Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 20, 2020

Newsline: North Korea’s Kim taps tough-talking military veteran as foreign minister

North Korea’s new foreign minister is a former defense commander with little diplomatic experience, spotlighting leader Kim Jong Un’s reliance on party and military loyalists at a sensitive time amid stalled U.S. talks, analysts in Seoul said on Monday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-politics/north-koreas-kim-taps-tough-talking-military-veteran-as-foreign-minister-idUSKBN1ZJ0RE) Last week, North Korea told countries with embassies in Pyongyang that Ri Son Gwon, a senior military officer and official of the ruling Workers’ Party, had been appointed foreign minister, a diplomatic source in Seoul told Reuters. He replaces Ri Yong Ho, a career diplomat with years of experience negotiating with Washington, but who often took a backseat to other officials during the last two years of diplomacy.

Newsline: Albania, host of Iranian dissident camp, expels two Iranian diplomats

Albania, which hosts a camp for thousands of members of an exiled Iranian dissident group, expelled two Iranian diplomats , more than a year after kicking out the Iranian ambassador. Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj identified the diplomats in a statement on social media as Mohammad Ali Arz Peimanemati and Seyed Ahmad Hosseini Alast. They were expelled for activity incompatible with their diplomatic status, a phrase often used in cases of spying. “The two representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been asked to depart immediately from the territory of the Republic of Albania,” Cakaj said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-albania-iran-expulsion/albania-host-of-iranian-dissident-camp-expels-two-iranian-diplomats-idUSKBN1ZE27X) In December 2018, Albania expelled Iran’s ambassador and another diplomat for “damaging its national security”. Iran said at the time Albania had acted under pressure from Israel and the United States.