Archive for US
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad said on Monday it has limited the movement of its personnel after receiving “credible threats of possible attacks on hotels frequented by Westerners”. “As a reminder, U.S. citizens should maintain a heightened sense of security awareness and take appropriate measures to enhance their personal security at all times when living and working in Iraq,” an emergency security message for U.S. citizens on the embassy’s website said. It did not give details on the nature of threat. U.S. authorities advise citizens to avoid travelling to Iraq citing the risk of being kidnapped by armed political groups or criminal gangs and bombings by the group Islamic State.
Thousands of people converged in London on Saturday for the latest Donald Trump protest. They gathered at outside the US Embassy before making their way down to Downing Street in protest at the immigration ban being imposed by President Donald Trump. It is the latest mass demonstration against the travel ban, which affects seven Muslim-majority countries in Africa and the Middle East. More than 11,000 people are estimated to have joined the demonstration outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. The protest comes after airlines said they are allowing nationals targeted by the ban to board flights to America, after a US judge ruled the Executive Order, signed by Trump on January 27, was unconstitutional.
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad says they are still awaiting guidance following news of a court order blocking President Trump’s ban on travelers from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries. “We don’t know what the effect will be, but we’re working to get more information,” the embassy told The Associated Press in a statement, adding that embassy staffers have received a large number of phone calls and inquiries from Iraqis eager to see if the visa restrictions had changed. Iraq’s government spokesman says the prime minister’s office is also waiting for the “official position of the U.S. administration.” In a largely symbolic move, the Iraqi parliament called for a reciprocity measure last week increasing pressure on the country’s government as it attempts to balance Iraq’s alliance with the U.S. and powerful Iraqi political blocks with close ties to Iran.
President Donald Trump is quickly becoming the world’s most undiplomatic — and unpredictable — diplomat. Over the course of a week, he had a bruising telephone call with the leader of Australia, one of America’s closet allies. He complained to the Mexican President about that country’s “handling” of “tough hombres.” And Thursday evening, Trump’s administration warned that new Israeli settlement activity could potentially hamper the peace process, a new stance for a White House that’s remained adamant in its support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Throughout his campaign, Trump hailed the virtues of being unpredictable on the world stage. Much to the happiness of some of his supporters, he’s following through. But in the process, Trump is confusing much of the world. He’s also handing some leaders, such as those in the United Kingdom and Mexico, political headaches of their own after encountering Trump.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says officials are in talks with US counterparts to get clarity on how the order may affect Australians. “The Australian embassy in Washington is engaging with US officials on the potential implications of the suspension for Australian travellers, including dual nationals,” a spokeswoman told AAP in a statement. All travellers are being warned that rules could change at short notice. “Travellers should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the United States for the most current information,” the spokeswoman added. Australians who hold passports from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may potentially be turned away from the US. The government’s Smarttraveller website has updated its notifications warning travellers to the US about the controversial new rules. Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria will no longer be allowed to apply for the standard electronic travel authorisation – ETSA – which travellers must complete before heading to the US. The ETSA is an online application that determines entry eligibility based on security or police risks. All those affected will have to apply for a non-immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate.
A number of senior career diplomats are leaving the State Department after the Trump administration accepted their resignations from presidentially appointed positions. The State Department said that several senior management officials as well as a top arms control diplomat would be leaving. All had submitted their resignations prior to Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration as is required of officials holding jobs appointed by the president. They were not required to leave the foreign service but chose to retire or resign for personal reasons, the department said. While none of the officials has linked his or her departure explicitly to Trump, many diplomats have privately expressed concern about serving in his administration given the unorthodox positions he’s taken on many foreign policy issues. The union that represents American diplomats, the American Foreign Service Association, called for the administration to quickly name successors to the positions. The union urged that they be filled with career diplomats but played down the significance of the moves. Among those whose resignations have been accepted are Thomas Countryman, who had been serving as the acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. Others include Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy; two assistant secretaries, Joyce Barr and Michele Bond; and Gentry Smith, who directs the Office of Foreign Missions. Other senior career diplomats to have left the State Department since Trump’s election include Victoria Nuland, the former assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Gregory Starr, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Starr retired on Inauguration Day as did Lydia Muniz, a non-career political appointee who had run Overseas Building Operations. Trump has yet to fill many top diplomatic jobs, including the deputy secretary roles. His nominee to be secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate next week.
Nikki Haley, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is announcing a new way the U.S. does business. She says the Trump administration’s goal is to show U.S. strength and force and defend its allies — and as for countries opposing America, “We’re taking names.” The former South Carolina governor said the United States will respond “accordingly” to opponents. Haley spoke to the news media immediately after she walked into UN headquarters for the first time, saying “it’s a thrill to be here” and declaring that at the U.S. mission to the United Nations, “You are gonna see a change in the way we do business. It’s no longer about working harder, it’s about working smarter.” In the halls of UN headquarters, the Trump administration’s approach to the 193-member world organization has been a subject of non-stop diplomatic discussion, speculation and concern. The United States is a permanent veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, the organization’s most powerful body, and it pays 22 per cent of its regular budget and over 28 per cent of the costs of its far-flung peacekeeping operations.