Tag Archives: diplomatic

Justice For Jamal Khashoggi Now Depends On Trump's Moral Judgment And Diplomatic Skills

Justice For Jamal Khashoggi Now Depends On Trump's Moral Judgment And Diplomatic SkillsWASHINGTON ― As reports about missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi grow



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Turkey looks for diplomatic solution to avoid 'massacre' in Syria's Idlib 

Turkey looks for diplomatic solution to avoid 'massacre' in Syria's Idlib Turkey and the US said they were racing find a diplomatic solution to avoid “a serious massacre” in Syria’s Idlib province ahead of a critical summit on Friday which is likely to decide the fate of the rebel stronghold.  The world had been bracing for weeks for Assad regime forces to attack Idlib, where around 2.5 million civilians are living in opposition-held territory with no clear route of escape if fighting escalates.  Regime troops shelled rebel positions on Wednesday, a day after Russian warplanes ended weeks of calm with a barrage of airstrikes. At least 13 civilians were killed in the Russian bombing, according to monitors.  The future of Idlib is likely to be determined at a summit on Friday, when the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey will gather in Tehran to discuss the future of Syria.  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said Wednesday that he hoped to use the meeting to reach a deal and prevent an all-out attack on the border province.  "God willing we will succeed in averting the extreme actions of the regime there by getting a positive result from the Tehran summit," Mr Erdogan said. Turkey is worried that an attack on Idlib will trigger a mass exodus of refugees fleeing towards the Turkish border. Turkey already shelters 3.5 million Syrians and Mr Erdogan is under domestic pressure not to take in anymore.   Erdogan is concerned about a new influx of refugees heading to Syria Credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis "3.5 million people live there. God forbid, it is again Turkey where those people will flee in case of a disaster," Mr Erdogan said. Activists in Idlib said Turkey had increased its forces at a number of small outposts in the province. Civilians have gathered near the outposts in the hope that Russia will avoid bombing them.  Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, also said he was pushing for a diplomatic solution. “We are hoping that this can be resolved diplomatically,” he said.  Mr Pompeo said he shared Russia’s worries about al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups based in Idlib but said that a full-scale attack was not the way to deal with the situation.  “We share their concern about terrorism emanating from northern, northwest Syria,” he said. “It is not the way to do that to put the lives of all these innocent civilians at risk and create a humanitarian crisis.”  Russia has so far made no commitment not to launch an all-out attack but has also pointed to the Friday summit as critical for deciding the future of Idlib.  Syrian regime and Russian jets have been striking Idlib but an all-out assault has not yet begun Credit: JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images “I think the situation from a military point of view will become clearer after, among other things, the leaders of the three guarantor states hold talks on Friday,” said Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister.  A Syrian regime source said Damascus was open “until the very last moment” to a compromise that would avoid the need for an attack.  Conquering Idlib would be a major victory for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on his quest to take back all of Syria’s territory and crush the rebellion which broke out against him in 2011. The US has repeatedly warned the Syrian regime not to use chemical weapons during its attack on Idlib, saying that any use of chemical weapons will lead to Western strikes.  Western government believe Assad could be tempted to use nerve agent to try to break the morale of rebel and jihadist fighters in Idlib as well as the civilian population there.  Russia has countered by claiming that Syrian rebel groups might “stage” a chemical weapons attack and blame it on the regime, in order to induce Western strikes against Assad’s forces.   James Mattis, the US defence secretary, said the US has “zero intelligence” that indicated any of the rebel factions have the ability to carry out a chemical attack.



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How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and Taiwan

How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and TaiwanA bakery in California has found itself at the centre of an international storm after it welcomed the president of Taiwan with a cup of coffee and a goody bag. The result was a major diplomatic incident as Chinese customers launched a boycott of the 85C Bakery Cafe, which rapidly disappeared from online ordering platforms on the Chinese mainland.  The episode highlight's Beijing's sensitivity over an island that considers itself a sovereign state, but has never declared formal independence.  The Taiwanese-owned chain apologised and distanced itself from the views of Tsai Ing-wen, the pro-independence leader of the island, after she dropped in on Wednesday en route to visiting allies in South America.  Excited staff gave her a gift bag and took selfies, as images were uploaded to Facebook by part of her delegation. A woman looks at her mobile phone at a 85C Bakery Cafe in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province Credit: AFP They have since been removed but it was too late to prevent the diplomatic fallout. Beijing – which has been working to isolate countries that recognise Taiwan – warned it would oppose any businesses that support Taiwanese independence. A company official in Taipei, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that it had been removed from several online platforms, telling the AFP news agency: "We have noticed the situation and we hope it won't be permanent." 85C began in Taiwan but has since expanded to earn more than 60 percent of its revenue in China. Losing its presence on food delivery apps would be devastating. At a glance | The One China policy China views the island as part of its own territory, and has escalated a campaign to isolate Taiwan internationally since Ms Tsai came to power in 2016. A growing number of international companies including airlines and hotels have been bending to pressure from Beijing to refer to Taiwan as part of China. The election of Donald Trump has added to Chinese unease as he showed little regard for the fine lines and grey areas of the "one China policy". Taiwan's state-aligned Central News Agency on Thursday quoted a top official with China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Long Mingbiao, as saying in Beijing that any company that expects to invest and "make money" in China must adhere to its policies. 85C's problems began after Tsai stopped off at a Los Angeles branch of the cafe this week during an American visit in which she became the first Taiwanese leader in 15 years to give a public speech on American soil, something Beijing staunchly opposes. Internet users in China lashed out with boycott threats and calls for the coffee chain to quit the Chinese market.



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Saudi critics jab Canada on Twitter and TV as diplomatic feud deepens

Saudi critics jab Canada on Twitter and TV as diplomatic feud deepensJustin Trudeau said his government was engaging with Saudi Arabia to resolve the spat but stood firm on Canada’s stance. Soon after Saudi Arabia announced that Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom was now persona non grata, a surge of Saudi Twitter accounts began expressing concerns about Canada’s treatment of indigenous peoples.



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Saudi Arabia ends medical programmes and moves patients out of Canada in deepening diplomatic row

Saudi Arabia ends medical programmes and moves patients out of Canada in deepening diplomatic rowSaudi Arabia is transferring all Saudi patients currently receiving medical treatment in Canada to different countries as the diplomatic row between Riyadh and Ottawa shows no sign of abating. All Saudi medical treatment programmes in Canada have been cancelled and arrangements are already underway to move patients out of the country, a state-run Saudi news agency said on Wednesday, citing Fahd bin Ibrahim Al Tamimi, the Saudi health attaché to the US and Canada. The move comes after Saudi Arabia took the stern step this week of expelling the Canadian ambassador and suspending all new trade and investment between the two countries – a retaliation for criticism of the arrests of Saudi civil rights activists.



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North Korea 'sought diplomatic back channel through Jared Kushner'

North Korea 'sought diplomatic back channel through Jared Kushner'Jared Kushner was partly responsible for setting up a diplomatic back channel with North Korea that led to the Singapore summit. Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser was approached by an American businessman based in Singapore last year, the New York Times reported. Gabriel Schulze, whose family made a fortune in the mining business, told Mr Kushner that a highly placed North Korean official was seeking to speak with him to look into the possibility of a meeting between Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un. The approach came as tensions heightened between the two countries, and Mr Trump and Kim exchanged threats. Senior North Korean officials wanted to get in touch with Mr Kushner because of his family relationship to Mr Trump. Hidden trillions: What if North Korea’s economy opened up? They reportedly felt that, amid a rapid turnover of senior White House staff, Mr Kushner would continue to have influence with the president. Mr Kushner reported the possibility of a diplomatic back channel to Mike Pompeo, who was then the Director of the CIA, the New York Times reported. It might have been expected that Mr Kushner would tell the US State Department instead, but he did not have a good relationship with Rex Tillerson, then the Secretary of State. Mr Pompeo took the lead in negotiations with North Koreans and subsequently replaced Mr Tillerson as Secretary of State. The White House and the CIA declined to comment on Mr Kushner's role. Mr Schulze told the New York Times: "I do not discuss the nature of my business or personal relationships." Mr Kushner was also said to have been involved in the setting up a diplomatic back channel between Mr Trump's administration and China early in the presidency. Mr Kushner reportedly set up a diplomatic back channel through Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to Washington, which helped lead to Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, visiting Mr Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida retreat in April last year. Meanwhile, it emerged that a former confidant of Mr Trump met with a Russian individual who offered "dirt" on Hillary Clinton for $ 2 million (£1.5 million). Roger Stone, the confidant, told the Washington Post he rejected the offer in May 2016, telling the Russian: "You don’t understand Donald Trump. He doesn’t pay for anything." It also emerged that the Russian had previously been an FBI informant. Mr Stone, who met the man at a restaurant in Florida, said he appeared to have been the target of an "FBI sting".



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Confident Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debut

Confident Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debutWashington’s newly appointed secretary of state landed in Riyadh Saturday on a tour of America’s key Middle East allies, after vowing to bring some “swagger” back to US diplomacy. Mike Pompeo touched down in Saudi Arabia shortly after authorities in the kingdom said they had intercepted four missiles fired at the south of the country by Yemeni rebels, underlining the tensions in the region. The Saudi capital is the first stop on a three-day trip that will also take him to Israel and Jordan to update friends on President Donald Trump’s plans for the Iran nuclear deal.



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Confident Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debut

Confident Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debutWashington’s newly appointed secretary of state landed in Riyadh Saturday on a tour of America’s key Middle East allies, after vowing to bring some “swagger” back to US diplomacy. Mike Pompeo touched down in Saudi Arabia shortly after authorities in the kingdom said they had intercepted four missiles fired at the south of the country by Yemeni rebels, underlining the tensions in the region. The Saudi capital is the first stop on a three-day trip that will also take him to Israel and Jordan to update friends on President Donald Trump’s plans for the Iran nuclear deal.



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Trump’s meeting with North Korea could be a big diplomatic win but there are risks

Trump’s meeting with North Korea could be a big diplomatic win but there are risksNo sitting president has ever met a North Korean leader, while three spent months negotiating nuclear deals in the past. The North Koreans cheated on all three agreements.



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Kim Jong-un wants to 'write new history' with South Korea as diplomatic thaw continues

Kim Jong-un wants to 'write new history' with South Korea as diplomatic thaw continuesKim Jong-un, North Korea’s reclusive leader, said he wanted to “vigorously advance” national reunification during his first ever meeting with officials from South Korea, providing a further fillip to an ongoing diplomatic détente. Talks at Monday's dinner were centred on a possible summit between the two nation’s leaders, raising hopes of a breakthrough on the hermit kingdom’s nuclear programme. A report by the official Korean Central News Agency said Mr Kim told the delegation he wanted to "write a new history of reunification" and also discussed how to ease military tensions in the region. “Hearing the intention of President Moon Jae-in for a summit from the special envoy of the south side, he exchanged views and made a satisfactory agreement,” it said after yesterday’s meeting without detailing what that agreement was. Mr Moon, the South Korean president, had dispatched Chung Eui-yong, his national security head, and Suh Hoon, his intelligence chief, to lead a 10-member delegation on a two-day trip to the North Korean capital. Members of the special delegation of South Korea's president with Kim Jong-un  Credit: KCNA via Reuters Their dinner with Mr Kim marked the first time he had personally met South Korean officials since coming to power in 2011. Kim Jong-un greets a member of the special delegation of South Korea's president Credit: KCNA via Reuters The two sides were also expected to discuss how to resume dialogue between the US and North Korea over its nuclear and weapons programme. Chung Eui-Yong, second right, head of the presidential National Security Office, and Suh Hoon, left, the chief of the South's National Intelligence Service, before boarding a plane to the North Credit:  Getty However, it was not known until the delegation landed at 2.50pm local time that Kim Jong-un would personally meet them, in what would be his first encounter with South Korean officials since coming to power in 2011. Mr Kim’s dinner invitation was confirmed by South Korea’s presidential office, who said that it began at 6pm local time. The envoys were carrying a letter from Mr Moon to hand to their host. Photos provided by the president’s office, also known by the Blue House, showed the delegation walking resolutely in dark suits across the tarmac after landing in Pyongyang after the short flight from Seoul. They were welcomed by Ri Son-gwon, chief of a North Korean agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs. “I plan to hold in-depth discussions on various ways to continue talks between not only the South and the North, but also the North and the United States and the international community,” Mr Chung said shortly before his departure. Mr Moon and his aides have repeatedly stressed the importance of talks between Washington and Pyongyang, and for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. things facts you didn't know about north korea The issue has been a sticking point in finding a diplomatic resolution to ongoing tensions about Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The North Korean foreign ministry issued a statement at the weekend mocking US demands that it denuclearise as “more than ridiculous.” Analysts, however, pointed out that while the envoys’ visit could facilitate a future leaders summit, that the nuclear issue could not be avoided. “Moon clearly wants to go,” said Robert Kelly, professor of political science at South Korea’s Busan University. “The real trick is making sure the North Koreans don’t turn a summit into an anti-American prestige-seeking one. It’s got to deal with the nuclear weapons one way or another.”



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