Category Archives: Diplomatic Randomness

Greek Anarchist Group Attacks Saudi Embassy in Athens (video)

Members of the Rouvikonas anarchist group attacked the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Athens in the early hours of Thursday.

Video footage shows at least six assailants smashing windows with rocks.

In a statement, the group says that the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia’s oppressive regime and its role in the civil war in Yemen.

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The group also criticizes the Greek government’s arms deal with the Saudi Kingdom.

Rouvikonas has claimed dozens of violent acts of vandalism and assaults against perceived targets, including state offices, financial agencies, media organizations and politicians.

In recent weeks, the group has scaled up its action, prompting critics of the government to suggest that authorities are turning a blind eye to Rouvikonas as members of the group are rarely arrested..

 

One of the Most Secure Motorcades in the World.

We delayed sharing this article for OPSEC Reasons. – But here it is.

This coming Sunday and Monday will mark the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Estonia. The security measures to be put in place for the visit of America’s number two are nearly equal to efforts made in September of 2014 when Barack Obama visited the country. The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will bring in additional forces from nearly all prefectures.

Pence will land at Tallinn Airport on Sunday afternoon. Traffic on the nearby Tallinn-Tartu highway will be stopped for security reasons for the duration of the landing. From that moment, the vice president and the area around him are among the securest in the world. This requires constant effort from the entire security team and comes with a measure of inconvenience for civilians.

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The road from the airport to Swissotel Tallinn (in Tornimäe) will be closed for Pence’s motorcade between 12 and 2 p.m. The same will be done between the hotel and Toompea Hill between 5 and 7 p.m. as the president moves there and back.

Roads will once again be closed between Kadriorg and Tornimäe on Monday from 8.30 to 9.30 a.m. Next from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. from Kadriorg to the General Staff of the Defense Forces, and finally from 1 to 2 p.m. between the general staff and the airport. That will mark the end of Pence’s visit and life returning to normal.

It is no secret that a lot of US Secret Service equipment will arrive in Estonia by the time of the visit. Armored vehicles known as “The Beast”, security detail vehicles, firearms etc. The president’s motorcade will transport a number of formidably armed secret service agents. All in case something should happen. The motorcade will also be accompanied by helicopters and aircraft.

Once the presidential motorcade had to stop for a rather prosaic reason – the car known as “The Beast” got stuck on its underside. This happened in Ireland in 2011 when one person more than intended got into the car and caused it to ride too low.

Northern Prefect of the PPA Kristjan Jaani said this will not happen in Estonia. “The motorcade will not stop in Tallinn and will definitely get through everywhere – the same kind of vehicles have moved through Tallinn on several occasions,” Jaani said.

Security will be provided by the secret service and the Estonian police. The former’s agents have been working with police officers since last week. “It is understood that partners have their demands when it comes to the security of such persons. The entire operation will take place in cooperation based on active exchange of information,” Jaani said.

For example, the PPA started additional security checks at the Tallinn passenger port and airport yesterday, while inspections will become more frequent also on the Estonia-Latvia border from today. “We will not restore border control as we did during Obama’s visit; however, people crossing the border at Ikla for example are looking at a much more likely event of their car being stopped,” the prefect explained.

He said the police are looking for people matching a specific profile and vehicles that have a Schengen information system notation. “These people might include wanted criminals but also those sporting a criminal background and who are in the police’s sphere of interest. These are deterrence measures.

It is the task of the PPA to thoroughly check and safeguard all routes the vice president will take. We will also check buildings near where Pence will be stopping.

Because the vice president will spend the night in Tallinn, a perimeter will be created around the hotel that will only be penetrable by foot. Residents of Tornimäe 7 will be able to access their building  through a special access area. Vehicles parking in underground parking lots in the area will be subject to security checks.

The two-day visit will bring to Tallinn additional PPA operatives from all prefectures, with a total of more than 600 police officers in charge of security. Pence’s visit comes at a good time for the PPA as additional people have already been brought in for EU presidency events. The more active stage of the presidency ended on Monday.

Trackbacks:

https://news.postimees.ee/4192937/one-of-the-securest-motorcades-in-the-world

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TRUMP ANNOUNCES US MOVING EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would move its embassy there, upending decades of a diplomatic consensus over the status of the city pioneered by his predecessors.

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Citing a 1995 law, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, compelling the president make the move absent national security risks, Trump said the time had come to recognize what everyone already knows to be true. “Jerusalem is the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times,” he said. “Today Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government.”

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of the reality,” he added.

He directed the State Department to begin preparing the move, which may take years as the government scopes out a location, hires architects and plans for what is sure to be a challenging security environment.

Trump made the announcement despite fierce backlash from America’s closest allies in recent days. European and Arab world leaders alike, including Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the pope, said that he was recklessly challenging a delicate status quo over the city, in which the international community has insisted its future must be determined in direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.

Trump said that his move does not change his commitment to that negotiated settlement– and underscored his commitment by endorsing a two-state solution for the first time.

“We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians,” he said. “The United States would support a two state solution if agreed to by both sides.”

Trump said that his actions on Wednesday do not determine the “specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty” in the city, stating those would be “subject to final status negotiations between the parties.” The Israeli government says that Jerusalem is its undivided and eternal capital, while Palestinians insist that a peace agreement must deliver them a sovereign state with a capital of its own in the city’s eastern districts.

“We are not taking a position on any final status issues,” Trump said.

But the international community did not immediately interpret Trump’s moves in this way. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, made remarks to the press shortly after Trump spoke urging calm, amid warnings from the State Department itself that violence may erupt following Trump’s announcement.

“Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved in final status negotiations between the two parties,” Guterres stated. “In this moment of great tension, I want to make it clear there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B.”

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, also called the decision “regrettable” and said the status of Jerusalem was not for one country to decide, but a matter of international security, of consensus and of law.

The administration’s closest allies in the Arab world, on which it based its upcoming Mideast peace initiative, strongly condemned the move. Egypt said it refused to recognize it and warned of grave consequences. Turkey threatened to sever ties to Israel, and the State Department’s office for embassy security warned of planned protests in all of its major cities.

Trump castigated past presidents as cowardly for failing to make the move earlier, “under the belief that delaying recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace.”

“The record is in,” he added: “After two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Old challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach,” Trump said in his announcement from the White House diplomatic reception room, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, who has pushed for the move. Pence will be visiting Israel later this month.

A senior White House official told The Jerusalem Post that Trump’s Middle East peace team, led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, was a consultative partner on the decision and fully supports the move.

“The peace team was fully aware of this and in the loop,” the official said. “Certain parties are going to react the way they need to react. We expect bumps along the way– but we believe there is an historic opportunity.”

Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that Trump’s speech was “courageous” effort to recognize the current and historic reality of the city’s status. His team is committed to pressing on, he continued, no matter how angrily parties react in the short term.

Members of Israel’s cabinet have praised the move as “destined” and “overdue.” And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video statement praising Trump’s action.

“We’re profoundly grateful to the president for the courageous and just decision,” Netanyahu said, calling the move one in furtherance of peace, “because there is no peace that does not include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

“This decision reflects the presidents commitment to an ancient and enduring truth,” he added.

But the Palestinians have warned this marks a potentially fatal blow to Trump’s burgeoning peace initiative, and Hamas has called for a new intifada– a violent uprising– in response.

In a forceful speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Trump’s claim that his move was actually a step towards peace– and said that, with his actions, the US had relinquished its historic role as broker.

“The US administration with this statement has chosen to go against all the international and bilateral agreements, and to ignore the international consensus,” Abbas said in a televised address. “The United States is withdrawing from the role it has played in the peace process.”

Abbas recounted Christian and Muslim history in the contested city, known in the Arab world as al-Quds, without acknowledging any Jewish history there.

“It’s an attempt to change our history, and it will not succeed,” he said. “It’s a Palestinian city– an Arab city, a Christian city and a Muslim city.”

Trackback:

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/WATCH-LIVE-Trump-delivers-much-anticipated-announcement-about-Jerusalem-517201

Two US Embassy Dogs Deported from Australia.

Two dogs living on a property owned by the US embassy in Australia’s capital will be deported after attacking two more people, the latest in a string of attacks linked to the animals since September last year.

The German shepherd dogs were seized by authorities in Canberra on Wednesday night following the latest attack on a 15-year-old girl and her father who were on their way to the teen’s high school formal.

In October, the same dogs escaped the property and attacked two women and a four-year-old girl, but investigations by ACT Domestic Animal Services had been slowed by diplomatic considerations.

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Neighbours said they had been raising concerns about the dogs with the embassy and ACT authorities for more than a year, following the mauling of a neighbour’s dog in 2016.

One of the dogs’ owners is understood to be a US diplomat, and was reportedly out of the country when the animals were seized.

An ACT government spokeswoman confirmed authorities attended the scene of the attack and impounded the dogs on Wednesday.

“The owners of the dogs are making arrangements to export [them] out of Australia and the two dogs will remain impounded at DAS until these arrangements are finalised,” she said.

The 15-year-old student is understood to have been visiting a friend at the house to prepare for her year 10 formal when she was attacked.

About 5pm her father arrived to collect his daughter and, when she returned to the house to collect her phone, the dogs shot out the front door.

A witness said they attacked her on the front step. As the girl lifted her formal dress to spare it from the dogs’ teeth and claws, the animals began biting her legs and backside.

Seeing the attack, the father ran to his daughter’s aid and was also set upon, receiving similar injuries to his legs and buttocks.

Shocked neighbours began screaming at the owners, who rushed out of the house to pull the dogs back inside.

Despite her injuries, the young woman attended her formal on Wednesday night, but both she and her father later received medical treatment for bites and deep bruising.

A neighbour said the attack was “very loud” and distressing, and rangers attended the scene soon after.

Both DFAT and the US embassy confirmed they were aware of the incident.

During the attacks in October, Canberra woman Livia Auer was also bitten on her legs and backside by one of the dogs. Less than an hour earlier, the dog attacked a woman and her four-year-old girl who had been playing out the front of their house.

No action had been taken against the dogs until Wednesday and Auer said authorities told her last month that investigations had hit a “roadblock” due to what she believed to be a claim of diplomatic immunity.

Foreign diplomats in Canberra are not compelled to cooperate with investigations by domestic animal services, and rangers had been unable to enter the property after the October attacks.

If the dogs are owned by a diplomat, the owner is entitled to immunity from Australia’s criminal and civil jurisdiction, DFAT confirmed.

Last month, the department denied such a claim of immunity had been made but said it was in contact with the AFP and the US embassy about the matter.

A spokeswoman said DFAT “regularly reminds” foreign diplomats that they are expected to respect Australia’s laws and regulations.

This week, authorities gained increased powers to seize dogs they deem dangerous following the passage of the ACT government’s new dangerous dog laws.

Auer, who has now launched legal action against the owners of the dogs, said she was relieved the German shepherds were no longer at the property as she had been living in fear of stepping out her front door for months.

On Thursday, she walked her assistance dog Peppa for the first time since the attack.

Trackback:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/99469463/us-embassys-dogs-deported-from-australia