Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Germany

Newsline: US Ambassador threatens German firms over Russian pipeline

The US ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has sent threatening letters to German companies working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a German newspaper. Grenell reportedly warns of possible sanctions. German companies building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia received letters from US Ambassador Richard Grenell warning them of “a significant risk of sanctions” if they did not pull out of the project, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag has reported. The large pipeline is set to deliver gas from northwestern Russia to northern Germany under the Baltic Sea and effectively double the amount of gas Germany imports from the country. The US opposes the project over fears that the gas link would tighten Russia’s control of Europe’s energy supply and diminish the importance of gas transit countries such as Ukraine. US companies are also keen to sell gas obtained by fracking to many European countries.



Newsline: US ambassador to Germany demands Spiegel fake news investigation

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell demanded an independent investigation into a German journalist who was caught making up key details in a series of reports for Der Spiegel news magazine. He said the revelations “are troubling to the US Embassy, particularly because several of these fake stories focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people.” He said he wrote to the editors of the respected news weekly calling for an “independent and transparent investigation.” He said it was clear the US had been the victim of institutional bias at the magazine, saying the outlet encouraged anti-American reporting, particularly since Donald Trump was elected president. Journalist Claas Relotius, 33, resigned after admitting to making up stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine’s print and online editions. Since then, other outlets the freelancer wrote for, such as Die Welt and Die Zeit, have been poring over their articles.


Newsline: Iran Summons German Ambassador Over Extradition of Wanted Diplomat

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that the country’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the German ambassador over a German court decision to hand over an Iranian diplomat wanted in Belgium. A German court on Oct. 1 approved the extradition of Vienna-based Assadollah Assadi, who is wanted in Belgium on suspicion he was part of a failed plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally near Paris on June 30. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi called the verdict a plot by parties seeking to sever Iran-Europe relations. He offered no evidence for the claim. Assadi was apprehended in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant alleging his involvement in the plot to bomb the rally. His arrest came after a couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.


Newsline: Greenpeace activists scale German embassy in London to protest against coal

Activists from environmental group Greenpeace scaled the German embassy in London, unfurling a giant green banner which called for an end to the use of coal. At least five activists scaled the building on Belgrave Square with a banner which read: “Exit Coal – Protect Hambach Forest,” according to a Reuters photographer at the scene.


Newsline: German Court Approves Extradition of Iranian Diplomat Over Bomb ‘Plot’

Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who is believed to be an intelligence agent, ordered a couple to attack the rally and had given them the explosives at a June meeting in Luxembourg. Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, linked to an alleged bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally, will be extradited from Germany according to the court’s ruling. “The wanted man cannot cite diplomatic immunity because he was on a several day holiday trip outside his host state Austria and not traveling between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the superior regional court in Bamberg said in a statement. Assadi was detained in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after a couple of people of Iranian origin were arrested in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car. The diplomat was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and being a foreign agent. Belgian authorities have accused Assadi of being part of an alleged plot aimed at reportedly setting off explosives at a huge annual rally of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq group, or MEK, in neighboring France. Six people linked to the case were seized legally in Belgium, France and Germany, two of whom were later released.


Newsline: Germany Says It Hopes Saudi Ambassador Will Soon Return to Berlin

The German government hopes that the Saudi ambassador will return to Berlin soon, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, after a prolonged diplomatic row prompted the kingdom to pull its ambassador from the German capital. The spokesman said Saudi Arabia was an important partner in the region that Germany wanted to cooperate with. He added that the Saudi foreign minister had invited German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Riyadh.


Newsline: German Ambassador points out dumpsites in Islamabad

German Ambassador to Pakistan, Martin Kobler, has pointed out heap of dumps in some areas of federal capital Islamabad. Martin Kobler took to Twitter sharing a picture of F7/4 street 56 of Islamabad, pointing out the heap dump. Martin writes, “Just driving through Islamabad. There are beautiful parts, but there are also small dumpsites everywhere like here in F 7/4 street 56. It seems solid waste disposal does not work in many parts.” He went on to say these dumpsites are a health hazard and breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes.