Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 8, 2019

Newsline: Pakistan downgrades ties with India

Pakistan has announced plans to expel India’s top diplomat and suspend trade with its neighbour, deepening a row between the countries over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Indian-administered Kashmir has been on lockdown since the Indian government decided on Monday to strip the region of its special constitutional status. Phone networks and the internet have been cut off since Sunday evening. Pakistan is expelling India’s high commissioner (the equivalent of an ambassador) from Islamabad. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly-appointed envoy, Moin-ul-Haq, was yet to start his role but now will not move to Delhi. Prime Minister Imran Khan has “directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose [the] brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations”, a Pakistani government statement said. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49267912) He also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant.

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Newsline: Top U.S. diplomat for Latin America resigns

The Trump administration’s top diplomat for Latin America has resigned amid internal disputes over immigration policy for the region, U.S. officials said. Two officials and a congressional aide said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier stepped down earlier this week, although they offered differing reasons for her departure. They say Breier cited personal reasons for her decision, but the two officials suggested it was prompted by differences over a recent migration accord with Guatemala. The congressional aide said Breier’s departure was mainly driven by family responsibilities. The officials and the aide spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters. The State Department had no immediate comment. (https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/07/top-us-diplomat-for-latin-america-resigns-officials-say-1452745) The Washington Post, which first reported Breier’s resignation, said she had clashed with the White House over the Guatemala accord that many human rights advocates oppose. In a tweet, President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka thanked Breier for her “friendship and great service” and she would miss working with her. Breier is the second senior State Department official to leave the administration this month. Last week, Kiron Skinner, the department’s director of policy planning, was removed from her post following complaints about her management style, officials said.