Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Sweden

Newsline: Canadian pastor freed from North Korean prison after efforts from Swedish embassy

Relatives of a Canadian pastor released this week after more than two years in a North Korean prison say he is “on his way home” and they are anxious to be reunited with him. The Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korea’s central court had decided to free Hyeong Soo Lim, who was serving a life sentence for anti-state activities. The pastor’s release was described as “sick bail,” but no other details were given. In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for his family said “there is a long way to go” in terms of Lim’s healing and stressed the need for privacy as he receives unspecified medical attention. Lisa Pak also said the family is grateful to the Canadian government and the Swedish embassy in North Korea for working behind the scenes to secure the pastor’s freedom. She did not say when he was scheduled to arrive in Canada.

Canadian pastor freed from North Korean prison after efforts from Swedish embassy: family

Newsline: Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang confirms arrest of the US citizen

North Korea has detained another US citizen, bringing to 3 the number of Americans held in the country amid increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang Sunday confirmed the detainment of the US citizen but did not elaborate on the matter. However, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources, reported on the same day that a Korean-American man was arrested Friday at Pyongyang’s international airport. According to the agency, the man in his fifties identified only by his surname Kim was trying to leave the country when North Korean police arrested him. Kim has been involved in aid and relief programs to North Korea and formerly worked as professor at the Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China which has a sister university in Pyongyang. North Korea has at least two other Americans in its prisons. Last year in January, Otto Warmbier, who was 21 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison after he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/23/519129/US-North-Korea-US-citizen

Newsline: China’s Embassy in Sweden Advises Chinese Nationals to Up Security

The Chinese embassy in Sweden on Friday recommended Chinese citizens to make efforts toward tightening security and abstain from visiting public places after the truck incident in Stockholm earlier in the day. “The embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sweden advises China’s citizens to tighten security measures … not to visit public places and go outside in the night where possible,” the statement read. There is no information about any Chinese citizens being affected by the incident. According to Swedish media reports, at least one person was killed and dozens more injured when a truck rammed into a crowd on a major pedestrian street in the Swedish capital.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201704071052428552-china-sweden-embassy-advises-security/

Newsline: Ecuador prosecutor sees no quick embassy exit for Assange

Ecuador’s prosecutor said it does not see a quick way out for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the country’s embassy in Britain for four years. Swedish prosecutors earlier this month questioned Assange at the London embassy in an investigation into allegations that he committed rape in Sweden in 2010. Ecuador must deliver a written version of the testimony to Swedish prosecutors and will do so in December, said Ecuador’s prosecutor, Galo Chiriboga. Assange, who is Australian, fears deportation to Sweden and the United States, where he could be charged for the publication of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables. “Four years have passed and we are only at this stage, but that is no longer attributable to Ecuador, it is attributable to Swedish prosecutors. I do not think there is a quick way out,” Chiriboga told reporters. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said this month that Assange should receive guarantees that he will not be extradited if he faces justice in Sweden.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-sweden-assange-idUSKBN13N2BS

Newsline: Police to interview Wikileaks founder inside Ecuador embassy next week

The Wikileaks founder will speak on November 14 in a move that could end a long diplomatic deadlock that has seen him holed up in the London residence since 2012. “Ecuador has granted the Swedish request for legal assistance in criminal matters and the interview will be conducted by an Ecuadorian prosecutor,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement. The Swedish assistant prosecutor, Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, and a Swedish police investigator have been allowed to be present at the interview. They will report the findings to Sweden. Swedish authorities want to question Assange over allegations that he committed rape in 2010. Assange denies the allegations.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/729519/Julian-Assange-latest-police-interview-embassy-London-November-14

Newsline: Sweden reopening embassy in Philippines

The Swedish government is reopening its embassy in Manila as it sought to re-establish economic and foreign diplomatic relations with the Philippines. Having an embassy here is expected to help Sweden promote and develop bilateral relations with the Philippines, and make Sweden more known in the Philippines. Another major task for the embassy will be to provide consular services to Swedish residents and citizens who are temporarily visiting the country. The embassy will be led by an ambassador, a Swedish diplomat, and eight local staff. An official notice showed that the inauguration ceremony for the new Embassy of Sweden would be held on Tuesday to be led by Mikael Damberg, Minister of Enterprise and Innovation at Sweden and Swedish Ambassador-designate Harald Fries. They will be accompanied by a delegation of key Swedish businessmen and officials.

http://business.inquirer.net/218472/sweden-reopening-embassy-ph

Newsline: Finland’s Stockholm embassy accused of peddling booze

Employees of the Finnish embassy in Stockholm have been accused of bootlegging tax free cigarettes, wine, beer and spirits to the tune of thousands of Swedish kronor in an investigation by Finland Swedish news agency Svensk Presstjänst (SPT). International conventions means that anyone with diplomat status employed at an embassy is allowed to buy tobacco and alcohol without paying tax, but only for their own use or the use of their representatives. In August, Finnish news agency FNB reported that alcohol and tobacco products may have been sold on by staff from the Finnish embassy to people who were not covered by the privilege, however. And now, SPT claims that the sum total of unpaid tax on the products may have been as much as 190,000 kronor ($21,700) per year in the period between 2013 and 2015. The news agency cites Swedish Foreign Ministry (UD) figures as its source, with UD’s approval required for tax-free purchases made by embassies. In 2014, Finland’s former ambassador to Sweden Jarno Viinanen told SPT that “you have to remember that the embassy arranges over a hundred events every year”. But according to the news agency Viinanen soon noticed that something was not right, and quickly put an end to what he described as fairly well organized peddling. Since then, the amount of tax-free purchases of tobacco and alcohol from the Finnish embassy are said to have reduced significantly.

https://www.thelocal.se/20161011/finlands-stockholm-embassy-accused-of-peddling-booze-and-cigarettes