he said. Qasemi said some of the attackers were arrested.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-france-kurds/iran-accuses-french-police-of-slow-reaction-to-attack-on-paris-embassy-idUSKCN1LV0BD

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Newsline: Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. embassy in Havana suspended processing requests from people hoping to leave the island nation as refugees. The reason: Staffing was reduced to a skeleton crew in the wake of mysterious health attacks on embassy personnel. The State Department said new arrangements would be made for refugee applications, but that hasn’t happened yet. The result is a dramatic drop in the number of Cuban refugees coming to Florida — from some 600 a month in late 2017 to fewer than 40 a month today. In December 2016, about 600 Cuban refugees arrived safely in the Tampa Bay area and some 7,000 statewide. Since then, because of two developments, the numbers have plummeted. First, in January 2017, after restoring diplomatic relations severed more than five decades earlier and reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana, President Barack Obama ended wet foot, dry foot. From that point through last September, when embassy services were suspended, an average of 94 Cubans refugees arrived each month in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to the state Department of Children and Families. Statewide, the monthly average for this eight-month period was 1,016. From last September through June, the average monthly numbers have fallen to 38 in the Tampa Bay area and 375 statewide. This nine-month period is the latest for which figures were available from the state. The numbers might not include all refugees processed in the two or three months after the suspension.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/Cuban-refugee-numbers-plummet-in-Tampa-area-with-cuts-at-Havana-embassy_171688004