Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Turkish Embassy in Moscow receives envelope containing white powder

The Turkish Embassy in Moscow received an envelope containing white powder, said an Embassy employee. Preliminary examinations showed that this white powder was not hazardous, the Embassy employee told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media. Since last week, 12 embassies in Moscow reported the reception of envelopes with white powder, according to security sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. No poisonous substances were discovered after examination.

https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2018/02/21/turkish-embassy-in-moscow-receives-envelope-containing-white-powder

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Newsline: Iraqi ambassador to Moscow calls Turkish forces in Iraq “invaders”

The Iraqi ambassador to Moscow Haydar Hadi has described the presence of Turkish forces on Iraqi soil as an “invasion”, the Russian news site Sputnik Türkiye reported on Tuesday. “We see the Turkish soldiers’ presence in Iraq as an invasion, and have sent a message of protest on the topic,” said Hadi at a press conference in Moscow, adding that countries from the Arab League had supported Iraq’s stance. Turkish forces entered Iraq in 2015 to help the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS), the extremist jihadist organisation that declared itself a caliphate in 2014 after seizing the Iraqi city of Mosul. The Turkish parliament voted to extend the deployment of troops at a military base in the town of Bashiqa for another year in September 2017, even though its stated objective of forcing ISIS out of Mosul had been achieved.

https://ahvalnews.com/iraq-turkey/turkish-forces-iraq-invaders-iraqi-ambassador

Newsline: Palestinians Attack Qatari Ambassador in Gaza

Palestinians in Gaza Strip attacked the Qatari ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi after his press conference at Dar al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to announce the details of the Emiri Qatari grant, and they forced him to leave under direct threat to his life. Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that one of the cleaning workers in one of Gaza’s hospitals asked Emadi after the conference about the fate of their salaries given that they had not received any payment for the fifth month in a row. The ambassador told the striking workers, most of them hospital staff, that the Palestinian Authority was the only party authorized to discuss the issue of their unpaid salaries. He indicated that this is not an issue related to his country, adding: “This has nothing to do with the Qatari grant.” The ambassador’s response angered the workers who were hoping to receive help. They threw shoes at the ambassador before he was taken from the premises by security forces. Sources said that Emadi was not hit directly, but the workers tore pictures of the Emir of Qatar in the place, along with banners thanking Qatar for its financial aid to Gaza. Officials of the Ministry of Health in Gaza ordered the workers of the cleaning companies to attend the conference of Emadi, carrying the banners and pictures in an attempt to attract more support. The officials were also hoping to resolve the crisis that has been ongoing for more than two weeks, causing an environmental disaster in hospitals as a result of the accumulation of wastes. Asharq Al-Awsat learned that the ministry’s officials and a number of Hamas officially apologized to the Qatari ambassador.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1181206/palestinians-attack-qatari-ambassador-gaza-hamas-apologizes

Newsline: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Denounces Swastikas Graffiti on Polish Embassy

Swastikas and anti-Polish obscenities on the entrance to the Embassy of Poland in Tel Aviv are not to be tolerated in Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Monday. Hotovely was responding to a Polish protest to the Foreign Ministry about the anti-Polish graffiti that was found at the embassy on Sunday, hours after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at the Munich Security Conference that just as there were Polish, Ukrainian and Russian perpetrators of the Holocaust – not only German ones – so too there were Jewish perpetrators.

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Hotovely-decries-graffiti-at-Polands-Tel-Aviv-embassy-543086

Newsline: Turkey renames US embassy street amid row over Syria operation

The street in Ankara where the US embassy is located was renamed after Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia yesterday (19 February), just days after the two sides agreed on the need to normalise relations. Already tense ties were strained further when Ankara started a ground and air offensive dubbed “Olive Branch” last month against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in its enclave of Afrin in western Syria. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an insurgency in Turkey which is listed as a terror organisation by the US and the European Union. But in Syria, Washington has been providing arms to the YPG against the Islamic State group, much to Ankara’s chagrin in a dispute that has ignited the biggest crisis in bilateral ties since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The US has previously called on Ankara for restraint and said operation “Olive Branch” risked becoming a distraction from the fight against jihadists in Syria.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/turkey-renames-us-embassy-street-amid-row-over-syria-operation/

Newsline: South Korean Man Threatened To Blow Up The Japanese Embassy

NBC’s Olympic coverage apparently infuriated one man so much that he threatened to bomb an embassy. A middle-aged South Korean man was detained for threatening to blow up the Japanese embassy in Seoul with dynamite after an NBC commentator insensitively praised Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday, citing local police. The man confessed to the charges, admitting he made the call to the embassy in a fit of rage while drunk.

http://dailycaller.com/2018/02/18/man-threatens-blow-up-embassy/

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Kenya denies racism in ‘blackface’ skit

The Chinese Embassy in Nairobi on Sunday fought back claims of racism in a skit aired on Thursday by China’s national broadcaster. The embassy said any perception of ill-will was from people who are not happy with Beijing’s cooperation with Africa. Mr Zhang Gang, a spokesman of the embassy, told the Nation that the reports of malice were “ill-intended, totally distorting and smearing”. He said the show was vetted by government officials before airing. The controversial skit was aired by China Central Television (CCTV) during an annual gala to mark the Chinese New Year. The gala is said to be the most watched TV event, with more than 700 million people tuning in. This year’s show was themed around the strengthening relations between China and Africa. However, in a performance that was to depict a scene in Kenya of a Chinese man involved in the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR), a Chinese actress who played the role of a Kenyan mother raised eyebrows. She painted herself black and stuffed her undergarments to look like she had huge behinds. And she showed up on stage with a monkey walking by her side. Reports say the monkey was an African man in a special costume.

https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Chinese-embassy-denies-racism-in-skit-Lunar-New-Year/1056-4310180-y1uiew/index.html