Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Regions

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

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Newsline: North Korean Ambassador To Thailand Says His Country Will Strike Back If Attacked

North Korean Ambassador to Thailand Mun Song-mo says his country will “definitely win” any war with the United States if Washington does not drop its “plan to destroy us.” He called US President Donald Trump a “mad man”, the envoy from Pyongyang in an interview last Friday: “We now have the hydrogen bomb. If a war breaks out, we are ready to fight and we will surely win the war against the United States.” In the rare interview, the North Korean envoy, however, stressed: “We don’t want to start a war. We want peace. But if we are attacked, we will certainly fight and we have no doubts that we will win.”

http://www.khonkaentimes.com/north-korean-ambassador-says-country-wants-peace-will-strike-back-attacked/

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: Polish ambassador summoned after Ukrainian official banned from entering Poland

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Saturday that Ukrainian official Svyatoslav Sheremeta was banned from entering the country. Sheremeta, who is in charge of Ukraine’s Interdepartmental Commemorations Commission, tried to cross the border in Medyka in southeast Poland on Saturday noon with a German visa. According to Elzbieta Pikor, spokeswoman for the local Polish Border Guard, Sheremeta was refused to enter as the register of people who are not welcome in the country. Polish News Agency (PAP) reported that the decision to bar Sheremeta was the result of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance having in April issued a ban on the search and exhumation of remains of Polish war victims on Ukrainian territory. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has announced recently that the Polish government intends to revise its policy towards Ukraine over history. He emphasized that people representing anti-Polish views should be banned from entering the country. In relation to Sheremeta’s barring of entry, Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Pieklo was summoned by the government in Kiev to give some explanations.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/19/c_136762916.htm

Newsline: Philippine Consulate in Mozambique on alert for possible evacuation amid Zimbabwe tension

The Philippine Consulate in Mozambique is on alert in the event of a mass evacuation following the military takeover of neighboring Zimbabwe. Although the situation in the southern African nation is relatively calm at present, the consulate is still ready in case an evacuation becomes necessary, News To Go reported, citing Consul Donald Tulcidas. The number of Filipinos in Zimbabwe is unknown. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) were previously banned from going to the country due to the alleged refusal of the Zimbabwean government to coordinate with its Philippine counterpart on the protection of workers’ rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs is also currently gathering information on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/pinoyabroad/633399/phl-consulate-on-alert-for-possible-evacuation-amid-zimbabwe-tension/story/

Newsline: US embassy dragged into Canberra dog attack investigation

A dog living on a property owned by the US embassy has been linked to three separate attacks in the past 18 months, but investigations have been hampered by diplomatic considerations. No action has yet been taken over the attacks, which included one on a four-year old girl, two attacks on adult neighbours of the Stirling property, and one on another dog. The ACT’s domestic animal service confirmed it had been called to the latest attack on October 25, but said it was “currently liaising with the Australian Federal Police diplomatic liaison unit”. In that incident, Stirling woman Livia Auer was bitten on her legs and backside when two German shepherds escaped their yard at a home owned by the embassy and occupied by a diplomat. Less than an hour earlier, one of the dogs had attacked a child and her mother playing in the front yard of their home.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/complaints-of-three-attacks-by-dog-living-on-us-embassy-property-20171113-gzko56.html