Tag Archives: diplomats

EU deplores Czech diplomats expel

Brussels 19.04.2021 “The European Union stands in full support and solidarity with the Czech Republic and deplores Russia’s response to expel 20 Czech diplomats. Russia’s decision follows the announcement by the Czech Republic on 17 April to expel 18 Russian embassy staff, based on reasonable suspicion about the involvement of Russian military intelligence service (GRU) agents in the 2014 explosion of an ammunition depot in the town of Vrbětice, resulting in the death of two Czech nationals. These GRU agents were also in charge of the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018” reads the statement of the EU spokesperson.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about the repeating negative pattern of dangerous malign behaviour by Russia in Europe. Russia must stop with these activities, which violates well-established international principles and norms and threaten stability in Europe”.

Prague authorities demand that Russian Embassy vacate an area of 5,000 square meters, currently occupied by the diplomatic mission. Before 1968, the mentioned area was a part of the adjacent Stromovka Park, Prague-7 district head Jan Cizinsky said on Twitter.

“The Prague city council called on the Czech government to hold negotiations in a bid to bring the Russian Embassy territory to the state that preceded the Warsaw Pact forces invasion in 1968,” he tweeted.

According to the Czech media, the area in question is about 5,000 square meters. The city authorities plan to plant trees and flowers on this area, as it was prior to August 1968, when a Soviet military camp was deployed there.

This decision was made amid a sharp escalation of relations between Russia and the Czech Republic, following the expulsion of 18 Russian Embassy employees and accusations of Russian intelligence’s involvement in explosions at arms depots in 2014.

EEAS senior diplomatic appointments

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, announced today senior appointments in the European External Action Service (EEAS) in headquarters:

Joanneke BALFOORT as Director for Security and Defence Policy. She was previously Ambassador of the Netherlands to the EU Political and Security Committee.

Angelina EICHHORST as Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia. She was previously EEAS Director, Deputy Managing Director Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Carl HALLERGARD, as Director, Deputy Managing Director Middle East and North Africa. He was previously Deputy Head of Delegation to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva.

Javier NIÑO PEREZ as Director, Deputy Managing Director Americas. He was previously Head of the EEAS United States and Canada Division.

Josep Borrell also announced today senior nominations in the EEAS in EU Delegations in the world, who will be formally appointed following receipt of their respective agréments by the host country:

Andreas VON BRANDT has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan. He is currently Deputy Director in the Cabinet of the NATO Secretary General.

Birgitte MARKUSSEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union. She is currently EEAS Director, Deputy Managing Director Africa.

Jeannette SEPPEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Angola. She is currently Senior Civilian Representative to the EMASoH mission (European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz).

Malgorzata WASILEWSKA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM. She is currently the Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica.

Irchad RAZAALY has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. He is currently Head of the EEAS West Africa Division.

León DE LA TORRE KRAIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Chile. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Bolivia.

Charles-Michel GEURTS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Ecuador. He is currently Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Indonesia.

Christian BERGER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey.

Thomas PEYKER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Guatemala. He is currently Adviser, Senior Inspector in the EEAS Inspection Division.

Jaume SEGURA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Honduras. He is currently Political Counsellor in the Embassy of Spain in Mexico.

Thomas GNOCCHI has been nominated as Head of the EU Office to Hong Kong and Macao. He is currently Deputy Head of the EEAS Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Division.

Lucie SAMCOVA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Iceland. She is currently Deputy Head of the EEAS Migration and Human Security Division.

Marianne VAN STEEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. She is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Ecuador.

Maria CASTILLO FERNANDEZ has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Korea. She is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia.

Thomas SZUNYOG has been nominated as Head of the EU Office in Kosovo. He is currently Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union.

Ina MARCIULIONYTE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. She is currently Ambassador of Lithuania to China, Thailand, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Laurent DELAHOUSSE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Liberia. He is currently Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy in Africa, Department for Africa and the Indian Ocean, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Paris, France.

Jose SABADELL has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Libya. He is currently Director of Policy Planning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

Michalis ROKAS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia. He is currently the Head of the EEAS Support to Delegations Division.

Oana Cristina POPA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro. She is currently the Ambassador of Romania to Serbia.

Ranieri SABATUCCI has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Myanmar. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union.

Nona DEPREZ has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Nepal. She is currently Head of the FPI Partnership Instrument Division, European Commission.

David GEER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia. He is currently Head of the EEAS Sanctions Policy Division.

Alexandra VALKENBURG has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to The Holy See, Order of Malta, UN Organisations in Rome and to the Republic of San Marino. She is currently Ambassador of the Netherlands to Cuba and Jamaica.

Patrick SIMONNET has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman. He is currently Head of the EEAS Horn of Africa, East Africa Division.

Christian BADER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to South Sudan. He is currently Ambassador, Special Adviser to the Director of the Crisis and Support Centre, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Petros MAVROMICHALIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. He is currently Head of the EEAS Open Source Intelligence Division.

Luc VERON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Philippines. He is currently Head of the EEAS Selection and Recruitment Division.

Marcus CORNARO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Tunisia. He is currently Principal Adviser to the EEAS Secretary General.

Nikolaus MEYER-LANDRUT has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey. He is currently German Ambassador to France and Monaco.

Image above: Europa buildng Brussels

Mogherini announces diplomatic nominations

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini announced the nomination of 24 new Heads of EU Delegations:

Luigi SORECA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Albania. He is currently serving as Director for Security in DG HOME, European Commission.

Jan SADEK has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Botswana.  He is former Swedish Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Bertrand SORET has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Chad. He is currently serving as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section in the EU Delegation to Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nicolas CHAPUIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to China. He is former Ambassador of France to Canada.

Raul MATEUS PAULA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Congo.  He is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Niger.

Meglena KUNEVA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe (Strasbourg). She is a former Minister of Education and Science, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria for European Policies and a former EU Commissioner.

Carl HARTZELL has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia. He is currently serving as Senior Foreign Policy Adviser in the Cabinet of the President of the European Council.

Diana ACCONCIA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana. She is currently serving as Head of Unit for Economic Partnership Agreements and relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific in DG TRADE, European Commission.

Josep COLL I CARBO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Guinea.  He is former Head of EU Delegations to Benin and Cape Verde.

Jobst VON KIRCHMANN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Cote d’Ivoire. He is currently serving as Head of Unit Southern Africa and Indian Ocean in DG DEVCO, European Commission.

Patricia FLOR has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Japan. She is currently serving as Ambassador, Director General for International Order, UN and Arms Control in the German Foreign Office and is a former EU Special Representative for Central Asia.

Sven-Olov CARLSSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan.  He is currently serving as Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Russia.

Eduard AUER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan.  He is currently serving as Head of the EEAS Western Balkans Division.

Alan BUGEJA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Libya.  He is former Ambassador, Representative of Malta to the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Giovanni DI GIROLAMO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Madagascar. He is currently serving as Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Nicaragua and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. to Panama.

Sandra PAESEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Malawi. She is currently serving as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section in the EU Delegation to Uganda.

Antonio SANCHEZ-BENEDITO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Mozambique. He is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Madagascar and Comoros.

Denisa-Elena IONETE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Niger. She is currently serving as Head of the EU Delegation to Chad.

Irene MINGASSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Senegal. She is currently serving as Head of Unit for Regional Cooperation in the Southern Neighbourhood in DG NEAR, European Commission.

Sinead WALSH has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to South Sudan. She is currently serving as Deputy Director Multilateral Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland.

Marilyn JOSEFSON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Tajikistan. She is currently serving as Deputy Ambassador of Sweden to the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Walter STEVENS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations (Geneva). He is currently serving as Permanent Chair of the European Union Political and Security Committee.

Stavros LAMBRINIDIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the United States of America. He is currently serving as EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

Timo OLKKONEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe. He is currently serving as Ambassador of Finland to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

 

Athens expelled Russian diplomats under “Brussels pressure”

Greece decided to eject Russian diplomats under the pressure from the European Union and the US in order to favor its partners ahead of the NATO summit, said Igor Pshenichnikov, expert for the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, TASS agency reports.

“It is clear that Greece’s authorities made the decision to expel Russian diplomatic staff members under the pressure of their advisers from Brussels and Washington. This is a gift that Alexis Tsipras made for the NATO summit,” he said, answering the question on why it was done now, as the country had not expelled Russian diplomats following the Skripal poisoning case. “Any excuse can be found, and it is not worth talking about. May it weigh on the conscience of Greece’s current authorities.”

“Of course, it is being done for a reason. Bad relations with Russia are a condition for Tsipras’ good relations with Washington and Brussels. This is obvious,” the expert said.

The Western countries do not quite like benevolent relations between Athens and Moscow both at the official level and between ordinary citizens, Pshenichnikov continued. “All of this definitely irritates both Brussels and Washington. We know that the Americans are constantly instructing the Greeks, so to say, to scale back Russian-Greek cooperation both at the official level and at the level of public diplomacy and creating obstacles all the time,” the expert concluded.

 

Russia blames NATO for expulsions of diplomats wave

NATO is behind the actions of the European Union, using baculine discipline and seeking to demonize Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

The diplomat blamed expulsions of Russian baculine discipline in the European Union, imposed by NATO, while participating in Rossiya1 TV programme.

“The European Union is an attractive political construct, with the powerful North Atlantic Alliance being behind it.”

“The task was to demonize Russia and what we are witnessing now is part of a long-term program of unbridled Russophobia. It is a matter of not only Russia as a country, it is a matter of Russians and the Russian people,” Zakharova regretted.

 

Moscow to mirror UK expel of 23 diplomats

Moscow will ‘definitely’ expel British diplomats in wake of UK’s reaction to Skripal case, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said.

Previously Lavrov insisted on respect of international law, and thorough investigation with presenting to Russians an access to the information about the poisoning substance.

Wil Mirzianov, one of two Soviet inventors of unique in its lethal ability “Novichok” chemical weapon, presumably used by assassins of Skripals, immigrated to the USA, where from he gives comments to mass-media. “The formula of the substance remains secret, they could send it with diplomatic courier anywhere, – said Mirzianov, quoted by Medusa media. – They (Skripals) are practically dead, but even if they survive, they will not be able to recover”.

 

 

Trump's irony over expelling diplomats from Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has President Donald Trump‘s ‘thanks’ — for booting U.S. diplomats out of his country.

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll … I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump commented while talking to  reporters Thursday at his New Jersey golf club.

The President’s comment was hundred percent irony, because Russian president expelling U.S. diplomats out of Russia would remove them from the U.S. payroll.

Russia’s decision was a symmetrical answer to the move of Obama’s administration, expelling Russian diplomats from the US last year, shortly before Christmas.  Kremlin did not act then, waiting for the new administration policies, however after Trump signature of anti-Russian sanctions, the hope of the improvement of the US-Russia relations evaporated, and Putin said the U.S. would have to reduce its diplomatic mission by 755 people, according to existing diplomatic practice to keep parity.

Moscow to Washington – ‘quid pro quo’

Kremlin has been actively preparing a response to the highly probable sanctions from the US awaited by the end of this week. According to Kommersant newspaper sources, the Foreign Ministry suggested the Russian authorities seizure of  the summer residence of the American Embassy in woodland ‘Serebryany Bor’ (‘Silver forest’), situated on artificial island of Moskwa river, and their storage facilities. This will be a symmetrical response to the arrest imposed on Russian diplomatic property in the US by the previous administration.

In addition, 35 American diplomats can be expelled from the country – the same number of staff of the Russian Embassy in Washington was ordered to leave the US in December last year. Also, the Russian side is considering the possibility of limiting the maximum number of employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, currently exceeding the number of Russians in the embassy in Washington.

“Kommersant” also describes possible asymmetric economic measures.

Kremlin can create complications for the United States in the UN Security Council, where the States are seeking to increase pressure on North Korea.

Moscow’s economic sanctions against Washington can be expressed in direct circumcision of trade turnover, restrictions on the work of American companies in the country and some form of withdrawal of investments already made by them in Russia.

Possible restrictions on the part of exports from Russia to the United States may be quite sensitive, but with no less serious adverse effect.

Kommersant points out that the United States has been critically dependent on deliveries of a Russian enriched uranium product for its nuclear power plants over the last decades. Since 2015, the supplies have gone through direct commercial contracts with US energy companies and Russia has received a quota of 20% of the market. The possible halt of supplies will hurt both sides: the US will have to seek replacement of the Russian deliveries in the market with a small number of players, and Russia to quickly find a replacement for American buyers.

Another double-edged area is the supply of titanium. The US remains the main export market for Russian VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest titanium producer operating in business with aerospace companies around the world. In 2016 the country provided the company with 32% of shipments and 48% of export sales. It is Russia that covers more than a third of the needs of the aircraft-building  Boeing.

Even stronger economic impact can be caused by the limitation of the work of American companies in Russia. They are most widely represented in the consumer market and in IT.  Moscow has already successfully tested in the case of Europe. American Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the absolute leaders in the production of soft drinks: companies in Russia have their own plants for the production of soda and juices. No less popular in Russia are American IT companies Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. Also, the ban can affect the pharmaceutical  market.

The US Congress announced that the upper house – the Senate – could vote on the draft law on sanctions until the end of this week.

Russians considering US diplomats expulsions

Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that too many American spies operated in Moscow under diplomatic cover and clearly articulated a possible, although not imminent expulsion of some of them to retaliate against the Obama administration ejection of 35 Russian diplomats last year.

The warning , delivered in staccato by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (pictured) ‘  reflects rising tensions between Kremlin and the Trump administration’s unwilling to hand back two Russian diplomatic compounds which were seized simultaneously with the expulsions.

Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 diplomats for alleged spying activities in December 2016, along with the seizure of the two diplomatic compounds, causing criticism on breaking Vienna conventions, according to Russian Ambassador to US Sergey Kislyak.

President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate immediately, saying he prefers to look forward working with the new US administration.

Zakharova also expressed discontent with the U.S. officials declining to issue visas to Russian diplomats to allow Moscow to replace the expelled employees and get its embassy back up to full strength.

Trump administration finds itself in increasingly difficult situation vis-à-vis Kremlin, from one hand  attempting to fulfill the election promises of the Republicans creating alliance against terrorism, from the other facing the need to deter the ongoing assault of the Democrats unwilling to accept the failure in presidential elections. The highly politicised campaign claiming Russian interference in the US elections via internet has removed the responsibility for the failure from the Democrats, attributing it to foreign ‘evil’ forces.

G7 for gender equality

The leaders of the world’s most advanced economies  at G7 Summit in Taormina are set to define gender equality among human rights after the US accepted the wording, according to European diplomats.

A reference to “human rights” in the statement G7 leaders to be endorsed in Taormina would have a significant impact on discourse on gender equality worldwide, although the G7 format is not legally binding.

Initially the US sherpas engaged in drafting the leaders’ statement opposed any wording that would commit the countries to promoting gender equality as human right. The US negotiators argued that framing the issue as a “top priority” was sufficient, however later they agreed to upgrade, acknowledging the gender equality as ‘fundamental’ for human rights.

 

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