Philippines recalls ambassador to Canada over garbage row

An environmental activist wear a mock container vans filled with garbage shipped from Canada as they hold a protest outside the Canadian embassy on May 7, 2015. (AP)
Updated 16 May 2019
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Philippines recalls ambassador to Canada over garbage row

  • Philippines says trash was dumped illegally
  • Canada missed deadline to take back waste

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippines on Thursday said it was recalling its ambassador and consuls to Canada over a row about waste.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he ordered the recall after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to retrieve the trash, which the government says was illegally shipped and dumped in the country in 2013 and 2014.

“At midnight last night, letters for the recall of our ambassador and consuls to Canada went out. They are expected here in a day or so,” Locsin tweeted. “Canada missed the May 15 deadline. And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there.”

The presidential palace previously said it could accept a “reasonable delay” in shipping out the Canadian garbage due to administrative requirements.

“That the government may consider a 2 or 3 week delay does not extend the deadline,” Locsin tweeted, explaining in a further post what had prompted him to issue the recall order. 

“At the Japanese enthronement ceremony, DOF (Department of Finance) informed me that Canada did not show up at a meeting with Customs and that was the trigger.”

A spokesman for the presidential palace, Salvador Panelo, said the recall was intended to put pressure on Canada.

He told media that Canada’s refusal to take back its garbage was “disruptive of our diplomatic relations.” 

“The recall shows that we are very serious in asking them to get back their garbage. Otherwise, we are going to sever our relations with them," Panelo said, adding there was no point in having bilateral relations if there was no sincerity on Canada’s part.

“What the Canadian authorities are saying is they are doing their best to bring back the garbage, but I can’t even understand because they can do that, if I were the prime minister (Justin Trudeau) that's easy to do," Panelo said.

“The president’s position is very clear. You should remove that, otherwise our relations are over.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs said there were 837,130 people in Canada of Filipino ethnic origin as of 2016.

Panelo said the garbage row would not affect Filipinos in Canada. “Whatever the consequence, this government will be protective of the interests of our countrymen in any part of the world.”
 


US says anyone who allows Iran tanker Adrian Darya I to dock risks sanctions

Updated 21 August 2019
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US says anyone who allows Iran tanker Adrian Darya I to dock risks sanctions

  • Greece says it received no docking request from tanker
  • Iran says Iranian court to hear case of detained UK tanker

UNITED NATIONS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says anyone who “touches,” supports or allows an Iranian tanker carrying crude oil to dock risks US sanctions.
He told reporters Tuesday that if an Iranian supertanker that left Gibraltar on Sunday again heads to Syria, “we’ll take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that.”
Greece said earlier in the day that it had not had a request from the Adrian Darya 1, the vessel at the center of a dispute between Iran and the United States, to dock at one of its ports, as Washington warned Greece against helping the vessel.
The tanker, formerly called Grace 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday. Ship-tracking data on Tuesday showed the vessel was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamata on the southern coast of the Peloponnese and was scheduled to arrive next Monday.
“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” Pompeo told reporters at the United Nations.
He said that if the tanker’s oil was sold, the revenue would be used by elite units of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “We want to deny them the resources to continue their horrific terror campaign,” Pompeo said.
The tanker is carrying about 2 million barrels of oil.
“The vessel is cruising at low speed and there is still no formal announcement that it will arrive at Kalamata. The Merchant Marine Ministry is monitoring the matter along with Greece’s Foreign Ministry,” a Greek Shipping Ministry spokesman said.

The Iranian flag flies on oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored in Gibraltar, Spain, on August 18, 2019. (REUTERS/Jon Nazca)

The ship, which is now sailing under an Iranian flag, was released from detention off Gibraltar after a five-week standoff over whether it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
Soon after the detention order was lifted, a US federal court ordered the seizure of the vessel on different grounds, but that petition was rejected by Gibraltar.
Tehran said any US move to seize the vessel again would have “heavy consequences.” The United States in turn has also conveyed its “strong position” to the Greek government over the tanker.
Washington wants the tanker detained on the grounds that it had links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which it has designated a terrorist organization.
The European Union, of which Greece is a member, bans oil sales to Syria and the United States has sanctions on Iranian oil sales.

Impact on detained UK tanker?
The fate of the Adrian Darya 1 could also have a bearing on that of a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Gulf two weeks after British Royal Marine commandos seized what was then known as the Grace 1.
Speculation has mounted that the Stena Impero could be freed once the Adrian Darya 1 had set sail, although Iranian officials have denied any link between the two cases.
Deputy Transport Minister Mohammad Rastad said the case of Stena Impero had been submitted to a court in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported, without giving a date when it would be heard.
The handling of the Adrian Darya 1 will be a major foreign policy test for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a pro-Western conservative elected in July.
Any efforts to assist the tanker could be construed as providing material support to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, which has immigration and potential criminal consequences, a US State Department official said.
A Greek diplomatic source cited by the state Athens News Agency said the country was in communication with the United States on the matter, but did not say what Greece would do.
“(The US) position on the specific issue is known and has been communicated not only to Greece but other states and ports in the Mediterranean,” the source said.
It is standard practice for a vessel to give 48 hours’ notice before docking at a port, Greek officials said.
It was not clear where the ship might head if Greece refused it permission to dock.
Cyprus, farther east, has bitter experience from seizing Iranian products destined for Syria. Munitions it confiscated exploded in 2011, causing the island’s worst peacetime disaster.