Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Germany

Newsline: Diplomats Seek Intensified Security in Lagos after German Embassy Breach

Following the recent breach at the German Embassy on Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, five diplomats from their respective embassies asked the police to intensify security. The diplomats were drawn from the British High Commission, United States (US), German, Italian and The Netherlands embassies, all in Lagos. Tabling their grouse to the Lagos Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, at the command headquarters in Ikeja, they cited the popular Nigerian Army Mammy Market operated in the neighbourhood, as one of the security threats they face. According them, their worries were triggered by the recent security breach at the German Embassy, which almost went out of hand before it was contained.



Newsline: Germany withdraws diplomat from North Korea

Germany is withdrawing a third diplomat from its embassy in North Korea over increasing concerns about Pyongyang’s missile program, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, a day after Pyongyang test fired a new missile. North Korea said on Wednesday it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. Berlin strongly condemned the test as a violation of international law. Speaking in Washington after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Gabriel said he had offered support for taking a tough line towards Pyongyang. Two diplomats had already been withdrawn from the German embassy in Pyongyang, and a third was being pulled out now, Gabriel said. Germany was also demanding North Korea reduce its diplomatic presence in Germany. Gabriel said Washington had not demanded that Germany, one of seven European countries with embassies in North Korea, shut its mission or withdraw its ambassador. It was not Germany’s desire to shut down its embassy, he said, but added: “that doesn’t mean we are ruling it out.” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States had called on countries to scale back or cut ties with North Korea as part of an effort to pressure Pyongyang to give up its weapons programs.


Newsline: Saudi Arabia summons ambassador from Germany over Lebanon comments

Saudi Arabia has summoned its ambassador in Germany home for consultations over comments by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel about the political crisis in Lebanon. The Saudi foreign ministry said the government also handed Germany’s representative in Riyadh a protest note over what it said were “shameful” comments Gabriel made after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart. After a meeting in Berlin with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Gabriel told reporters that Europe “could not tolerate the adventurism that has spread there”. It was not clear from a Reuters television recording that the remark was targeted at Saudi Arabia. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned while in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4. “Such remarks provoke the surprise and disapproval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which considers them as aimless and based on false information that would not help bring about stability in the region,” the Saudi ministry said. The ministry later said on its Twitter account it had summoned the German ambassador in Riyadh and handed him “a protest memorandum over the shameful and unjustified remarks made by the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.” Hariri’s abrupt resignation has raised concern over Lebanon’s stability.


Newsline: Germany probes cash fund at Paris embassy

Germany’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it was probing past unusual billing practices at its Paris embassy after reports of an undeclared cash fund to pay staff for special events. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has ordered a “special inspection” into the allegations, which first emerged amid a dispute with two former employees, the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP. In the case first reported by Le Monde daily, a former butler and head waiter had accused the embassy of using fake invoicing practices to channel money into a fund used to give staff undeclared cash for overtime work. The men claimed they were fired for criticising the system, which had been used during events organised at the ambassador’s residence on behalf of private companies such as BMW and Mercedes. Le Monde estimated that staff had received “hundreds of thousands of euros” in cash payments since 2007. Germany’s foreign ministry, after initially saying only that it was looking into the claims, now admitted to past irregularities, in reply to a question from a Green Party lawmaker. The billing practices “did not meet the usual standards”, senior foreign ministry official Walter Lindner wrote in a statement first reported by the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger daily.


Newsline: Nigeria Embassy in Berlin rumbles as Ambassador sacks staff

Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar who was just appointed June 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari and actually presented his letter of credence 20th September to Germany is at war with his non foreign affairs ministry staff most of them Nigerians. Eight out of these staff members were sacked recently without any entitlements and immediately replaced by new people throwing the entire embassy and Nigeria community in Germany into confusion. As you read this, embers of hate, deep rooted animosity, and bad blood of tribalism pervade the air within the embassy enclave.


Newsline: German embassy in Paris accused of undeclared staff payments and wrongful dismissal

Two former employees of the German embassy in Paris have accused it of using fake invoicing practices to channel money into a fund used to give staff undeclared cash salary top-ups. The allegations were made by a former butler and a former head waiter, who have taken a case against the German state for wrongful dismissal and undeclared work. The men claimed they were fired for criticizing the system of cash payments for overtime work. Their lawyer Antoine Gillot told AFP the system was put in place in 2007 “by means of an embassy note, with the green light of the German foreign ministry”. Le Monde daily reported Tuesday that the top-ups were partly funded by a “general expenses” levy on events organized at the ambassador’s residence on behalf of private companies such as BMW, Mercedes and ZDF television network. Citing internal embassy documents the newspaper estimated that staff had received “hundreds of thousands of euros” in cash payments since 2007. Gillot said the matter came to a head in 2015, during a dispute between the butler and other staff members over how the money should be distributed.


Newsline: Police give all-clear after bomb threat at Canadian embassy in Berlin

German police said on they had given the all-clear after employees of the Canadian embassy in Berlin evacuated their building because they had received a bomb threat. The Canadian embassy alerted police of the threat but police determined it was not to be taken seriously and employees then re-entered the building, a police spokesman said. He added that police had not ordered the embassy to be evacuated. No one at the embassy was immediately available to comment.