Tag Archives: diplomacy

EU new Envoy to Switzerland

On 1 September, H.E. Mr. Petros Mavromichalis presented his letters of accreditation, signed by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to the President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga. By that, he is Extraordinary and Plenipentiary Ambassador of the European Union to Switzerland.

On occasion of the ceremony, Ambassador Mavromichalis and the President of the Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga evoked the close ties and shared values between the EU and Switzerland as well as the importance and quality of the bilateral relations.

The presentation of the letters of accreditation for the Principality of Liechtenstein is foreseen on 23 September in Vaduz.

Ambassador Petros Mavromichalis succeeds to Ambassador Michael Matthiessen, who ended his office in Bern on 31 August.

Cyprus blocks EU anti-Lukashenko sanctions

Cyprus vetoed attempts by the EU member-states to impose sanctions against some 40 Belarusian officials, including incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko.

The measures were being considered in response to the sham election that saw Lukashenko elected to a sixth term in office, and the Minsk government’s tough response to protesters who dispute the result.

Cyprus has demanded the sanctions against President Recep Tayip Erdogan to be applied first, due to a dispute over gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

The chief of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell vowed during the press-conference following the foreign affairs Council to reach unanimity by the next meeting. He added, that it is also his personal commitment.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics condemned the actions by Cyprus in a tweet, saying that it “sends a wrong signal to Belarusians, our societies and the whole world.”

EU «grave concerns» over China leap in Hong Kong

Today the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has issued the Declaration on behalf of the European Union on Hong Kong:

The EU expresses its grave concern at the steps taken by China on 28 May, which are not in conformity with its international commitments (Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984) and the Hong Kong Basic Law. This risks to seriously undermine the ‘One Country Two Systems’ principle and the high degree of autonomy of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong”.
“EU relations with China are based on mutual respect and trust. This decision further calls into question China’s will to uphold its international commitments. We will raise the issue in our continuing dialogue with China”.

At presentlChina is proposing to introduce a new national security law, which critics believe could be used to crack down on rights and political activists.

https://twitter.com/iingwen/status/1265980907137101826?s=21

Malta ambassador resigns after verbal assault

Malta’s Ambassador to Finland has resigned after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler in a public message in the context of Europe remembering the end of World War II.

Malta government ensured that the official apology will be send to Berlin.
The Maltese high diplomat to Finland resigned after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler.

Michael Zammit Tabona’s anti-Merkel Facebook entry, posted on May 8, which was removed later.

The Foreign affairs minister Evarist Bartolo informed he had accepted the resignation of the Maltese businessman appointed as Malta’s ambassador to Helsinki in 2014.

In his message on Friday, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe, Zammit Tabona had posted: “75 years ago we stopped Hitler. Who will stop Angela Merkel? She has fulfilled Hitler’s dream! To control Europe.”
Maltese media reported May 10 that the offending post had since been deleted, and that Zammit Tabona could not be contacted for comment.

The Times of Malta newspaper said Zammit Tabona’s posting had been as non-residential and quoted Bartolo as saying he had instructed the ambassador to remove the comment “as soon as I was alerted to it.
The newspaper also quoted Maltese opposition leader Adrian Delia as saying that Zammit Tabona’s Facebook post was “unbecoming of an ambassador.”

Delia told the newspaper Angela Merkel had consistently backed Malta on various issues, describing her as a source of stability in Europe — seven decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Malta’s Chamber of Commerce, in a statement also carried by the newspaper, said Zammit Tabona’s remark had harmed the country’s reputation. It welcomed his resignation.
All persons holding public office and diplomats no less, should take extra care when expressing themselves, as the country’s reputation is no one’s to put in compromising situations,” the chamber reportedly said.

Relations between the two EU nations, Malta and Germany, are becoming increasingly complex over Mediterranean migrant flows and Eurozone debt.

Russian Embassy in Kiev attacked

Russian embassy in Kiev was attempted to set ablaze by Ukrainian nationalists from a rocket launcher. A video of the incident was published by various TV channels. (Image: social media).

The missile hit directly the roof of the Russian Embassy, but apparently it failed to cause fire of the building. In addition, illustrating their aggressive intentions, the radicals have torn apart Russian flag.

The shelling of the building took place during an action of Urkaine radicals dedicated to the “Volunteer Day” when on March 14, 2014 first nationalist battalions began to form to participate in “anti-terrorist operation” in Donbass declared by President Poroshenko.

Sources in the diplomatic mission told Russian news agencies that in connection with the rally, reinforced groups of the National Guard of Ukraine were patroling the area near the building. In addition, after the shelling, they decided to go around the building and to assess the consequences of the incident.

Russian Embassy in Kiev sent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine an official protest.

EU Ambassador to London

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announces the appointment of Mr. João Vale de Almeida, 62, as the first Head of the future EU Delegation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This has been duly notified to the United Kingdom. Mr. Vale de Almeida will take up his new functions on 1 February 2020.

As of that date, the United Kingdom will be a third country and as a consequence, the representation of the Union will be ensured by an EU Delegation.

João Vale de Almeida is a senior European Union diplomat, who served as EU Ambassador to the United Nations from 2015 to 2019, and previously as the first EU Ambassador to the United States of America, from 2010 to 2014.

Between 2004 and 2009, Vale de Almeida was the Head of Cabinet (Chief of staff and main adviser) for the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. He accompanied President Barroso in all European Council meetings and ensured coordination with the private offices of Heads of State and Government in all 28 Member States of the EU. He was also the President’s Personal Representative for the negotiations on the Treaty of Lisbon and acted as his personal representative (sherpa) for G8 and G20 summits.

New US Ambassador arrives to Moscow

The newly appointed US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, who is arriving in Moscow on January 16, looks forward to enhancing the relationship between the two countries and strengthening cooperation between Moscow and Washington, US Embassy in Russia said in a statement.

“Ambassador Sullivan plans to arrive in Moscow on January 16 and present his credentials to the Russian government soon thereafter. Ambassador Sullivan looks forward to enhancing the overall bilateral relationship and strengthening US-Russian cooperation on several global and regional issues of mutual interest,” the statement said.

Sullivan will lead the US embassy in Moscow and its consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok “as they further US foreign policy goals, protect American citizens, and expand trade and business opportunities between the United States and Russia,” the diplomatic mission noted.

Sullivan will succeed Jon Huntsman who tendered his resignation in early August 2019. Huntsman’s tenure expired on October 3. Two weeks later, US President Donald Trump nominated Sullivan who earlier served as Deputy Secretary of State, for confirmation by the Senate. On November 20, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved his candidacy.

Ukraine caught in U.S. domestic debate

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) said Russia sees “similar symptoms in U.S. attempts to persuade allies… that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs”. Political forces in the United States are trying to use Ukraine to achieve their own goals, Sergei Ryabkov said at the meeting with the participants in the annual scientific and educational program of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

Everything that has been going on recently around U.S.-Ukrainian contacts cannot be considered otherwise than another attempt to use external circumstances for domestic political purposes,” he said. “We see similar symptoms in US attempts to persuade its allies, which defer to Washington’s opinion, that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs.”

Ryabkov has underlined that such accusations have not grounds: “We have proposed more than once to discuss such issues in a calm and professional atmosphere. There are specialists who understand better than diplomats what the use of information and communication technologies for illegal and unacceptable purposes means,” the diplomat underlined.

The Democratic Party of the the U.S. House of Representatives  announced on  September 24  the launch of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The proposal came after reports emerged in the media that Trump had allegedly attempted to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky to take actions, which would help the incumbent U.S. president to get reelected for a second mandate in 2020.

Venezuela expels German ambassador

Venezuela government has declared the German ambassador persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country within 48 hours in aftermath of political crisis intensified.

The decision to expel Daniel Kriener who has been based in Caracas since 2018 became public via Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, post in Twitter micro blog.

Arreaza said the decision was based on Daniel Kriener’s “repeated acts of interference in the country’s internal affairs”.

In a statement, Maduro’s administration accused Kriener and the German government of unlawful meddling in home affairs of Venezuela.  Berlin recognizied Maduro’s rival Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate leader last month.

AMENDED:

The EU says it hopes Venezuela will reconsider its expulsion of the German ambassador.

AMENDED: EU is committed to maintaining contacts with “Mister Maduro” government, the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said.

Lavrov “unpleasant surprise” of Austria spy scandal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was an “unpleasant surprise” in absence of any request from Vienna for  explanations over the affair of a retired Austrian army colonel who had allegedly spied for Moscow.

This was an unpleasant surprise to me. It has been a custom from time immemorial for any country that feels some concerns or suspicions over actions by another country to ask for explanations directly in accordance with the rules of international communication. Lately, our Western counterparts have made it a rule not to use traditional methods but rather megaphone diplomacy.They accuse us in public and then demand public explanations over an issue we know nothing about,” Lavrov underlined, according to TASS News Agency.

“It is essential to follow the rules that have been shaped in the process of international communication. We have invited Austria’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry. We will draw his attention to what methods should be used, if they have any questions for Russia,” Lavrov added.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at press conference that the 70-year-old army official, now retired, is suspected to have begun working with Russian intelligence in the 1990s and carried on until 2018, for three decades.

The public prosecutor’s office in Salzburg province confirmed the colonel is under investigation for the crime of revealing state secrets.

 

 

 

 

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