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Archive for Europe

Newsline: Greece expels Libyan ambassador in dispute with Turkey

Greece ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador in the latest escalation of a dispute over a controversial deal signed between Libya’s U.N.-supported government and Turkey on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the ambassador had been summoned to the ministry in the morning to be informed of the decision and was given 72 hours to leave the country. Turkey’s foreign minister condemned the move as “outrageous,” while the Libyan foreign minister described it as “unacceptable.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/greece-expels-libyan-ambassador-in-row-with-turkey/2019/12/06/f158bb5a-1819-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html) The deal reached between Libya and Turkey would give Turkey access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, over the objections of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which lie between Turkey and Libya geographically. All three have blasted the accord as being contrary to international law. The deal has added tension to Turkey’s ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy Allegedly Told Police ‘Not to Investigate’ $5.3 Billion in U.S. Aid Misused in Ukraine

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani alleged on Dec. 6 that $5.3 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine was misused, with much of the money going to non-governmental organizations favored by the U.S. embassy. The embassy, which at the time was led by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, directed Ukrainian officials not to pursue an investigation of the matter, Giuliani, who is a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter. “Much of the $5.3B in US Aid Ukraine reported as misused was given to the embassy’s favored NGO’s. At the time Yovanovitch, witness for the Witchunt, was the Amb. That embassy directed the police not to investigate,” Giuliani said. (https://www.theepochtimes.com/giuliani-alleges-5-3-billion-in-u-s-aid-misused-in-ukraine-u-s-embassy-told-police-not-to-investigate_3167304.html) Giuliani did not offer any evidence for his claim. The day before, he wrote that the misuse was discovered by the “Accounts Chamber” in Ukraine, an apparent reference to Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber. The Accounting Chamber is an audit body for Ukraine’s parliament and acts as a watchdog over the state budget. Giuliani leveled the allegation on the heels of a trip to Europe during which he met and interviewed several former Ukrainian officials, including Yuriy Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin, and Andrii Telizhenko. Shokin, Lutsenko, and Telizhenko have previously alleged misconduct by Obama-administration officials, including Yovanovitch and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Newsline: Ireland plans to open embassy in Ukraine

Ireland plans to open a diplomatic mission in Ukraine next year, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said. According to the report, this issue was discussed at a meeting between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. (https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-polytics/2832230-ireland-plans-to-open-embassy-in-ukraine.html) “The Ukrainian minister welcomed the Irish side’s intentions to open the Embassy of Ireland in Ukraine in 2020. The sides agreed that the launch of the Irish diplomatic mission will turn over a new leaf in bilateral relations and create additional opportunities for their progressive development in many areas,” the report said.

Newsline: Russia declares Bulgarian embassy counsellor persona non grata

A note declaring a Bulgarian embassy counsellor persona non grata has been handed over to Bulgarian Ambassador to Moscow Atanas Krastin, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “The move is a tit-for-tat response to the Bulgarian authorities’ October decision to expel a Russian diplomat,” the statement reads. (https://tass.com/politics/1096095) On October 29, Bulgaria declared a Russian embassy employee persona non grata, saying he was suspected of espionage. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said then that Moscow would consider retaliatory measures “in accordance with diplomatic practice.”.

Newsline: Germany Expels Two Russians From Embassy In Berlin

Germany has expelled two Russian diplomats and its federal prosecutors have taken over the case of the slaying of an ethnic Chechen Georgian national in Berlin amid allegations of Russian involvement. The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 4 that two employees of the Russian Embassy in Berlin were deemed “to be persona non grata in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” (https://www.rferl.org/a/germany-expels-two-russians-from-embassy-in-berlin-moscow-threatens-retaliation/30307299.html) Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, 40, who had previously fought alongside separatists in Russia’s Chechnya region, was shot twice in the head in Kleiner Tiergarten park on August 23. A Russian national suspected of carrying out the killing was arrested shortly afterward. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to the news, saying the expulsions were “baseless and unfriendly,” adding that Moscow will “have to undertake a set of response measures.” German and international media outlets reported earlier this week that prosecutors were taking over the case after gathering evidence that “a foreign intelligence agency” was behind the killing. The August 30 investigation did not establish the suspect’s real identity. But in a statement on December 3, Bellingcat claimed that the suspect who had traveled to Berlin under the Sokolov alias is in reality 54-year-old Vadim Krasikov. “In June 2013, Krasikov was the key suspect in the murder of a Russian businessman [in Moscow] who had been the subject of several previous assassination attempts,” Bellingcat said. “The murder in Moscow was similar in many respects to the Berlin assassination — the killer had approached his target on a bicycle, had shot at him with a handgun at close range, both in the back and in the head, and had left on his bike,” Bellingcat said. Krasikov grew up in Kazakhstan before spending time in Siberia, Bellingcat claimed.

Newsline: Iran’s Embassy In London Denies Ambassador Is A Menace To Journalists

In an official tweet on Monday December 2, the Islamic Republic’s embassy in the U.K. denied that Tehran’s ambassador to London has ever been a menace to any journalist. Earlier on Tuesday November 26, the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF) had described Tehran’s top diplomat in London, Hamid Baeidinejad as the “ambassador of threat.” In a statement released on its official website, RSF had deplored Baeidinejad for his role in relaying the threats of Iranian intelligence organs against Iranian journalists based abroad, especially in Britain and against their families in Iran. “Ever since Hamid Baeidinejad—took over as the Islamic Republic’s ambassador in London, he has been threatening these media and journalists on Twitter,” the statement said. “Accusing journalists of being the “agents and mercenaries of foreign services, paid by the country’s enemies and acting against the national interest,” the statement said. (https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-s-embassy-in-london-denies-ambassador-is-a-menace-to-journalists/30303983.html) Referring to the RSF statement, Tehran’s embassy in London twitted, “The allegations against the ambassador of Iran to the U.K. issued by the Reporters Without Borders, and carried by some Western media, are categorically false and rejected. Ambassador Baeidinejad has never threatened anyone, let alone any journalist.”

Newsline: Kim Jong Un’s Uncle Returns from Czech Republic After Quitting as Ambassador

Kim Jong Un’s uncle has returned to North Korea after quitting his job as the isolated nation’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Yonhap News reported, citing lawmakers. Kim Pyong Il is the half-brother of the North Korean leader’s late father Kim Jong Il. Lawmakers were briefed on the move by the head of the National Intelligence Service, the news agency said. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-01/kim-jong-un-s-uncle-returns-after-quitting-as-ambassador-yonhap) Pyong Il was once considered a potential successor of his brother, but he’s been distant from power since moving out of the country in 1988 to take an ambassador job in Hungary, the report said.