Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for North America

Newsline: Trump accused of revealing highly classified information to Russian foreign minister, ambassador

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law. “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/national/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-ambassador/article_a0e3259d-16ab-5d68-b9d1-55bc1076cb64.html

Newsline: Israel dismisses US concern over Jerusalem embassy move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has challenged US concerns over moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and said a move will help the peace process progress. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sunday’s statement from Netanyahu’s office came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump is still assessing the impact of the potential move. “The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite,” Netanyahu said in the statement. “It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.” The Palestinians and the Arab world fiercely oppose a move, and the international community has warned that it could spark fresh unrest. Palestinians argued moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America’s status as an effective mediator.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/israel-dismisses-us-concern-over-jerusalem-embassy-move-20170514

Newsline: US top diplomat says Trump weighs embassy move impact on Mideast peace

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Donald Trump is considering how moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would affect the Mideast peace process. Tillerson is giving the most detailed description yet of Trump’s criteria for making the decision. He tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump is listening carefully to both Israelis and Palestinians about whether moving the embassy would be helpful for peace talks or a distraction. As a candidate, Trump vowed to move the embassy. But since taking office he’s said he’s studying the issue before making a final decision. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital and has urged the U.S. for years to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for the capital of a future independent state.

http://www.wbrz.com/news/tillerson-trump-weighs-embassy-move-impact-on-mideast-peace/

Newsline: North Korean Diplomat Says Talks With US Possible

A senior North Korean diplomat who handles relations with the United States said Saturday that Pyongyang would have a dialogue with the U.S. administration if conditions were right, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported. Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s foreign ministry director general for U.S. affairs, made the comment to reporters in Beijing as she was traveling home from Norway, Yonhap said. “We’ll have dialogue if the conditions are there,” she told reporters when asked if the North was preparing to hold talks with the Trump administration, according to Yonhap. When asked if North Korea was also preparing to talk with the new government in South Korea, of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Choe said: “We’ll see.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/diplomat-north-korea-us-talks-possible/3850425.html

Newsline: Pakistan Embassy in Canada accused of negligence

Mismanagement and negligence displayed by the Pakistan Embassy in Canada have put the 500,000 strong Pakistani diaspora in the lurch as they do not know who to contact for passport-related issues. Many Pakistanis have lodged complaints and negligence by the Commission. Pakistani High Commission in Canada is responsible for dealing with matters relating to CNICs Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOPs). It is common knowledge that the early and timely provision of relevant identity cards to overseas Pakistanis is of utmost importance as it is mandatory for every overseas Pakistani to possess those to apply for new passports or for the renewal of old passports. Since the introduction of machine-readable passports, Pakistanis have to go to their embassies early in the morning to stand in queues and they are not dealt with as politely as they deserve. Reportedly, the Pakistani mission is sitting on prepared NICOPs or CNICs that were sent to NADRA for distribution to applicants. All these identity documents have been lying and gathering dust in the cupboards of the mission; while those who applied for the processing of these are constantly told that their NICOPs or CNICs are not ready or that they never came back from Pakistan, thus forcing them to apply and re-apply for newer NICOPs and CNICs time and again. The Pakistani diaspora has urged the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Foreign Office, as well as other departments concerned to take all possible measures to resolve their problems on priority. Pakistani High Commission in Canada Tariq Azim Khan could not be contacted for his version despite repeated attempts on his phone.

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/criminal-negligence-of-pak-embassy-in-canada-left-500000-pakistanis-in-the-lurch/

Newsline: Russia to replace Ambassador to US with anti-Western hard-liner

Russia may replace its Ambassador to the United States after the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump takes place. Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, is likely to be replaced by Anatoly Antonov, who previously served as deputy Defence Minister, the Kommersant said. Russia’s incumbent Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, has been taking the position since July 2008. Kislyak was nominated for the position of the director of the Bureau for Combating Terrorism at the United Nations. On December 28, 2016, President Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Antonov, who then served as Deputy Defence Minister, for the position of Deputy Foreign Minister. At the Defence Ministry, Antonov was in charge of international cooperation. Antonov is considered a supporter of hard line policy against the West.

http://www.pravdareport.com/news/russia/kremlin/11-05-2017/137703-russia_usa_kislyak-0/

Newsline: US Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv

Senior US sources said US President Donald Trump has already decided to extend the order which prevents the US Embassy in Israel from being transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, 360 reporter Ariel Kahana said. A US source said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already been informed of Trump’s decision. Recently, both governments agreed that this would not be the best time to move the Embassy, and US officials said Israel did not want to deal with the matter at present and had requested Trump delay the move. The Israeli government is not surprised by Trump’s decision, but they are still very disappointed. The expectation was that Trump would make an announcement regarding Jerusalem during his upcoming May 22 visit to Israel. However, the expectation currently is that Trump will push Israel to renew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, who will be the main focus of Trump’s visit. The next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, apparently received the news before it was told to Israel. Friedman is scheduled to take office next week. Last week, Friedman was instructed to hold official Embassy events at the Ambassador’s House in Herzliya, since he himself will be living in Jerusalem. The last communication on the issue was received from US Vice President Mike Pence, when he said that the Trump administration was obligated to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as promised during the election campaign.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/229412