Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for UK

Newsline: Britain blocks new Chinese embassy in London, sparking diplomatic row

UK is refusing to give China the all-clear for a new embassy in London in an extraordinary diplomatic row. Sources say the Government insists it will only be approved if the Chinese agree to a request to give up control of a road next to Britain’s embassy in Beijing. The Chinese have refused to follow normal practice and designate the road as British soil, which infuriated the Foreign Office. China plans to move its embassy from Marylebone to a building on the site of the old Royal Mint near the Tower of London. A real estate company is also looking at sites close to the new 12-storey US embassy in Vauxhall. Insiders in the Foreign Office last night said officials had spoken to the Chinese government about its plans to move to new premises several times and claimed the talks had been positive and constructive. A spokesman said that the ­Foreign Office “did not recognise” claims of a stand-off.



Newsline: Britons in France grill ambassador over post-Brexit rights

It was supposed to be a simple mission to update British nationals in Paris about their rights after Brexit. The setting was the 18th-century embassy building, the backdrop to centuries of British diplomacy. Instead Edward Llewellyn, the British ambassador, was subjected to a two-hour roasting by angry British nationals. “I went there seeking reassurance and I came away terrified about my future,” Ian Fox, a senior executive at an internationally renowned consumer brand in Paris, told the Guardian after the meeting. Lord Llewellyn, who was formerly David Cameron’s chief of staff, started out with a prepared speech about the “considerable progress” Brexit negotiators had made, explaining how he understood their “anxieties and concerns”. But he ended up being heckled and laughed at when he told them Theresa May had prioritised their rights. “Feel the temperature in the room,” one man shouted.


Newsline: Russian Embassy Implies UK Issued Fake Letter from Yulia Skripal

The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom has released a statement saying it doubts the letter published by UK police Wednesday, which was purportedly penned by Yulia Skripal, is authentic. The embassy called on British authorities to provide concrete information on Skripal’s whereabouts, and requested London furnish proof Yulia Skripal is not being detained in the United Kingdom after being released from the hospital, where her father is still “seriously ill,” according to the letter that came via police Wednesday. The Russian Embassy in London issued a response to the letter saying it “would like to make sure that the statement truly comes from Yulia. We have great doubts about that.” “As we have already stressed, media reports that Yulia Skripal has been moved to a ‘secure location’ raise new questions. The Sun today says that she has been transferred to a medical facility at a guarded military base to continue medical treatment. There is also a video showing Yulia allegedly going out of the hospital accompanied by two guards. The Times suggests another version: Yulia has been moved to a ‘well-guarded country house,'” an embassy press officer elaborated Wednesday. In a statement released by London’s Metropolitan Police Wednesday, Yulia Skripal stated that she was “still suffering with effects of the nerve agent” and that her father, Sergei Skripal, is “still seriously ill.”


Newsline: Russian embassy accuses UK authorities of evidence destruction

The spokesperson of the Russian embassy to the UK believes that the reports about future demolition of the buildings are proving the fact that the United Kingdom is implementing a policy of evidence destruction, a spokesperson of the Russian embassy to the United Kingdom told Sputnik. On Monday, media reported that the house of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in the UK town of Salisbury, as well as the Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant, attended by the ex-spy and his daughter Yulia before the poisoning, would be demolished.


Newsline: Russian embassy criticises Foreign Office for failing to grant visa to Sergei Skripal’s niece

The Russian embassy has accused the British Foreign Office of failing to answer questions on why former spy Sergei Skripal’s niece has been refused a visa to visit him and his daughter, Yulia. Viktoria Skripal has appealed to Theresa May for permission to come to the UK and visit her relatives after she was denied access by the British embassy in Moscow. Claiming the UK has “something to hide”, she vowed to fight on until she can see her cousin and uncle, saying she would take her case to the United Nations if prevented.


Newsline: Foreign Office criticises Russian request to meet Boris Johnson as ‘diversionary tactic’

The Foreign Office has criticised Russia’s request for a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over the Salisbury spy attack investigation as a “diversionary tactic”. Russian officials earlier said they wanted to discuss Mr Johnson’s department’s “utterly unsatisfactory” communication with him. The Foreign Office confirmed on Saturday it had received a request from the Russian Embassy to speak to Mr Johnson, who has repeatedly condemned Vladimir Putin’s regime over the attempted assassination of a former double agent last month. But in a later beefed-up response, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “It’s Russia’s response that has been unsatisfactory. “It’s over three weeks since we asked Russia to engage constructively and answer a number of questions relating to the attempted assassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter. Now, after failing in their attempts in the UN and international chemical weapons watchdog this week and with the victims’ condition improving, they seem to be pursuing a different diversionary tactic.” She added: “We will of course consider their request and respond in due course.”


Newsline: Russian Embassy to the UK seeks meeting with Boris Johnson

Russia’s diplomatic mission in Britain believes that a meeting between Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will be organized soon, a Russian embassy spokesman said on Saturday when asked about the current state of cooperation with the British Foreign Office regarding the Salisbury incident. “Unfortunately, we cannot say that the current level of cooperation between the embassy and the Foreign Office is satisfactory. It seems that a long overdue meeting of Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson should be organized for discussion of the whole range of bilateral relations, as well as the investigation of the Salisbury incident. In this respect, Yakovenko has sent a personal note to Johnson. We hope the British side will come up with a constructive response, and expect such a meeting to be organized in the near future,” he said.