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Newsline: Brexit vote prompts New Zealand to open embassy in Ireland

New Zealand opened its first ever embassy in Ireland with a traditional Maori blessing and a visit by the country’s deputy prime minister. The embassy, on Merrion Row in Dublin city centre, will help cement existing ties with the Pacific and benefit future trade relationships between Ireland and New Zealand, officials said. The new ambassador, Brad Burgess, was joined by government officials and deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Winston Peters for the ceremony. Mr Peters said the opening of the embassy was triggered by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union two years ago. “The moment the Brexit decision happened on the 23rd of June 2016, it became very clear that we would have to, with respect to Ireland, set up an embassy here.” It was “one of the first decisions we made that we could no longer think of servicing out of London, which was what had been going on in the past. That’s why we made the decision”, Mr Peters said. Mr Peters said New Zealand needed a close relationship with Ireland “and vice versa”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/brexit-vote-prompts-new-zealand-to-open-embassy-in-ireland-1.3695497

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Newsline: Visa service at Netherlands embassy resumes in Pakistan

The Netherlands resu­med visa and passport services in Pakistan following a brief suspension, denying that its embassy had closed over security concerns after the country gave shelter to the lawyer of a Christian woman involved in a blasphemy case. Religious parties spearheaded by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan blocked streets and hurled threats at judges after the Supreme Court on Oct 31 overturned the conviction of Aasia Bibi, a mother of five, who had been on death row for eight years. Aasia’s lawyer, Saiful Mulook, fled to the Netherlands soon after the verdict, citing death threats. The Dutch government said on Thursday that it had offered him temporary shelter. On Friday, the Dutch government said in a statement that its embassy in Pakistan, which is in a tightly guarded Diplomatic Enclave, had temporarily halted issuing visas “due to circumstances beyond our control”. On Monday evening, the embassy updated the statement: “The Netherlands embassy in Pakistan has resumed all consular/visa related services”. The media earlier reported that the embassy had been forced to close because of threats. But the Dutch foreign ministry said reports of the embassy’s closure were mistaken. “The Dutch embassy in Pakistan is open,” the ministry said. “I can add that we take the security of the embassy and our employees very seriously. This is also the subject of consultations between the Netherlands and Pakistan,” an official at the Dutch foreign office said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1445320/visa-service-at-netherlands-embassy-resumes

Newsline: Top US diplomat Pompeo tells Saudi crown prince Khashoggi killers to be held accountable

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday (Nov 11) the US will hold accountable all those involved in the killing of a dissident Saudi journalist, in a telephone call that also took in the conflict in Yemen. The killing of Mr Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul and the war in Yemen, which has pushed the country to the brink of famine, are two of the main sources of strain in the decades-old alliance between Washington and Riyadh. Crown Prince Mohammed is controversially linked to both: he has played a direct role in overseeing Saudi Arabia’s Yemen intervention and has also been accused of orchestrating the Oct 2 murder of Mr Khashoggi, who was a US resident. “The Secretary emphasised that the United States will hold all of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable, and that Saudi Arabia must do the same,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The top US diplomat has previously said Mr Khashoggi’s killing “violates the norms of international law”, and that the US was reviewing possible sanctions on individuals identified as having been involved. Upping the pressure on Saudi Arabia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey had shared recordings related to Mr Khashoggi’s murder with Riyadh, Washington and other capitals, without giving details of their specific contents. After repeated denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted the 59-year-old journalist had been murdered at its diplomatic mission in what it termed a “rogue” operation. Ankara has been demanding, to date without success, the extradition of those involved in the killing.

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/top-us-diplomat-pompeo-tells-saudi-crown-prince-khashoggi-killers-to-be-held

Newsline: Ex-Medical Student Sentenced in US Diplomat’s Shooting

Prosecutors say a former medical student has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for the 2017 shooting of a U.S. diplomat. A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice said 33-year-old Zia Zafar of Chino Hills, California, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty in a federal court in Virginia to attempted murder of an internationally protected person and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. According to prosecutors, Zafar was living in Guadalajara, Mexico, in January 2017 when he followed vice consul Christopher Ashcraft from the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara. Authorities said as Ashcraft drove away from the consulate, Zafar fired a shot into the vehicle and hit the vice consul in his chest. Ashcraft survived, but the bullet remains lodged in his spinal column.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2018-11-07/ex-medical-student-sentenced-in-diplomats-shooting-in-2017

Newsline: Hungary’s ambassador to the Vatican, Habsburg with a Twitter account

Eduard Habsburg is a Hungarian-German writer, diplomat and social media personality who has served since 2015 as ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta. A great-great-grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph, he is also known as Archduke Eduard of Austria. Ambassador Habsburg and his wife, Baroness Maria Theresia von Gudenus, have six children. According to the 2011 Hungarian census, roughly 81 percent of Hungarians today identify as Christians, with Catholics representing the largest Christian group (50 percent) more than two decades after the fall of Communism. In recent years, Hungary has taken up the call of Pope Francis to aid persecuted Christians around the world, hosting government conferences and creating a new Secretary of State for Persecuted Christians.

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/11/05/habsburg-twitter-account-interview-hungarys-ambassador-vatican

Newsline: Turkey shares tapes from consulate with Saudi Arabia, UK and others

Turkey has shared recordings related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with Saudi Arabia, the UK, US and other countries. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also repeated his belief that Saudi Arabia knows who is responsible for the October 2 killing and must disclose them. “We gave them the tapes. We gave them to Saudi Arabia, to America, to the Germans, the French, to the British, to all of them,” Mr Erdogan said before departing for Paris to attend ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. “They [Saudi officials] also listened to the conversations and they know. There is no need to distort this. They know for certain who among the 15 is the killer or are the killers,” he said. He was referring to an alleged 15-member assassination squad that Turkey believes was sent to kill Mr Khashoggi at the consulate where he had arrived to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancee.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/jamal-khashoggi-murder-turkey-shares-tapes-from-consulate-with-saudi-arabia-uk-and-others-a3986616.html

Newsline: Norway to close embassy in Azerbaijan, open in Georgia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide said Oslo plans to open its Embassy in Tbilisi in the course of 2019, Civil.ge reports. Simultaneously, the Norwegian Embassy in Baku will be closed, with Azerbaijan being covered from Norway’s representation in Ankara, Turkey. The Royal Norwegian Embassy has been operating in Baku since 1998, and was also accredited to Georgia. Announcing the move, the Norwegian Foreign Minister said the decision was taken “on the basis of an overall assessment of Norwegian interests and our ties with the countries in the Southern Caucasus.” “Georgia is one of our priority partner countries in the Eurasia region. For many years, it has been following a course of reform, which has brought it closer to European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation structures,” Ine Eriksen Søreide stated.

https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/258287090/norway-to-close-embassy-in-azerbaijan-open-in-georgia