Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for October 24, 2018

Newsline: Saudi consulate murder seen as ‘Worst Cover-Up Ever’

President Donald Trump called the killing of Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi “one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups” while speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “They had a very bad original concept,” Trump said in apparent reference to Khashoggi’s killers, according to several White House reporters. “It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up,” he said. After entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, Khashoggi disappeared. Saudi officials initially claimed he’d left the consulate the day he entered, but two weeks later, they claimed Khashoggi had been killed after a meeting there turned into a fight. Trump had previously suggested that the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death was credible. Other world leaders and U.S. officials were skeptical, however, with some suggesting that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved. Speaking to Turkish lawmakers on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected Saudi Arabia’s explanation for Khashoggi’s death and accused top Saudi officials of carrying out premeditated murder.



Newsline: Ecuador won’t help Assange leave embassy in UK safely

Ecuador will not help Julian Assange leave the UK, the country’s foreign minister said, claiming its only duty was to look after the WikiLeaks founder’s “well-being” after Assange sued them for restricting his rights and freedoms. cuadorian FM Jose Valencia told Reuters that Ecuador is not responsible for helping Assange leave the London embassy safely, even though the Inter-American Court on Human Rights recently found them to be responsible for protecting him from US extradition. The UK authorities are poised to apprehend Assange should he step outside the building. Assange accused the Ecuadorian government of violating his rights after they drew up a “Special Protocol” barring him from speaking about politics or involving himself in the political affairs of other countries. The list of restrictions runs to nine pages and permits authorities to confiscate the property of visitors, who must be approved in advance, submit their social media profiles, and turn over the make, model, serial and IMEI numbers of their mobile devices. The conditions added insult to injury with a threat to turn Assange’s cat over to a shelter if he fails to clean up after it adequately. The cat has been Assange’s only companion during nearly seven months in which the Ecuadorian government has kept him cut off from the outside world, jamming his phone lines, scrambling WiFi signals, and banning almost all visitors.