Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russia summons Israel’s ambassador over downed military plane

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it had summoned Israel’s ambassador in Moscow over the shooting down of a Russian military plane near Syria. The aircraft was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft systems but Moscow said Israeli air force jets flying in the same area had put the Russian plane in the line of fire. Israel’s government has not yet commented. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media that the Israeli ambassador had been called into her ministry in connection with what had happened near Syria.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/russia-summons-israels-ambassador-over-downed-military-plane-102354411.html

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Newsline: U.S. State Department revokes PLO ambassador family visas

The United States revoked visas for the family of the Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador, the envoy said on Sunday, the latest development in the worsening relations between the Trump administration and Palestinian leadership. Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, said his family, including his two young children, left the United States after being informed their visas would now expire when the diplomatic office is closed next month. The visas were originally set to expire in 2020. The Trump administration said last Monday the office in Washington would close. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-palestinians/u-s-state-department-revokes-plo-ambassador-family-visas-envoy-idUSKCN1LW0RE

Newsline: Greek Anarchists Target Iranian Embassy In Athens

A group of anarchists has attacked the Iranian Embassy in Athens to protest Tehran’s treatment of its Kurdish population, Greek authorities say. Police officials said that about 10 people armed with iron bars early on September 17 smashed windows in the embassy’s waiting room and threw red paint into the courtyard. Nobody was reported hurt in the attack. In a statement posted on the Internet, the anarchist Rubicon group claimed it carried out the attack in a gesture of solidarity with the “Kurds of Iran.” The group has carried out a series of similar attacks in Greece in recent years, targeting embassies, companies, and public buildings. The latest attack in Athens comes days after activists targeted the Iranian Embassy in Paris, throwing objects and smashing windows at the building.

https://www.rferl.org/a/greek-anarchists-target-iranian-embassy-in-athens/29494288.html

Newsline: Chinese Embassy in Sweden issues safety alert

The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued a safety alert. According to the safety alert, recently, there are more cases where Chinese tourists have been victims of theft and robbery, as well as cases where victims were treated poorly by Swedish police. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Sweden said they are concerned about the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens visiting the country. In the announcement, the embassy urged Chinese citizens in Sweden to increase their safety awareness and strengthen safety precautions. In the event of an emergency, evidence should be also collected while ensuring safety. It also stated that Chinese citizens are urged to immediately call the police and contact the Chinese Embassy in Sweden for help.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1119659.shtml

Newsline: State Department Spent $52,700 on Curtains for the UN Ambassador’s N.Y.C. Residence

The State Department spent $52,701 in 2017 to purchase custom, mechanized curtains for the windows in the UN Ambassador’s New York City apartment during budget cuts and a hiring freeze. According to a New York Times report, Nikki Haley, 46, is the first ambassador to live in the residence, as all previous ambassadors resided in the Waldorf Astoria. The U.S. government is currently leasing the First Avenue apartment, a decision made by the State Department in 2016. A spokesperson for Haley told the outlet that plans to buy the curtains were hatched by the Obama administration in 2016, and the ambassador didn’t have any part in it. The Times later updated their story with an editor’s note, stating that an earlier version of the article and headline “created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question.

https://people.com/politics/state-department-nikki-haley-nyc-residence-curtains-52000/

Newsline: Iran accuses French police of slow reaction to attack on Paris embassy

Iran said on Saturday that Kurdish activists attacked its embassy in Paris and it accused French police of arriving late on the scene. Paris police confirmed officers had responded to an incident at the embassy on Friday afternoon, but declined to comment on the speed of their response. Fars news agency reported that about 15 Kurdish activists burned the Iranian flag in front of the embassy during the incident and broke some windows with stones. They also threw fire extinguishers and computers at the gate but did not manage to enter the premises, Fars said. “The French government should take all necessary measures to protect Iranian diplomatic missions in that country,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA on Saturday. “Unfortunately, the French police did not arrive as expected on the scene on time, although the assailants were members of a terrorist organization,” he said. Qasemi said some of the attackers were arrested.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-france-kurds/iran-accuses-french-police-of-slow-reaction-to-attack-on-paris-embassy-idUSKCN1LV0BD

Newsline: Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. embassy in Havana suspended processing requests from people hoping to leave the island nation as refugees. The reason: Staffing was reduced to a skeleton crew in the wake of mysterious health attacks on embassy personnel. The State Department said new arrangements would be made for refugee applications, but that hasn’t happened yet. The result is a dramatic drop in the number of Cuban refugees coming to Florida — from some 600 a month in late 2017 to fewer than 40 a month today. In December 2016, about 600 Cuban refugees arrived safely in the Tampa Bay area and some 7,000 statewide. Since then, because of two developments, the numbers have plummeted. First, in January 2017, after restoring diplomatic relations severed more than five decades earlier and reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana, President Barack Obama ended wet foot, dry foot. From that point through last September, when embassy services were suspended, an average of 94 Cubans refugees arrived each month in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to the state Department of Children and Families. Statewide, the monthly average for this eight-month period was 1,016. From last September through June, the average monthly numbers have fallen to 38 in the Tampa Bay area and 375 statewide. This nine-month period is the latest for which figures were available from the state. The numbers might not include all refugees processed in the two or three months after the suspension.

https://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/Cuban-refugee-numbers-plummet-in-Tampa-area-with-cuts-at-Havana-embassy_171688004