Tag Archives: US Embassy

Tourists caught in Yellow Vests protests

Yellow Vests movement causes the whole spectrum of reactions from the tourists: it fascinates, and even enchants some of them, coming as usual from all over the world to admire French capital, it scares the other, making them flee. Although an element of fear is strongly present, it is also a keen interest in life of contemporary France winning over the other considerations. For many visitors France lives up to its glorious past, reminiscent of great slogans of 1789 Revolution  LibertéÉgalitéFraternité” – Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood. For majority of foreigners the Yellow Vests (#GiletsJaunes) are emblematic of French national traditions of centuries long struggle for ideals of harmonious inclusive society.

However the consular services of many countries are less enthusiastic about Yellow Vests, and are definitely not in the mood to romanticise their movement. They issued the warnings to their nationals to avoid crowds, and follow police alerts, while perambulating in popular touristic sites.

The demonstrations are taking place on Saturdays, allowing life to flow uninterrupted during the week; however it is clear that in Paris there is no “business as usual“, and there is a lot of electricity in the air. They talk about ‘divorce‘ between President Macron, and French people.

However on December 10th, 2018 – The US State Department updated a Level 2 Travel Advisory: ‘Exercise Increased Caution’, due to terrorism for Paris, France, on December 6, 2018.

Additionally, the US Embassy in Paris, France issued an Alert regarding the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations, which said ‘these events may continue through the coming weeks.’

Some resort to irony in attempt to come on terms with the extraordinary experience: “I took typical tourist photos during my fist visit to Paris” writes Lonut Lordachescu in his Twitter micro blog. The others move on and make the best out of the booked travel: “Lovely out day” tweets a tourist depicted in a selfie with the Eiffel Tour.

The ‘big spenders’ lament the missing chance of a good shopping spree in Paris on Xmas, but life is not about shopping only,  is it?..

 

 

EU calls Hamas for non-violent expression

“Dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been killed and hundreds injured from Israeli fire today, during ongoing mass protests near the Gaza fence. We expect all to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life. Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest and the principle of proportionality in the use of force. Hamas and those leading the demonstrations in Gaza must ensure that they remain strictly non-violent and must not exploit them for other means” – the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said in a statement, addressing the eruption of violence in Gaza, related to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

“During these days, both Israelis and Palestinians are commemorating defining moments for their nations. Each side in this conflict has legitimate claims and aspirations which need to be mutually acknowledged”

“Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians. The ties of the Jewish people to Jerusalem are irrefutable, and must not be denied. And the same is true for the ties of the Palestinian people to the city”

“Any further escalation of an already extremely tense and complex situation would cause again further unspeakable sufferings to both peoples, and will make the perspective of peace and security even more remote. In this moment, wisdom and courage would be needed to go back to negotiations for a political solution, for the sake both of the Israeli and the Palestinian people, and the entire region. Only a two state solution will realistically allow both sides to fulfil their aspirations, put an end to the conflict, and achieve the just and lasting peace that Israelis and Palestinians long for and deserve”

“The EU remains firmly committed to continue working with both parties and with its partners in the international community towards a resumption of meaningful negotiations aimed at a two-state solution, based on the 4 june 1967 lines and with Jerusalem as capital of both”

“The European Union has a clear, consolidated position on Jerusalem, which was reaffirmed in numerous Foreign Affairs Council conclusions. The EU will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem embodied in, inter alia, UN Security Council Resolution 478, including on the location of diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved” – the statement concludes.

 

Israel celebrates US Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem

In afternoon the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel opened in an official ceremony with many guests of honor.

Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem” – said President Donald Trump in his video address.

The Ambassador David M. Friedman credited President Donald Trump for having the courage to open an embassy in Israel’s capital. “Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude, President Donald J. Trump.”

On this exact day 70 years ago, at almost this exact time, David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence. Just 11 minutes later, President Harry Truman caused the United States to be the first nation to recognize the reborn State of Israel. He later regretted that he waited so long,Ambassador David M. Friedman said in his inauguration speech.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the US delegation with the message from President Trump that the United States will continue to support the peace process in every way it can, but also that the President is determined to deliver upon his promises. President Trump ensured that he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” and that he was “extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.”

While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Kushner said.

The truth and peace are interconnected” Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his welcoming speech. “A peace that is built on lies, will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state” – he added.

The Palestinians responded to the opening of Embassy with an outbreak of violence.

 

 

Ivanka arrived for Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner arrived in Israel ahead of the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, scheduled for Monday, May 14.

Both White House senior advisers  Trump-Kushner will attend the ceremony, while President Trump himself will not come to the inauguration.

The plan of opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem has been conceived to mark  the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and insist the city to be the capital of the future Palestinian state.

President Trump‘s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel is a fulfillment of a series of promises made by his predecessors from both Republican and Democratic parties.

 

US Embassy to move to Jerusalem in May

The Trump administration is determined to move its US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, the State Department announced Friday (23/02/2018), coinciding with Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The embassy will first be set up in an existing US facility in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona that “will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement announcing the plan. The facility will function as the official embassy while plans to secure a permanent location and design a building are drawn up.
“By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space,” Nauert added. “In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking.”

Putin confirms symmetric reduction of the US diplomatic missions

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed the reduction of the staff at US diplomatic missions in Russia in symmetric response to steps of the previous US administration, which took place at new year’s eve last year.

Russian state media quoted Putin saying 755 out of “a thousand or so” employees will “have to stop their activities in the Russian Federation.” That includes diplomats and technical workers, he said.
The Russian President defined the number of US diplomats operating in Russia as 455, a figure equal to the number of Russian diplomats in the United States, according to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry. The statement gave a deadline of September 1 for the staff cuts.
The United States has not identified how many diplomatic employees are in Russia. Russia’s state television, First Channel, reported Saturday that 745 of 1,200 people employed at the US embassy and consulates would be affected.

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.

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