Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Africa

Newsline: The US Embassy in Tunisia closed its doors to the public due to security reasons

“Due to security concerns, the US Embassy will be closed to the public on July 1st except for emergency services,” the embassy said in a statement. (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190701-us-closes-embassy-in-tunisia-due-to-security-concerns/) The move came after two suicide bombings took place in the Tunisian capital on June 27, killing one policeman and injuring eight people. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks. The first explosion took place near a police patrol on the central Charles de Gaulle Street, not far from the French Embassy.

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Newsline: U.S. Supreme Court to mull punitive damages against Sudan over embassy bombings

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 agreed to hear a bid to reinstate $4.3 billion in punitive damages against Sudan in a lawsuit accusing it of complicity in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. The justices took up an appeal by hundreds of people hurt and relatives of people killed in the bombings as they seek to reinstate the punitive damages that a lower court in 2017 ruled could not be levied against Sudan in addition to about $6 billion in compensatory damages imposed in the litigation. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-sudan/u-s-supreme-court-to-hear-bid-to-revive-punitive-damages-against-sudan-over-embassy-bombings-idUSKCN1TT20W) Twelve Americans were among the dead in the Aug. 7, 1998, attacks, with thousands of other people wounded. The damages were imposed by default because for most of the litigation Sudan did not appear before a lower court to defend itself against allegations that it harbored and provided support to the Islamist militant group al Qaeda, which led to the bombings.

Newsline: South Sudan closes embassies

In an apparent bid to limit spending, South Sudan moved to shut down several of its embassies. South Sudan’s authorities reportedly aim to close the embassies in France, Norway, Ghana, Kuwait and Italy. The upcoming closure of South Sudanese embassies abroad would the country’s foreign diplomacy. The move could also adversely affect relations with the countries where the embassies are closed.

Newsline: Tanzania slams US embassy over security alert

Tanzania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 20 warned the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam against issuing alarming alerts without following procedure. In a statement posted on the US embassy’s Twitter account on June 19, 2019, the US warned its citizens to take precautions over rumours of impending attacks in a tourist area in Dar es Salaam. (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Tanzania-slams-US-embassy/4552908-5166252-599rf6/index.html) On June 20 evening, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs ministry issued a statement saying permanent secretary Dr Faraji Kasidi Mnyepe held consultations with Ms Janine Young, a representative of the US ambassador, over the alert. According to the statement, the US diplomat was summoned to explain the alert. Tanzania says the security alert was issued without following the correct procedure, and claimed that it was targeted at the general public and not US citizens only.

Newsline: Sudan’s foreign ministry summons British ambassador

Sudan’s foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador in Khartoum to protest his remarks on political developments in the country, Sudan’s state news agency (SUNA) reported. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sudan-politics-britain/sudans-foreign-ministry-summons-british-ambassador-agency-idUSKCN1TD2BX) Britain’s ambassador Irfan Siddiq tweeted last week after attempts to disperse Sudan’s protest sit-in: “No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now”. The spokesman of Sudan’s foreign ministry said to SUNA that the ministry protests the repeated tweets of the ambassador, and that it contradicts “the established diplomatic norms”.

Top U.S. diplomat for Africa to travel to Sudan to urge talks

The U.S. top diplomat for Africa will visit Sudan this week to meet with a transitional military council and the country’s civilian opposition to urge talks, the State Department said on Monday. Talks between the two collapsed last week when security forces stormed a sit-in that had been the focal point of Sudan’s protest movement for nearly two months.Tibor Nagy, the U.S. assistant secretary for Africa, will also discuss a political solution for Sudan during a visit to Ethiopia, whose Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has tried to mediate between the military council and protest movement. (https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Top-US-diplomat-for-Africa-to-travel-to-Sudan-to-urge-talks-592098) “He will call for a cessation of attacks against civilians and urge parties to work toward creating an enabling environment … for talks to resume,” the State Department said, adding that Nagy will later travel to Mozambique and South Africa.

Newsline: US diplomat to succeed ousted UN envoy for Somalia

A former US special representative to Somalia who also served as Washington’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been tapped to be the next United Nations envoy to Somalia, replacing an emissary who was expelled four months ago. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council in a letter released on May 30 that he plans to appoint James Swan as his envoy for Somalia. (https://www.france24.com/en/20190530-us-diplomat-succeed-ousted-un-envoy-somalia) Swan, who was also a US deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa and ambassador to Djibouti, will replace Nicholas Haysom, who was declared persona non grata by Somalia’s government in January after he raised human rights concerns. Swan’s appointment is expected to be supported by the council, diplomats said. Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced diplomat, was told to leave Somalia after he questioned the government’s decision to arrest an Al-Shabaab defector who was running in elections. He served in the post for three months.