Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for North America

Newsline: Diplomat to face legal action in US after road accident in Pakistan

The United States has assured Pakistan that it will initiate criminal proceedings against its defense attaché, who was involved in a road accident in which a young Pakistani was killed in the federal capital. Pakistan has allowed Col Joseph Emmanuel Hall to leave the country quietly on Monday, prompting strong reaction from the opposition, which wanted him to be tried in local courts. The Foreign Office for the first time gave Pakistan’s official reaction on the issue. “Let me explain it. It is not that way. Diplomats enjoy immunity while serving in the country of their accreditation. In this context, Col Joseph was allowed to leave the country based on this diplomatic immunity,” Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal told reporters. “The US has assured us that it will initiate criminal/administrative action against Col Joseph in US courts,” he added. Pakistan initially resisted the US demand to allow Col Joseph to leave the country as his name was placed on the ‘black list’, meaning he could not be allowed to travel without seeking prior permission from the local authorities. Islamabad had demanded from Washington to withdraw the diplomatic immunity being enjoyed by the defense attaché so that he could be tried in Pakistan. However, the US turned down the request but agreed to proceed against Col Joseph back in the states. After assurance, Pakistan finally allowed him to leave the country. There were reports that the US embassy also reached some settlement with the victim’s families.



Newsline: US diplomat involved in accident allowed to leave Pakistan

A U.S. diplomat who was allegedly involved in a traffic crash that killed a motorcyclist has left Pakistan, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday, two days after the diplomat reportedly was stopped from leaving the South Asian country. “We can confirm that the American diplomat who was involved in a tragic car accident on April 7 in Islamabad has departed Pakistan,” the spokesman said in an email to Reuters. The spokesman did not identify the U.S. diplomat and provided no further details . Pakistani newspapers reported that the American, identified as a military attache, was blocked Saturday from leaving Pakistan, forcing the U.S. military aircraft sent on his behalf to depart without him.


Newsline: US opens new Embassy in Jerusalem as dozens killed in Gaza clashes

The US officially relocated its Embassy to Jerusalem on Monday, formally upending decades of American foreign policy in a move that was met with clashes and protests along the Israeli-Gaza border. At least 52 Palestinians were killed in Gaza as deadly protests took place ahead of and during the ceremony in Jerusalem — making it the deadliest day there since the 2014 Gaza war. President Donald Trump did not attend the ceremony in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, but in a video message broadcast at the event he congratulated Israel, saying the opening had been “a long time coming.” “Today, Jerusalem is the seam of Israel’s government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital, yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious, the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem,” Trump said in the pre-recorded remarks. “As I said in December, our greatest hope is for peace.” he added. Politicians and dignitaries including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner watched as US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled the US seal, turning what was formally the consulate building into the Embassy.


Newsline: Pakistan Prevents US Diplomat From Leaving the Country

The authorities in Pakistan barred an American diplomat involved in a fatal traffic accident from leaving the country on Saturday and briefly detained him for questioning, according to a senior Pakistani intelligence official. A United States military aircraft flown in to bring home Col. Joseph Emanuel Hall, a U.S. military attaché, had to leave without him, the intelligence official said. Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said Mr. Joseph is on a “blacklist” and is not allowed to leave because of the criminal case pending against him. Colonel Hall is accused of involvement in a road accident in which his car ran a red light and killed a motorcyclist named Ateeq Baig in the capital, Islamabad, on April 7. Pakistan officials have demanded the United States waive his diplomatic immunity so that he can face a criminal trial, but American officials have refused.

Newsline: US makes Jerusalem Embassy move Monday

By moving its embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. endorses Israel’s view that the city is its capital. Israeli control of the city has left many Palestinians struggling to remain in a city they call home. These are the countries that will attend the event together with a U.S. delegation that includes U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who landed earlier today: Albania, Angola, Austria, Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Kenya, Macedonia, Burma, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, South Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam, Paraguay, Tanzania and Zambia.


Newsline: Victims of Turkish Embassy brawl sue Turkey

Fifteen victims of last May’s brawl outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., filed a civil suit against the Turkish government, as well as two Americans and three Canadians involved in the skirmish, according to a press release. The victims, who were protesting Turkey’s treatment of ethnic Kurds when they were attacked by security forces working for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accuse Turkey’s government as well as the five American and Canadians involved of “violations of international law and hate crimes, as well as assault, battery and false imprisonment.” The suit follows five other victims who filed a similar suit in early May, as reported by The Washington Post. Video of last year’s incident shows guards attacking the group of protesters, which according to the release included the elderly and children. Nineteen defendants, including 15 Turkish security officials were indicted on multiple charges last year. Nine protesters were sent to the hospital over their injuries. The two Americans named in the lawsuit, Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim of Virginia and New Jersey, respectively, were among the nineteen defendants last year and both plead guilty to assault.


Newsline: Trump claims he saved almost $999800000 on US embassy in Jerusalem

President Donald Trump spent roughly 10 minutes of an hourlong speech Thursday night in Indiana telling the story of how he saved nearly $999,800,000 on controversial plans to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a claim he has made before in the months leading up to the facility’s opening on Monday. The administration did announce plans in February to designate a US consular facility in Jerusalem as the US Embassy but the process of building a new permanent embassy in the city will take years. After opening the embassy next week, the US will build out additional office space at the consular facility by the end of 2019. But that space, too, will be temporary as the US works to identify a site and build a permanent embassy in Jerusalem. “In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in February. But Trump once again failed to mention that distinction Thursday while telling the crowd that the US would spend only “$200,000 to $300,000” on the new embassy versus a $1 billion proposal he said he was initially presented with. A State Department spokesperson told CNN on Friday that Nauert’s statement still stands but added that they have “started the process of site selection for a permanent embassy in Jerusalem and “are looking at all sites we currently lease or own.”