Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Spain

Newsline: Spain to open an embassy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Minister Peiris said that the growing strength of the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Spain is indicated by the decision of the Spanish Cabinet to establish a Spanish Embassy in Colombo. Spain’s Foreign Minister, in response to a request by his Sri Lankan counterpart, agreed to assist with regard to the expansion of Sri Lanka’s trade relations, especially in the field of cinnamon and other spices trade, with countries in Latin America with which Spain enjoys strong ties.


Newsline: Spanish Embassy Denies Nigerian Journalists Visa

The Spanish Consulate in Lagos has denied no fewer than five Nigerians including Online Editor from one of the national dailies and representatives from School of Media and Communication (SMC), the Pan-Atlantic University entry visa to participate in the World Cup of Newsroom Innovation termed Hackathon holding in Spain this week. With this development, 16 teams will participate in the global event but Nigeria’s Hackdays winners will not be attending as they have been denied entry visa. Despite interventions and referral from the Global Editors Network, Ministry of Communication of Catolonia Government and Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, effort to appeal to the Spanish Embassy to issue the entry visa that will enable Nigerian representatives to participate in the capacity building event failed as the Consular Officer, Carolina de Manueles Alvarez, refused to entertain their entreaties


Newsline: Chinese embassy in Spain demands apology for ‘racist’ TV show

A Chinese diplomat to Spain has demanded an apology from a TV station that broadcast a show he said insulted Chinese people. Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Spain Huang Yazhong wrote a letter to Tele 5’s chairman and executive director in protest against a “racist” sketch that featured in the channel’s New Year Gala. “In the show titled Mesa para Dos [Table for Two], a clown wearing strange ‘Chinese clothes’ jumped up and down, making all sorts of exaggerated gestures,” he wrote in the letter published on the embassy’s website. “What’s more, the other actors openly insulted Chinese people using words so vulgar it would make any educated person blush.” The customers twice say “este Chino es gilipolla”, which means “This Chinese guy is an idiot”. Huang said the show also deliberately implied Chinese restaurants serve dog and cat meat. In May last year, 500 Chinese people protested in Madrid after the same channel accused Chinese restaurants of serving human meat.


Newsline: Gibraltarians to protest at London’s Spanish embassy

Gibraltarians are to blockade the Spanish embassy in London this weekend. Supporters of the Rock and local UK politicians will also join the protest against the current border problems and a series of wider issues. The demonstration, organised by the Defenders of Gibraltar with its sister group Gibraltarians Worldwide, is a response to what the groups see as Spain’s oppressive attitude to Gibraltar. They claim the British Overseas Territory has to endure extreme levels of harassment, intimidation and oppression by Spanish state machinery. And they accuse the Spanish government of using state media to pursue an anti-Gibraltarian hate campaign, portraying Gibraltar as an outdated colony, a tax haven and a smugglers’ nest. Annie-Marie-Struggles, one of the organisers of the protest, told the Olive Press, “This is the first step of many that we will be taking to embarrass the Spanish government. “We will be handing in a letter and a portfolio of the harassment and inhumane actions to the embassy. What is happening in Gibraltar would not be tolerated anywhere else. We are not being allowed to grow as a nation”. Gareth Gingell added “We will also be doing the same at the European Parliament as part of our longer term strategy. “We aim to get the world to look at Spain and remember how it treats Gibraltar.”


Newsline: UK Says Spain Opening Diplomat Bags “Serious”

Prime Minister David Cameron said Spain has given its assurance that there will be no repeat of an incident in which officials at the border with Gibraltar opened British diplomatic bags. “It’s an extremely serious action that took place” and a breach of international conventions, Cameron said during his weekly question-and-answer session in Parliament today. “We will always stand up for the rights of the people of Gibraltar and the sovereignty of Gibraltar.” The Foreign Office in London said that the British embassy in Madrid had lodged a formal complaint over the incident with the Spanish authorities. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the official U.K. papers intercepted were not in a diplomatic bag, so there was no breach of international law, El Pais reported today. Foreign Office minister David Lidington told the House of Commons that the opening of two “clearly marked” bags was a breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and the principle of state immunity. He rejected calls from lawmakers to expel the Spanish ambassador in London. Spain says the opening of the bags at a crossing point between Gibraltar and Spain was an error at a “junior operational level,” he said. Tension over Gibraltar has increased in recent months after Spain stepped up border controls.


Newsline: China summons Spanish envoy over court ruling

China’s foreign ministry summoned Spain’s ambassador to Beijing following a Spanish court ruling that called for the arrest of former Chinese leaders including two of its former presidents. The former Chinese leaders named in the ruling could face arrest when travelling to or through the countries that are signatories to the universal justice principle of Spain. China expressed its displeasure over the Spanish court’s orders to issue arrest warrants to former Chinese leaders including retired Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing strongly opposes the court’s move and warned of damages in the two sides’ ties. Spain’s diplomatic sources say China had expressed its “deep unease” over the judgement in the meeting with the ambassador, a source added. The court’s decision follows lengthy proceedings which started in 2005, when Tibetan activist groups asked the court to hold seven Chinese leaders responsible for crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government in Tibet.


Newsline: US ambassador tells Spain NSA acts legally

Spain says the US ambassador has given his assurances that the US National Security Agency’s activities in the country are carried out in conjunction with Spain’s intelligence agency and in accordance with Spanish law. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said US Ambassador James Costos told Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo on Friday that NSA spying in Spain is always done for security reasons like combatting terrorism. It said Costos said the spying was never for economic reasons. It was not clear if Costos was referring to NSA activities now or in the past.