UAE Summons Israeli Ambassador Over Jerusalem Violence

Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on April 15, 2022. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP


The UAE has summoned Israel’s ambassador to protest “attacks on civilians” and “incursions” into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the official WAM news agency said on Tuesday. 

The move follows Israeli-Palestinian clashes in and around the holy site over the weekend that wounded 170 people, mostly Palestinian demonstrators at the hands of Israeli security forces.

The UAE was one of three Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, breaking with decades of Arab consensus that such ties should not precede a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reem bint Ibrahim al-Hashemy, the UAE’s Minister of State for International Co-operation, conveyed to Israeli ambassador Amir Hayek “strong protest and denunciation of the events taking place in Jerusalem and Al- Aqsa Mosque,” WAM reported.

The UAE denounced “attacks on civilians and incursions into holy places that resulted in the injury of a number of civilians”.

Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, lies in Jerusalem’s Israeli-annexed Old City. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.

The UAE minister also “expressed concern over the escalation of tension that threatens stability and security in the region” and “underscored the need to respect” the role of Jordan as the custodian of east Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Until 2020, Jordan and Egypt were the only Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel.

Similar Israeli-Palestinian violence in and around Al-Aqsa last year triggered an escalation that resulted in an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.


US Ambassador Raps Lunar New Year Message To Vietnam

This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (L), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing with Vietnamese rapper Wowy (C) in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP) 



The US ambassador to Vietnam has rapped a Lunar New Year video to the country that has set the local internet alight, drawing a measure of admiration — and cringing — from those who’ve watched it.

Daniel Kritenbrink, a career diplomat who served previously in Kuwait, China and Japan, is featured roaming the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City wearing headphones and rhyming a Tet message to the country.

He was accompanied by enthusiastic local music stars as they drank coffee and sampled Vietnamese snacks.


This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (C), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)


The Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, is the most important annual holiday for Vietnamese, centred around family gatherings.

It also has enormous significance in relations between Washington and Hanoi, as North Vietnam launched what became known as the “Tet offensive” over the holiday in 1968, catching the US-backed southern Saigon government unawares.

It was a much lighter mood in Kritenbrink’s video, however, which showed the diplomat rapping “Tet in Vietnam is the tops” while wearing a pair of headphones around his neck.


This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink, US ambassador to Vietnam, performing in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)


Another scene shows him with a duster in hand, intoning: “Clean the house now, friends are on the way.”

The three-minute clip has been liked and shared thousands of times since it was posted Tuesday.

Most praised it as “lovely” or “fun” — but others were less complimentary.

“Has the US State Department turned into a rapper department?” asked Phuong Nguyen in a post on the US embassy’s official Facebook page.

After the decades-long war between the US and Vietnam, relations between the two powers were formally reset when then-President Barack Obama visited in 2016 and lifted a long-standing embargo.


This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (L), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing with Vietnamese rapper Wowy in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)


Trade tensions have recently ramped up, however, after Washington accused Hanoi of currency manipulation.

None of that appeared to silence the ambassador.

“From my shores to your shores, our friendship endures,” he rapped.

“US and Vietnam, from now to forever, we’re trusted partners, prospering together.”

UPDATED: Buhari Nominates Olonisakin, Other Ex-Service Chiefs As Ambassadors

A file photo of the immediate past service chiefs ahead of a Security Council meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.


President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated the immediate past service chiefs of the nation as ambassadors.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

They are former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas.

Others are former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman.

Adesina revealed that President Buhari has forwarded the names of the nominees to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.

In a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the President was quoted as saying “In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”

President Buhari appealed to the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.

The former service chiefs were appointed as non-career ambassadors-designate a week after their replacement with new officers.

They were said to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the disturbing rate of insecurity in the country.

The new service chiefs are Major-General Leo Irabor – Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru – Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo – Chief of Naval Staff, and Air-Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao – Chief of Air Staff.

Read the full statement by Adesina below:



President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.

In a letter to Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate, the President said: “In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”

The nominees are: Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd).

The President urged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

February 4, 2021

Carrington Offered Me Asylum In US During Abacha Regime, Obasanjo Pays Tributes

Walter C. Carrington


Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has paid tribute to the former American Ambassador in Nigeria, Walter Carrington, recalling how the envoy offered him political asylum in the United States during the regime of General Sani Abacha in 1995.

In a statement issued by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi on Tuesday, Obasanjo conveyed his condolence message to the wife of the late ambassador, Mrs Arese Carrington.

The former President stated that he, however, turned down the asylum offer, despite its tempting and assuring nature.

“He offered me political asylum by his government in the US. That was both touching and assuring, but I decided that tempting and assuring as the offer was, I would not take it. I came back and was arrested and imprisoned by Abacha,” he said.

The ex-President also praised Carrington for the role he played in easing the move to democratic rule in the country.

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According to him, the envoy was one of the responsible, mature and respected voices to take Nigeria out of the unwholesome situation it had found itself.

“Indeed, I recall, sometime in 1995, that on one of my trips to Copenhagen to attend World Social Summit as Human Development Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme, I received the most touching of the warnings, pieces of advice and offers to me from Ambassador Carrington.

“He called me in Copenhagen and told me categorically that I was going to be arrested on returning home and, therefore, advised me not to return home.

“No doubt, his generous assistance to my family, while I was a political prisoner, makes me forever indebted to him”

“When I was in prison, he was one of the few foreign Ambassadors who regularly visited my wife to encourage her and to find out how I was doing in prison. I can proudly say he was a true friend and brother,” he said.

The late ambassador died on August 11 at 92.

Following his demise, President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu among others have eulogised Carrington, describing him as a true friend of Nigeria.

Senate Confirms 42 Ambassadors-Designate, Adjourns Till June 23

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate.



The Senate has confirmed the appointment of 42 Ambassadors-designate.

During plenary on Thursday, the Upper Chamber also confirmed the nomination of James Jiya John Kolo as Commissioner of the Federal Character Commission.

The confirmation of the nominees followed the consideration of the reports of the Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs, and Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs.

In a letter dated May 6, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari said the appointment of the nominees was in accordance to section 171 (1),(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Ambassadors-designate confirmed by the Senate are C.O Nwachukwu, Abia; A. Kafas, Adamawa; R.U. Brown, Akwa-Ibom; G.A. Odudigbo, Anambra; O.C. Onowu, Anambra; Y.S. Suleiman, Bauchi; E.S. Agbana, Bayelsa; B.B.M. Okoyen, Bayelsa; G.M. Okoko, Benue; A.M. Garba, Borno; M.l. Bashir, Borno; M.O. Abam, Cross River; A.E. Allotey, Cross River; G.E. Edokpa, Edo; and A.N. Madubuike, Enugu.

Others are: Adamu Lamuwa, Gombe; Innocent lwejuo, lmo; M.S. Abubakar, Jigawa; Y.A. Ahmed, Jigawa; S.D. Umar, Kaduna; A. Sule, Kano; G.Y. Hamza, Kano; N. Rimi, Katsina; L.S. Ahmed-Remawa, Katsina; M. Manu, Kebbi; l.R. Ocheni, Kogi; l.A. Yusuf, Kogi; M. Abdulraheem, Kwara; W.A. Adedeji, Lagos; and A.U. Ogah, Nasarawa.

Also among career Ambassadors-designate confirmed include A.A. Musa, Niger; N.A. Kolo, Niger; S.O. Olaniyan, Ogun; A.R. Adejola, Ogun; E. Awe, Ondo; O. Aluko, Osun; I.A. Alatishe, Osun; V.A. Adeleke, Oyo; M.S. Adamu, Plateau; l.N. Charles, Rivers; Z.M. lfu, Taraba; and B.B. Hamman, Yobe.

Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned its plenary until June 23.

The announcement was made by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the adoption of the Votes and Proceedings for Thursday.

Turkey Summons US Envoy Over ‘Armenian Genocide’ Recognition

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan


Turkey on Wednesday summoned the US ambassador to Ankara over a resolution passed by the US House of Representatives officially recognising the “Armenian genocide”, officials at the Turkish foreign ministry said.

The US Ambassador to Ankara David Satterfield was summoned to the foreign ministry over “a resolution that lacks any historical or legal basis” and a bill that imposes sanctions over Turkey’s military operation in Syria, the officials said.

FG Mourns Ex-Nigerian Ambassador To Congo, Saleh Pisagih

FG Mourns Ex-Nigerian Ambassador To Congo, Saleh Pisagih
File photo: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.


A former Nigerian ambassador to the Republic of Congo, Saleh Pisagih, is dead.

The Federal Government announced this on Thursday in a statement by the acting spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday Akpan.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets to announce the untimely demise of Ambassador Saleh Manu Pisagih, a retired career Ambassador, whose death occurred on Wednesday 16 April 2019, after a brief illness,” the statement said.

It added, “The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and members of Staff of the ministry received the sad news of his death with great shock and prayed that the Almighty God grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

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Ambassador Pisagih, who hailed from Gombe State, was born in Nyuwar in 1955 and joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1982.

During his career, the late Ambassador served in different capacities both at the headquarters and foreign missions such as Jakarta, The Hague, and New York (Permanent Mission).

He was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) in 2008.

Ambassador Pisagih retired in 2015.

The government described him as a seasoned diplomat, an exemplary gentleman, amiable, humble, jovial, and a very brilliant officer.

It also described his death as a big loss to the Nigerian Foreign Service and the nation.

U.S. Ambassador Applauds Peaceful Conduct Of Elections

United States Ambassador to Nigeria , Stuart Symington


The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has congratulated Nigerians for their patience and large turnout to cast their votes in Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

In a statement, the U.S. envoy also applauded the hundreds of thousands who worked with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the polls.

Part of the statement read, “As noted by many observer groups in their preliminary reports, this election was predominantly peaceful, and it was proof of the Nigerian people’s resolute commitment to choose their leaders. The peaceful achievement of millions was shadowed by the violence of a few.”

READ ALSO: I Dedicate This Victory To God And My Constituents, Says Dogara

While commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives during the elections, Mr. Symington asked all the candidates in the elections to honor the peace accord they signed in the run-up to the exercise.

“All should convince those who support them to refrain from using force or violence to interfere with INEC.

“No one should break the law by announcing results before INEC does, or break the peace by claiming victory before the results are final. Everyone has a common interest in showing patience as INEC collates and announces the election results,” he said.

Canada Ambassador Walks Back Comments On Huawai Executive

McCallum, currently Ambassador to China, on January 24, 2019, walked back comments that Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has a “strong case” against extradition to the US.  AFP


Canada’s ambassador to China on Thursday walked back comments that Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has a “strong case” against extradition to the United States, following a political backlash.

Ambassador John McCallum said in a statement that he “misspoke” and “regrets that my comments with respect to the legal proceedings of Ms Meng have created confusion.”

Meng was arrested on December 1 while changing planes in Vancouver at the request of the United States, which says she committed fraud by lying to bankers about allegedly violating American sanctions on Iran.

She has been released on bail, but her arrest has sparked an escalating diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing.

Speaking to Chinese-language media in Canada on Tuesday, after briefing lawmakers on the plight of two Canadians detained in China and a third-placed on death row in what are widely seen as retaliatory moves by Beijing, McCallum called the US extradition request flawed.

“I think Ms. Meng has quite a strong case,” he told a news conference.

“One, political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case. Two, there’s an extraterritorial aspect to her case, and three, there’s the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada does not sign on to these Iran sanctions. So I think she has some strong arguments that she can make before a judge,” he said.

His remarks about the case were quickly panned by opposition parties and others for seeming to undercut the strict hands-off approach to judicial matters touted by the Canadian government.

McCallum added that he plays “no role in assessing any arguments or making any determinations in the extradition process.”


Iran Summons Polish Diplomat To Protest US Summit

Iranian President, Rouhani


Iran’s foreign ministry summoned Poland’s top diplomat in the country to protest its decision to host what it called an “anti-Iranian” summit, a spokesman said Sunday.

Poland’s charge d’affaires was summoned to “protest the anti-Iranian so-called peace and security conference,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on his Telegram channel.

He was told “this is a hostile act by the United States against Iran and Poland is expected to refrain from going along with the US in holding this conference,” Ghasemi added.

The summit was announced last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said dozens of countries would participate.

They will “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence,” he told Fox News.

Poland’s representative in Iran, Wojciech Unolt, reportedly said the conference, to be held February 13-14 in Warsaw, was not anti-Iranian and that Poland did not share recent remarks by the US against Iran.

The Iranian official said this was inadequate and Iran would be “forced to retaliate” if Poland did not back down.

Iran poured scorn on the meeting and pointed out that the country, then impoverished after the invasion by Britain and the Soviet Union, welcomed more than 100,000 Polish refugees during World War II.

“Polish Govt can’t wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts a desperate anti-Iran circus,” Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted earlier this week.


Finland Summons Russian Ambassador Over GPS Blocking Claims

Ambassador Pavel Kuznetsov


Finland has summoned Russia’s ambassador to answer allegations that Moscow was behind the jamming of GPS signals in Lapland during recent NATO exercises, the foreign ministry in Helsinki confirmed Saturday.

Ambassador Pavel Kuznetsov “has been invited to the ministry on Monday to discuss the GPS issue,” spokeswoman Hanna Paivarinta told AFP.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila has said the jamming of GPS satellite signals in the Arctic region had put civil aviation at risk.

The jamming coincided with Trident Juncture 18, NATO’s biggest military exercises since the end of the Cold War, held several hundred kilometres (miles) from Norway’s border with Russia from October 25 to November 7.

Prior to the manoeuvres, Russia had vowed to “retaliate”, calling the exercises “anti-Russian”.

On Thursday, Finland said it stood behind Norway’s assessment that Russian ground forces in the Kola peninsula, close to the border with Norway and Finland, were responsible for jamming the signals.

“The source of the interference is obvious to us, and Norway has the same experience,” Finnish foreign minister Timo Soini told the national news agency STT during a visit to Washington on Friday.

“When the time comes for reaction and dialogue, we will have those conversations, but not in public,” Soini added.

Russia has denied the allegation as “baseless”.

The disruption led to Finnish and Norwegian civil airspace operators issuing warnings to pilots that navigation signals in northeast Lapland were unstable.

In September 2017, Norwegian authorities reported jammed GPS signals affecting civil flights in the north of the country during Russia’s large Zapad military exercise.

“The foreign ministry has on several occasions in the past raised the question with Russian authorities,” Norway’s defence ministry said at the time.


Russia To Summon Dutch Ambassador Over Cyber Attack Claims

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The Russian foreign ministry was to summon the Dutch ambassador on Monday after the Netherlands said it had foiled a cyber attack by Russians, state news agencies reported.

“Due to the campaign of disinformation carried out in The Hague the Dutch ambassador will be summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday,” a source in the ministry told RIA Novosti state news agency.

The Netherlands said Thursday it had expelled four GRU military intelligence agents in April for an attempt to hack into the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

At the time of the alleged plot, the OPCW was investigating the March poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury.

It was also probing allegations of a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Moscow.

The suspected agents were traveling on Russian diplomatic passports.

Moscow last summoned the Dutch ambassador Renée Jones-Bos along with the Swiss ambassador in September over what it called “unsubstantiated accusations” that Russian spies had attempted to hack Swiss targets.

Russia has dismissed accusations it has orchestrated a string of global cyber attacks as “spy mania”.