Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: UK Foreign Office advises tourists to stay inside after Barcelona terror attack

The Foreign Office has warned Britons in Barcelona to stay away from the Las Ramblas area of the city after this afternoon’s terror attack. Witnesses heard a “loud crash” followed by people screaming after a van ploughed into crowds of people on the wide tree-lined boulevard which is popular with tourists. The incident is being treated as a terrorist attack by police – local media says at least two people are dead and several more are injured. Updated travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London has warned tourists in the city to stay inside and to stay away from the Las Ramblas area. People who are already in the area have been asked to follow the the advice of police and security services. A spokesman said representatives of the FCO are in contact with Spanish authorities. The travel advice page for Spain on the FCO website now reads: “The British Embassy in Madrid and Consulate General in Barcelona are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an incident in central Barcelona.

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/barcelona-terror-attack-tourist-advice-what-to-do-foreign-office-embassy-contact-a7898936.html

Newsline: Three Employees of US Embassy Detained in Yemen

The Yemeni security services officers, controlled by the Houthi rebel movement, detained and took to an unknown place three employees of the US Embassy in Sanaa, without bringing any charges against them, a source in the services told Sputnik. Earlier in the day, local media reported that the militias had detained 12 employees of the United Nations and staff members of the US Embassy in Sanaa. “Yemeni militias detained three employees of the US embassy separately and took them to an unknown place,” the source said. According to him, the charges have not yet been brought against the detainees. The incident has not been announced officially. A source in the local United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) denied reports of the detention of its employees. “This news is not true,” the source said.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201708171056538799-yemen-us-embassy/

Newsline: Thai consulate in Los Angeles warns of protests over failure to retrieve students’ bodies

US authorities could face protests if they do not expedite the retrieval of the bodies of two Thai postgraduate students believed to have died in a car crash almost two weeks ago in California, the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles has said. Protests are planned in Fresno county, the scene of the accident, and Los Angeles, as frustration mounts with the slow progress of the operation. The consulate said on Facebook that protests would proceed if the rescue and recovery operation were not launched. Thiwadee Saengsuriyarit, 24, and Bhakapon Chairattanasongporn, 28, were driving on a highway on July 26 to Kings Canyon National Park when their rental car plunged off a 150-metre cliff and came to rest partially submerged in a river. Fresno county officials have been blaming bad weather, strong currents and high water from melting snow for the slow pace of the operation. Hopes that the pair survived the accident were dashed when Consulate General Tanee Sangrat said this week that the bodies of the students had been found in the car. In Bangkok, Ekkachai Taidecha, uncle of Bhakapon, applied yesterday for entry visas for a Thai rescue team, saying Thais should take over if US authorities continued to fail to act. “If this accident happened in Thailand, Thai rescuers would be able to get the bodies within 12 hours, no matter how bad the weather was. They would not have to use a helicopter,” he said. In response to Ekkachai’s symbolic protest, the US Embassy issued a statement. “We are closely following the situation and express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the two Thai students involved in this tragic accident in California.”

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30323468

Newsline: Israeli Embassy to Reopen in Cairo, Still Closed in Jordan

Israel will re-open its embassy in Cairo, nine months after it was closed due to security concerns, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. There has been no official confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this. Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, left Cairo with the entire embassy staff in December 2016, after Israeli security agency Shin Bet contended that their safety was endangered. According to Tuesday reports by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli Foreign Ministry and security teams recently traveled to Cairo to discuss new security arrangements in the embassy. Israeli diplomatic presence in Egypt has had a rocky record for the past decade, with Govrin working in Cairo rather briefly, from September 2015 to December 2016. The 2015 reopening took place after another, four year hiatus, also prompted by security concerns. In 2011, a mob of thousands protesters stormed the legation with battering rams, forcing Israel to airlift its diplomats out of Egypt. The other diplomatic crisis, between Israel and Jordan, shows no signs of resolution. Jordan banned Israel’s ambassador Einat Schlein from returning to Amman until the embassy security guard Ziv Moyal, who shot dead two Jordanians in July after being stabbed by one of them, is investigated and tried. Israeli authorities have launched a probe into the incident, but no conclusions have yet been drawn. Although Jordan described the warm welcome Moyal had received from Israeli government upon return as “provocative” and “damaging to bilateral relations” between the two countries, Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem claims there are “no issues” with Amman. They also announced a meeting scheduled for next week which will be attended by Jordanian and Palestinian Authority representatives.

https://news.google.com/news/search/section/q/embassy/embassy?hl=en&ned=us

Newsline: Italy to return ambassador to Cairo, ending standoff over murdered student

Italy said it would return its ambassador to Cairo more than a year after the murder of an Italian graduate student led the Rome government to recall its previous envoy. Giulio Regeni was 28 when he vanished from the streets of Cairo in January 2016. His body was discovered in a ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital on Feb. 3, showing signs of extensive torture. Italy recalled its ambassador in April 2016 as it sought to obtain evidence from Egypt to solve the murder. Magistrates in Rome and Cairo have met a half-dozen times over the past year, but no one has been charged. “The Italian government’s commitment remains to clarify the tragic disappearance of Giulio,” Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in a statement. “Sending an authoritative liaison (ambassador) will help, through contacts with the Egyptian authorities, reinforce judicial cooperation and as a consequence the search for the truth,” Alfano said. Regeni, who had been looking into Egypt’s independent unions for his doctorate thesis at Cambridge, attracted the suspicion of the Cairo government before his disappearance, sources told Reuters last year. Security and intelligence sources told Reuters that Regeni had been arrested in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016, and taken into custody. Egyptian officials have denied any involvement to Regeni’s death.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-egypt-regeni-murder-idUSKCN1AU1YL

Newsline: Peru and Venezuela Expel Each Others Ambassadors

Venezuela has rejected Peru’s decision to withdraw its Ambassador to Lima and said it is obliged to expel the Peruvian Ambassador to Caracas in response. The government issued a statement which criticises the move and adds “The President of the Republic of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has become an enemy of Bolivar’s homeland by continually interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela”. Earlier the Peruvian government announced the expulsion of Ambassador, Diego Molero, giving him a maximum of five days to leave the country. Lima says Caracas had sent an “unacceptable” response following a regional meeting which condemned Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Peru-Expels-Venezuelan-Ambassador-Diego-Molero-20170811-0019.html

Newsline: Russia may be forced to shut down consulate in retaliation for slashing US diplomatic staff

Russia may be forced to close one of four consulates in the U.S. as part of an ongoing diplomatic tit-for-tat between the two countries, sources said. The U.S. State Department will announce whether Russia will have to close one of the consulate generals in New York, Houston, San Francisco, or Seattle, by September 1, according to sources cited by the Russian newspaper Kommersant. Congress imposed sanctions on Russia — which Trump begrudgingly signed off on — because of the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. presidential elections last year. The backlash was swift, and Russia seized two American diplomatic properties in Russia in late July.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/russia-forced-shut-consulate-article-1.3402184