US reopens embassy in Solomon Islands after a 30- year hiatus

The US has reopened its Solomon Islands embassy in a move widely seen as shoring up influence in the Pacific to counter China’s push into the region. Last year Washington and its allies were blindsided when the tiny nation signed a security deal with Beijing. It came after the US had already said it would reopen its Honiara post – closed in 1993 – amid concerns over China’s growing military ambitions. The Solomons PM did not attend the embassy’s opening on Wednesday. However a foreign ministry spokesman said the re-established US embassy was welcomed by the government. The region is … Continue reading US reopens embassy in Solomon Islands after a 30- year hiatus

Chinese President Xi accuses Trudeau of leaks to media about China-Canada relations

China’s Xi Jinping has been filmed accusing Justin Trudeau of leaking meeting details, days after they held talks at the G20 summit in Bali. President Xi told the Canadian PM, via a translator, this was inappropriate and accused him of lacking “sincerity”. He was likely referring to reports that Mr Trudeau discussed alleged Chinese espionage and interference in Canadian elections at the sit down. The talks, which happened behind closed doors, were the pair’s first in years. In the footage, filmed by journalists at the now finished gathering of world leaders, President Xi and Mr Trudeau can be seen standing … Continue reading Chinese President Xi accuses Trudeau of leaks to media about China-Canada relations

Australia reverses decision to recognise West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Australia has reversed a decision made four years ago to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Canberra’s decision in 2018 had undermined peace and put Australia out of step with other nations, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said. She stressed that Australia remained a “steadfast friend” to Israel. Its embassy will stay in Tel Aviv. The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “In light of the way in which this decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to an incorrect report in … Continue reading Australia reverses decision to recognise West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Ukraine war: UN General Assembly condemns Russia annexation

The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine. The resolution was supported by 143 countries, while 35 states – including China and India – abstained. As well as Russia, four countries rejected the vote, namely Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Nicaragua. Although symbolic, it was the highest number of votes against Russia since the invasion. Last week, in a grand ceremony in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin signed documents to make the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson part of Russia. The agreements were signed with the … Continue reading Ukraine war: UN General Assembly condemns Russia annexation

The father of US secretary of state Donald Blinken has died

Donald Blinken, a former US diplomat and father of current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has died at the age of 96, his son has said. Antony Blinken tweeted that his father, who served as US Ambassador to Hungary between 1994 and 1997, was “a source of love and inspiration” and had inspired him to join the public service. Born in New York, Mr Blinken Sr served in the Army Air Corps in World War Two. He graduated with a degree in Economics from Harvard in 1948. In 1966, he co-founded the investment banking firm EM Warburg, Pincus & Co, … Continue reading The father of US secretary of state Donald Blinken has died

US hostage swapped for Afghan leader linked to Taliban

The Taliban have released a US engineer they had held hostage since 2020 in exchange for an Afghan tribal leader held in US custody since 2005. Mark Frerichs was handed over at Kabul airport on Monday, the Taliban said. In return they received Bashir Noorzai, a Taliban ally serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. US President Joe Biden said that the swap required “difficult decisions” that he did not take lightly. Mr Frerichs, 60, was abducted by the Taliban the year before the group swept back to power in Afghanistan and its Western-backed government collapsed. He had been living … Continue reading US hostage swapped for Afghan leader linked to Taliban

Emmanuel Macron to mend Algeria ties as energy crisis bites

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Algeria on Thursday hoping to repair fractured relations with a nation whose oil and gas reserves have new strategic significance because of Europe’s looming energy crisis. His visit comes after a long period of tension over conflicting memories of Algeria’s bloody war of independence. Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris late last year over it. But both countries have since signalled their desire for a reset. According to the Elysée palace, President Macron has “made the choice to orientate this visit towards the future… and lay down the basis for a relaunching of the … Continue reading Emmanuel Macron to mend Algeria ties as energy crisis bites

Australia’s new PM vows improved relationship with France after submarine row

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit Paris to “reset” relations with France after tensions erupted over a scrapped submarine deal. Australia in 2021 cancelled a multi-billion dollar contract with a French firm to build the submarines. It instead signed a new defence pact with the US and the UK, infuriating French President Emmanuel Macron. He accused then leader Scott Morrison of lying to him, briefly recalling France’s ambassador in protest. Mr Albanese, who was elected in May will travel to Madrid next week for the Nato summit. He will make a detour to Paris to smooth over ties. “It … Continue reading Australia’s new PM vows improved relationship with France after submarine row

US agrees to ease Trump-era sanctions on Cuba

US officials have announced plans to ease tough sanctions imposed on Cuba by former President Donald Trump. Under new measures approved by the Biden administration, restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island will be eased. The processing of US visas for Cubans will also be speeded up. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the move would allow Cuban citizens to pursue a life free from “government oppression”. The loosening of sanctions will see a cap on family remittances – funds sent by migrants in the US to family members in Cuba – removed. Previously migrants were prevented from … Continue reading US agrees to ease Trump-era sanctions on Cuba

U.S. Senate confirms Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Australia

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Caroline Kennedy, a former ambassador to Japan and daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, as the U.S. ambassador to Australia, an important ally to the United States. Kennedy, 64, is an author and attorney. Her father was the 35th president of the United States, who served from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. She previously served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2013-2017 under former President Barack Obama. She heads to Canberra as its relationship with Washington strengthens in response to China’s growing power and increasingly assertive behavior in Asia and … Continue reading U.S. Senate confirms Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Australia

Biden nominates Bridget Brink as new US Ambassador to Ukraine

President Biden on Monday has nominated Bridget Brink, the current U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. Bridget Brink The announcement comes after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of State Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday.  State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier Monday that Brink’s “decades of experience make her uniquely suited for this moment in Ukraine’s history.”  Prior to Monday’s nomination, Brink “previously served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and as the Deputy Chief of Mission … Continue reading Biden nominates Bridget Brink as new US Ambassador to Ukraine

Secret Service kills intruder at Peruvian ambassador’s home

The US Secret Service reportedly shot an intruder at the home of the Peruvian ambassador to the United States, law enforcement officials said. The shooting occurred in the Forest Hills neighborhood in the northwest of Washington DC. The Secret Service said officers shot the intruder “following a confrontation” at the ambassador’s home. No other details were provided to The Associated Press. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee told reporters that the agents initially tried to use Tasers on the intruder, who they claim was carrying a “metal stake.” “They encountered this person, they pulled their less-than-lethal service weapons, their Tasers,” Mr Contee said. “The officers fired those … Continue reading Secret Service kills intruder at Peruvian ambassador’s home