Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Regions

Newsline: Malia Obama wasn’t fired by the Spanish Embassy for smoking marijuana

It’s summer internship season and everyone loves a juicy story on a former first daughter’s internship cut short due to drug busts. At least fake news sites seem to. Don’t be fooled, though. A story that Malia Obama was fired from an internship at the U.S. embassy to Spain is fake news. A June 29, 2017, post on FreedomCrossroads.us says that the eldest daughter of former President Barack Obama was caught smoking marijuana during her internship at the Spanish embassy and sent home. “She was caught, by Embassy Security — aka the U.S. Marines — on the roof of the building burning a doobie and playing with the Ambassador’s carrier pigeons,” the story said. “Ambassador Bedard is an avid hobbyist.” Obama did intern at the embassy, in 2016, not this year. And there were no reports of her dismissal. This summer, Obama traveled with her family to Bali and Jakarta and is continuing an internship at the Weinstein Company movie studio she began in the spring.

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/jul/18/freedomcrossroadsus/no-malia-obama-wasnt-fired-smoking-marijuana/

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat accuses Trump of violating nuclear deal

Iran’s top diplomat Sunday accused President Trump of violating the international nuclear deal. “The United States has failed to implement its part of the bargain,” Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif told CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” He pointed to Trump’s recent meetings in Germany with world leaders as evidence of the US violating the two-year-old deal. “President Trump used his presence in Hamburg during the G-20 meeting, in order to dissuade leaders from other countries to engage in business with Iran. That is violation of not the spirit but of the letter of the JCPOA, of the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “I believe the United States needs to bring itself into compliance with its party of the obligation under the deal.” Trump campaigned on ripping up the “disastrous” Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by President Obama’s administration. But Trump’s team is expected to certify as soon as Monday that Iran is in compliance with the deal, according to the Washington Post. It’s part of the routine certification required every 90 days. Zarif said Iran has held up its part of the deal as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

http://nypost.com/2017/07/16/irans-top-diplomat-accuses-trump-of-violating-nuclear-deal/

Newsline: Russia’s embassy compound in Syria hit by mortar shells

The Russian embassy in Syria has been targeted by shelling from foreign-backed militants operating in the capital Damascus. Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that two shells were fired at the diplomatic mission. One of the projectiles hit the embassy compound, while the other fell nearby. Earlier this year, the Russian embassy compound in the Syrian capital was the target of a pair of mortar shelling launched “precisely” from the terrorists-controlled Jobar area, which lies a few kilometers northeast of Damascus. The attacks had no casualties but inflicted some material damage on the building.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/07/16/528677/Russian-embassy-hit-mortar-shells-Damascus-Syria

Newsline: US Embassy says no need for diplomatic status for Russian center in Serbia

The U.S. embassy in Belgrade said there’s no need to grant diplomatic status to the Russian staff of the controversial facility in Serbia that some consider a spy base but that Moscow insists is a disaster relief center. An embassy statement obtained Saturday by The Associated Press said its representatives visited the Nis center, 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Belgrade, this week at the invitation of the center’s management. “U.S. representatives were briefed on the current functioning of the center, but saw nothing in the activities that were shown which would indicate a need for diplomatic status,” the statement said. “The consistent demands for inviolability for the personnel and premises of the Center only raise question regarding long-term intentions for the facility.” Russia has denied speculation they are eavesdropping on American military interests in the Balkans from the so-called “Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center,” which was formed in 2011. Moscow says the center is only for humanitarian missions.

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/us-embassy-no-need-for-diplomatic-status-for-russian-center/

Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s Nairobi embassy in lease dispute

Real estate firm Plumcon East Africa has sued the Saudi Arabian embassy for backing out of a deal that was to see it lease seven high end apartments in Nairobi’s Arboretum area. Plumcon says it made specific repairs to the seven apartments in 2012 at the request of the Saudi Arabian Embassy which afterwards refused to take up the housing units. The firm now wants Justice Thuranira to order the embassy to pay it damages in an amount that the court shall deem fair for the loss of business. The Saudi Arabian embassy was to pay Sh17.7 million yearly for the seven apartments before it terminated the agreement. The Saudi Arabian embassy however says Plumcon delayed in completing the requested fittings in the apartments. The embassy says its staff were to occupy the apartments on November 26, 2011 but that the units were far from ready by then. Plumcon however insists that it finished all repairs early enough and attempted to hand over the keys to the Saudi Arabian embassy on November 24, 2011. The embassy however refused to accept the keys and terminated the lease agreement, the firm says. Saudi Arabia’s embassy has now filed an application to dismiss the suit, arguing that it enjoys diplomatic immunity hence cannot be sued.

http://www.nation.co.ke/business/Saudi-Arabia-embassy-lease-dispute/996-4014626-i4ylkq/index.html

Newsline: Russia says too many U.S. spies work in Moscow embassy

Russia said on Friday that too many American spies operated in Moscow under diplomatic cover and said it might expel some of them to retaliate against the United States over Washington’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats last year. The warning, delivered by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, reflects rising frustration in Moscow over the Trump administration’s refusal to hand back two Russian diplomatic compounds which were seized at the same time as some of Russia’s diplomats were sent home last year. Barack Obama, U.S. president at the time, ordered the expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies in December, along with the seizure of the two diplomatic compounds, over what he said was the hacking of U.S. political groups during the 2016 presidential election, something Russia has flatly denied. President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate immediately at the time, saying he would wait to see what the new administration of Donald Trump would do. Zakharova complained on Friday that U.S. officials were not issuing visas to Russian diplomats to allow Moscow to replace the expelled employees and get its embassy back up to full strength.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions-retaliation-idUSKBN19Z0RV

Newsline: Peru orders downsizing of North Korean embassy in Lima

Action is in line with UNSC Resolution 2321, follows measures by other states. Peru has instructed the North Korean Embassy in Lima to reduce the number of its credited diplomats pursuant to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2321, according to its implementation report dated June 28. The move is in line with Paragraph 14 of Resolution 2321, which calls upon UN member states to reduce the number of North Korean diplomats.

https://www.nknews.org/2017/07/peru-orders-downsizing-of-north-korean-embassy-in-lima/