Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Germany

Newsline: Kenyans in Germany demonstrate over poor services by the Kenyan embassy

Kenyans in Germany demonstrated over poor services by the Kenyan embassy in Berlin. They claim the embassy has unfair and unreasonable requirements for the processing of visas using e-passport. They have urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to come to their aid as he promised them two years ago when he visited Germany and recognized them as the 48th County. Most of them claim the embassy cites lack of machine as the reason why it’s takes long for them to process the visas. In the past, they have been forced to fly back to Kenya to have their finger prints taken.



Newsline: Swiss ambassador to Germany laughs off prop fiasco

The new Swiss ambassador to Germany had a rather inauspicious start to the job on Wednesday but was able to see the humour in the situation. Paul Seger was wrapping up his recorded welcome message when things went south. Just after Bern’s new man in Germany expressed his desire that the Swiss embassy in Berlin would be a “house of friendship” and a “meeting place”, the wind picked up, knocking over the German and Swiss flags beside him. There was not a hint of icy Swiss diplomacy as the new ambassador burst out laughing. The embassy didn’t try and hide the incident either, posting the resulting footage on Twitter. Seger replaces Christine Schraner Burgener as the Swiss ambassador to Germany. Schraner Burgener was named the UN Special Envoy on Myanmar in May while Seger was formerly head of mission in Yangon.


Newsline: White powder sent in letters to Israel Embassy in Berlin

A police spokeswoman in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that a “crazy” man sent letters that contained a non-dangerous white powder to the Israeli, US and Czech embassies and to other institutions in the German capital. An investigation is ongoing and a suspect has been identified, although no arrests have been made, the spokeswoman said, adding that the matter become known due to an Associated Press report on Tuesday. The police spokeswoman could not say if the man whom she termed mentally unstable wrote the same letter – which the Post has learned was very threatening – to all the embassies. The letter was also sent to an Asian embassy. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “Israel does not respond to security issues in the media.” The police spokeswoman said the man is not a member of a terrorist group and there is no terrorist background to the case.


Newsline: Iranian diplomat in Austria held over Paris bomb plot

Austria is preparing to strip the diplomatic immunity from an Iranian envoy suspected of planning to bomb Iranian politicians in France. The diplomat and two other arrested people are suspected of plotting to attack a meeting of exiled opposition members in Paris last weekend. Tehran denies any involvement. The diplomatic tension comes a day before President Hassan Rouhani is due to arrive in Austria to discuss a disputed nuclear deal. Two Belgian nationals apprehended in Brussels are reported to be husband and wife, and to be of Iranian origin. The Iranian diplomat, identified as Assadollah A, is ordinarily based in the Austrian capital. But he was arrested in Germany.


Newsline: Central African Republic minister claims Boris Becker is ‘not our diplomat’

Boris Becker has been given more time to prove his diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy after Central African Republic officials both confirmed and rejected the claim. The former world tennis number one says he cannot be taken to court because of his appointment as the country’s attache for sports and cultural affairs in the European Union in April. CAR foreign minister Charles Armel Doubane said on that he had never signed a document giving the three-time Wimbledon champion official diplomatic status. “Boris Becker is not an official diplomat of Central African Republic,” he said. “The President never asked me to take the appropriate steps in the case of Boris Becker.” Only hours earlier the CAR embassy in Brussels had confirmed Mr Becker was one of its diplomats.


Newsline: ‘Ambassador Boris Becker’ aces creditors by claiming diplomatic immunity

Boris Becker has declared himself a diplomat for a small African country in a bid to stop creditors chasing him for millions in debts. The three-time Wimbledon tennis champion was declared bankrupt last summer and earlier this year launched an appeal to find his missing trophies to try to pay off £54 million of debts. The German is due to be one of the BBC’s commentators when the Wimbledon tennis championships start in a fortnight’s time. Now his lawyers have told the High Court that Becker quietly became a “sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs” attache for the Central African Republic on April 27. A defiant Becker said last night he was “immensely proud” of his new role – and attacked the “bunch of anonymous and unaccountable bankers and bureaucrats” chasing him for money. According to the 1961 Vienna Convention, he cannot be subject to legal process in the courts of any country for so long as he remains a recognised diplomatic agent. He cannot be sued for the cash without the consent of the Central African Republic, while legal claims can only be served on him through diplomatic channels. Any legal action would require the agreement of Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, as well as the Central African Republic’s foreign minister. Experts said that anyone could become a foreign diplomat if invited to do so by the country. Becker’s decision to become a diplomat could mean that none of the money he is expected to receive for commentating for the BBC at Wimbledon will go to his creditors.


Newsline: State Department defends ambassador to Germany after controversial remarks

The State Department defended U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Tuesday after he stoked controversy in Germany by saying he wanted to “empower” conservatives overseas. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in a press briefing that Grenell “was merely highlighting that there are some parties and candidates in Europe who are doing well right now.” “We’re not supporting any political party. That’s not what we do,” Nauert clarified. “We support democracy, we support countries figuring out for themselves who they want to vote in for office.” Grenell’s comments, made in an interview with the conservative website Breitbart News, were highly unusual as American diplomats rarely, if ever, weigh in on the domestic politics of the countries where they are posted. The comments drew a furious response from many Europeans and prompted the German Foreign Ministry to request a clarification of his remarks. “What this man is doing, is unheard of in international diplomacy,” Martin Schulz, the former head of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, told national news agency DPA. “If a German ambassador were to say in Washington that he is there to boost the Democrats, he would have been kicked out immediately.” Grenell, a former United Nations spokesman and Fox News contributor who took office last month, also decried, during the Breitbart interview, what he called the “failed policies of the left,” and he credited President Trump with empowering people across the world to take on the “political class.”