Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Australia

Newsline: Cambodian protesters clash with police outside Australian embassy ahead of refugee resettlement deal

Cambodian protesters clashed with police outside the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh, as Immigration Minister Scott Morrison prepared to sign a deal in which the impoverished South-East Asian country would resettle Australian-bound refugees. At least one protester was knocked down by police, suffered a cut head and was dragged away during the protests, as more than 100 Cambodians demanded Canberra abandon the agreement. Cambodia’s Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, told reporters in Cambodia on Friday that the resettlement deal, to be signed at a table in a bare meeting hall in Phnom Penh with a tiny Australian flag and a tiny Cambodian flag on the table, by Mr Morrison and Mr Kheng, will initially involve a small number of refugees moving to Cambodia under a pilot project.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cambodian-protesters-clash-with-police-outside-australian-embassy-ahead-of-refugee-resettlement-deal-20140926-10miqy.html

Newsline: Saudi Arabia diplomats rack up the most unpaid traffic fines in Australia

Saudi Arabians posted to their embassy in Canberra appear to flout official requests to pay traffic and parking fines. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data shows staff at Middle Eastern missions rack up most of the overdue fines among the capital’s diplomatic community. Saudis attached to the nation’s embassy had amassed 125 outstanding infringement notices as of March, far more than any other country’s diplomatic corps. The Saudi tally was followed by Russia’s (49 fines), Jordan’s (35) and Kuwait’s (27). Some fines had gone unpaid for more than 15 months. Yet Saudi ambassador Nabil Al Saleh made it clear the practice of ignoring traffic and parking infringements was against his wishes. Most nations, including Australia, tell their envoys to pay such fines, deferring to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations’ request that posted officials “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state”.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/saudi-arabia-diplomats-rack-up-the-most-unpaid-traffic-fines-20140920-10j9d3.html

Newsline: Australia to open embassy in Kiev

Australia will open an embassy in Kiev and is considering providing military assistance to Ukraine as it battles Russian-backed rebels, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told Parliament. Mr Abbott said the “interim” embassy would support nine Australian Federal Police investigators who are in Ukraine investigating the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy. He said the Government was also considering short-term humanitarian and non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine. “I am pleased that our flag will shortly fly alongside Ukraine’s as a sign of our support in these troubled times.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24887815/prime-minister-tony-abbott-announces-interim-embassy-in-kiev/

Newsline: Australia, Indonesia Mend Ties Following Allegations Of Embassy Spying

Australia and Indonesia have come to a “joint understanding” following a diplomatic row after reports surfaced last year alleging that the former had spied on Indonesian leaders. Reports alleged that Australia used its embassy in Jakarta in the spying effort. President Yudhoyono had reacted angrily to the spying allegations at the time.

http://www.ibtimes.com/australia-indonesia-mend-ties-following-allegations-spying-1662200

Newsline: US diplomat denies alliance will drag Australia into war with China

The US alliance will not drag Australia into war with China, says the top US diplomat for Asia. Assistant Secretary for East Asia at the State Department Daniel Russel rejected the assertion by former prime minister Malcolm Fraser that Australia was so locked into the US system that it would have no option but to join any American war with China. To the contrary, Mr Russel said America’s strong engagement across the region and its push-back against Chinese misbehaviour has substantially reduced the risk of military conflict. Mr Russel was speaking after top-level Ausmin security meetings that opened the door to the integration of Australian and US ballistic missile defence systems, additional US ship visits to Perth and increased use of a Northern Territory bombing range by the US Air Force. He said the US remained overwhelmingly committed to the Asian region even as the Obama administration was prosecuting air strikes in Iraq and coming under pressure to intervene to curb a worsening band of disorder that now stretches from Libya to Ukraine. Mr Russel’s strongest comments were in response to Mr Fraser’s view that the US-Australia alliance is a Cold War anachronism that denies Australia the strategic room to opt out of any war against China.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-diplomat-denies-alliance-will-drag-australia-into-war-with-china-20140813-103r91.html

Newsline: Australian Embassy in Vietnam comments on suppression orders

The Australian Embassy in Vietnam has issued a statement on the suppression orders issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria concerning the Australian-style polymer note printing case. The Embassy stressed that the suppression orders in question were not released by the Supreme Court of Victoria. It also noted that Australia takes the breach of the suppression orders extremely seriously and the matter has been referred to the police. According to the statement, the suppression orders were issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria on the application of the Australian Government. The Australian Government obtained suppression orders to prevent publication of information that could suggest the involvement in corruption by specific senior political figures in the region.

http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/National/2014/8/110229/

Newsline: Australian diplomats in Baghdad have made plans for evacuation

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australian embassy staff in a “tense but calm” Iraq have made plans for evacuation. But she would not confirm reports they have begun destroying documents at the mission in Baghdad because of military advances by Sunni militants. A small Defence team has been sent to Baghdad to review security at the mission and to help prepare for an evacuation if it becomes necessary. Non-essential staff at the embassy have already been evacuated following the capture of several key Iraqi cities by Sunni extremists, who overnight seized a key Syrian border crossing. Ms Bishop said staff in Baghdad were still doing some embassy work, although this was limited. “Our embassy is making contingency plans should we have to evacuate them but at this stage there is no discussion about that beyond putting those plans in place,” she told ABC’s Insiders. “They are still doing diplomatic work, including consular work, but that is limited.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/australian-diplomats-in-baghdad-have-made-plans-for-evacuation-julie-bishop/story-fn59nm2j-1226962740821