Entries in Diplomat (3)


Saudi Diplomat Assassinated in Pakistan

U.S. State Department(KARACHI, Pakistan) -- New problems appear to be brewing in Pakistan after a Saudi Arabian diplomat was shot and killed Monday in the financial capital of Karachi.

Witnesses said that the assailants were riding motorcycles when they intercepted a limo driven by Hassan M. al-Kahtani.  The gunmen then fired at the diplomat, shooting him in the head.

A Pakistani security official said on the condition of anonymity that al-Kahtani was actually an intelligence officer "looking into Saudi dissidents who have found refuge in the city, and this is most probably why he was targeted."

While no motive was assigned to the murder, there is also speculation that it might have been revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in Pakistan, since the Saudi government has denounced the al Qaeda leader.

The Saudis and Pakistanis have generally had good relations over the years so the assassination could have been the work of radical Islamists.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Diplomat Steps Down over Okinawa Comments

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- A senior U.S. diplomat supervising Japan affairs stepped down Thursday over controversial remarks he reportedly made about Okinawa to American University students in Washington.

The U.S. embassy in Tokyo released a statement saying Kevin Maher, former director of the State Department's Office of Japan Affairs, has been replaced by longtime diplomat Rust Deming.

News of Maher's resignation overshadowed Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell's two-day visit to Tokyo.

In a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto, Campbell offered yet another apology for Maher's comments.

"These in no way reflect the attitudes of warmth and gratitude and friendship that the United States has for the people of Okinawa," he said.  "We are deeply apologetic for this controversy."

The State Department has been playing damage control since reports of Maher's comments disparaging Okinawans surfaced Monday.  The alleged remarks were made during a lecture in Washington about "Military Bases and Their Impacts on Okinawa" and were intended to be off-the-record.

Student notes obtained by Japanese media revealed Maher called residents of Japan's southern island "lazy" and "masters of extortion," an apparent reference to financial subsidies Tokyo pays to Okinawans in exchange for hosting U.S. military bases on the island.

Word of Maher's comments quickly spread through the Japanese media and prompted the Okinawa prefectural assembly and Naha city to adopt a resolution condemning the diplomat's statements and demanding a retraction and apology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Diplomat Attacked by Police in Vietnam

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of State(HANOI, Vietnam) -- An American diplomat was attacked by Vietnamese police Thursday while on his way to meet a prominent dissident, ABC News has confirmed.

Christian Marchant, a political officer at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi who won a State Department award for his work on human rights, was on his way to meet with a dissident Catholic priest, Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, when police attacked him.  The extent of his injuries is unknown, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner blasted Vietnam for the attack.

"We are aware of and deeply concerned by the incident and have officially registered a strong protest with the Vietnamese government in Hanoi," Toner said.  "We plan to raise the issue with Ambassador Phung in Washington as well.  Diplomats are entitled under international law to special protection against attack.  The government of Vietnam has a responsibility to take appropriate steps to prevent any attack on the person, freedom, or dignity of diplomats."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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