Norway, Sudan, expel diplomats over spying allegations

PST headquarters in OsloBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Norway and Sudan have announced tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions over allegations of espionage. On Tuesday, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that a Sudanese diplomat stationed in the Norwegian capital Oslo would be expelled. The diplomat, whose name and position at the Sudanese embassy were not disclosed, allegedly engaged in “activities incompatible with his status under the protection of the Vienna Convention” —standard diplomatic lingo for espionage. The Reuters news agency reported that the diplomat was expelled after Norway’s main counterintelligence intelligence agency, the Police Security Service (PST), arrested and charged a 38-year-old Sudanese immigrant with espionage. The unnamed man, who was arrested in Trondheim, said he had been instructed by Sudanese embassy personnel to spy on the activities of the Sudanese expatriate community in Norway. He had previously been observed by the PST having a meeting with the same Sudanese diplomat who was subsequently expelled from Norway. Both men were arrested on Tuesday. While the unnamed diplomat has been expelled, the 38-year-old immigrant remains imprisoned in Oslo on espionage charges. According to a statement from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tuesday’s arrests marked the first case of ‘immigration intelligence’-related charges in the Scandinavian country since the 1970s. Early on Wednesday, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it was expelling a Norwegian diplomat in response to Oslo’s move on the previous day. Read more of this post

Israel said to be behind mystery airstrikes on Sudan

Port Sudan

Port Sudan

Sudanese government officials revealed on Tuesday that Sudanese territory was hit thrice by foreign warplanes last January and February, killing hundreds. The airstrikes appeared to target convoys travelling in Sudan’s desert coastal region near Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast. The revelation was confirmed on Thursday by Fatih Mahmoud Awad, an official at Sudan’s Ministry of Transport, who claimed that the three airstrikes destroyed dozens of vehicles and killed “as many as 800 people”. Shortly afterwards, an Associated Press report cited Ali Youssef, a Sudanese official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who confirmed Awad’s revelations, but refused to speculate on the exact number of casualties. Interestingly, the Sudanese government did not disclose the airstrikes at the time, probably because it “was embarrassed to acknowledge that its sovereignty and air space could be violated so easily”, according to one observer. The question is who was behind the attacks. Read more of this post

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