Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Middle East

Newsline: Jordan Holds Firm On Refusal To Reopen Israeli Embassy

Jordan will not allow the reopening of the Israeli embassy in Amman or the return of Israel’s ambassador unless the Israeli security guard involved in the killing of two Jordanians in July is brought to trial, a Jordanian government minister said Thursday. Jordanian Media Affairs Minister Mohammed Momani issued a press release to this effect, in which he added that Jordan’s position on the issue was very firm. Saleh al-Armouti, a Jordanian member of Parliament, told The Media Line that Israeli ambassador Einat Schlein is unwelcome in Amman because she “accompanied the murderer,” security guard Ziv Moyal, back to Israel. The appropriate response to the entire incident, according to al-Armouti, would be for Jordan to “close the embassy and cut ties with Israel for good. “The security guard doesn’t have diplomatic immunity,” said al-Armouti. On July 23 Moyal was reportedly attacked with a screwdriver by teenager Mohammed Jawawdeh, who had been delivering furniture to Moyal’s landlord. Moyal then opened fire, killing Jawawdeh along with the building’s owner. The incident prompted widespread condemnation from Jordanian citizens, who held mass demonstrations including outside the Israeli embassy, where protesters chanted “Death to Israel.” Moyal and Israeli embassy staff were allowed to return to Israel a day after the incident following diplomatic pressure from the Israeli government and the US. A subsequent investigation by Israel’s Shin Bet concluded that Moyal acted in self-defense and thus there were no grounds to prosecute him.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Jordan-Holds-Firm-On-Refusal-To-Reopen-Israeli-Embassy-514794

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Newsline: Russian embassy in Damascus comes under fire

Russia’s embassy in Damascus came under mortar shelling from terrorists’ positions. No one was hurt. The building’s wall, electricity lines and water supplies systems were damaged, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. “In a mortar shelling of Damascus conducted from terrorists’ positions at about 10:35 local time on November 20, a shell hit the outer fence of the Russian embassy to Syria, which is located close to its dwelling compound,” the ministry said, adding that the 122mm mine damaged the building’s wall, electricity lines and the water supplies system. “No one from among the embassy’s employees was hurt,” the ministry said. Moscow expects that Western countries at the UN Security Council will give proper evaluation of the incident. “We hope that our so active on the Syrian trajectory Western colleagues in the UN Security Council will have the heart not to keep silent but to give proper public evaluation of the incident in which the lives of Russian diplomats were jeopardized,” the ministry said.

http://tass.com/world/976525

Newsline: British embassy cat in Jordan appointed chief mouser

At the British embassy to Jordan, a former rescue cat is settling into his new position as chief mouser – as a traditional well established in the ministries of London goes global. “Lawrence of Abdoun” is a fluffy black-and-white tom who, according to his Twitter feed, reports directly to the Foreign Office’s Palmerston, a cat that delights his 57,000 followers with regular updates from the ministry in Whitehall via @DiploMog. Lawrence, named after T.E. Lawrence, a British military officer who fought alongside Arabs against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, has already gained 2,500 followers since being adopted from an animal shelter last month. Abdoun is the neighbourhood of Amaan where the embassy is located. “Apart from his mousing duties, he reaches out to followers on Twitter. What’s quite interesting is the British public are seeing the U.K embassy in Jordan in a different light,” said Deputy Ambassador Laura Dauban. Tweeting under the name @LawrenceDipCat, Lawrence has discovered the perils of social media, and has even been fat-shamed by trolls.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-jordan-cat/british-embassy-cat-in-jordan-appointed-chief-mouser-idUKKBN1DK22H

Newsline: South Africa mulls downgrading its embassy in Israel

If South Africa downgrades its embassy in Israel, the important trade, tourism, scientific and technological ties between the two countries would most likely be undermined while doing nothing to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood, according to a panel discussion held on the subject in Johannesburg. The discussion followed calls in July by South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, for the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel to a “liaison office,” saying it was “concerned by the lack of commitment from Israel to finding a resolution to the Palestinian question.” The issue will be discussed and decided upon at the party’s National Policy Conference next month.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Downgrade-of-S-African-Embassy-will-harm-ties-514570

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.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-germany-lebanon/saudi-arabia-recalls-ambassador-to-germany-over-gabriel-comments-idUSKBN1DI00V

Newsline: Israel reportedly threatens to shelve Jordan water deal until embassy reopened

Israel has reportedly told Jordan that a joint agreement for the construction of a pipeline transferring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea will not go ahead until Israel is allowed to reopen its embassy in Amman. In an escalating war of words and threats, senior officials in Jerusalem told Channel 10 that Israel notified Jordan that the water project will not move forward until Ambassador Einat Schlein and her staff are permitted to return to their posts. Two weeks ago Jordan said it would not allow the embassy to reopen until an embassy guard who shot dead two Jordanian nationals was brought to trial. The incident has put a damper on the so-called Red-Dead project. Several weeks ago Israel and Jordan were to have finalized the details before calling for tenders from international companies to do the work. Without an embassy, the Jordanians reportedly wanted to continue the discussions by phone, but Israel has insisted on face to face meetings, which won’t happen until the embassy is reopened. That message was reportedly conveyed to Jordan several weeks ago. In response, Jordan has reportedly threatened to continue with the project alone. Several articles in Jordanian media have cited officials saying that they do not need Israel for the pipeline, and even raising the possibility of bringing in Saudi Arabia to partner with them instead. The $10 billion project, which some see as an early stage in a regional peace deal, would see the construction of a 220-kilometer (137-mile) pipeline transferring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea — the lowest body of water on earth — to benefit Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians, and replenish the dwindling Dead Sea.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-reportedly-threatens-to-shelve-jordan-water-deal-until-embassy-reopened/

Newsline: US Turkish Embassy slams kidnapping plot allegations

The Turkish Embassy in Washington on Saturday denied allegations that Turkey would use unlawful ways of extraditing Fetullah Gulen, the U.S based-leader of the FETO terror group. “All allegations that Turkey would resort to means external to the rule of law for Gulen’s extradition are utterly false, ludicrous and groundless,” according to a statement released by the embassy. The statement added that the Turkish government and its people want the immediate extradition of Gulen from the U.S. to Turkey, so he can stand trial. The statement came after a story in the Wall Street Journal claimed investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia investigation discovered that the former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with Turkish representatives twice last year. According to the story, the latest meeting with Turkish officials took place last December, where Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered $15 million to kidnap Gulen from his multimillion-dollar complex in Pennsylvania.

http://f.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-turkish-embassy-slams-alleged-kidnapping-plot/962968