Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 19, 2018

Newsline: Ecuador expels Venezuela ambassador after official says Moreno lied

Ecuador expelled Venezuela’s ambassador to Quito after a Venezuelan government minister called Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno a liar, and Venezuela reciprocated by ordering Ecuador’s top diplomat to go home. In a Wednesday press conference, Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Moreno was a “liar” and accused him of exaggerating in a speech at the United Nations the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving in Ecuador. Saying the comments were offensive, Ecuador expelled the Venezuelan ambassador and called its charge d’affaires at its embassy in Caracas back for consultations, its foreign ministry said in a statement. Venezuela later declared the charge d’affaires, Elizabeth Méndez, persona non grata and gave her 72 hours to leave the country in what its foreign ministry described as a “reciprocal measure,” according to a statement read on state television. Ecuador’s highest representative in Venezuela has been the charge. The ambassador position has been vacant for more than a year because of diplomatic disputes.



Newsline: US to appoint Qatar ambassador amid Gulf row

The United States has said it would appoint an ambassador to Qatar, after a 16-month gap during which Doha has been at the centre of a regional diplomatic crisis. The White House announced that US President Donald Trump intends to nominate Mary Phee, who previously served as US ambassador to Sudan, after Dana Shell Smith resigned last year. Smith – who has criticised Trump’s handling of the State Department – stepped down from her post just days after the diplomatic crisis erupted between Qatar and its neighbours. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Doha on June 5, 2017 over allegations it seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran and supports radical Islamist groups.