Germany finishes its two-year term on the 15-member United Nations Security Council at the end of this month and during his last meeting, Germany’s envoy appealed to China to free two detained Canadians for Christmas.
“Let me end my tenure on the Security Council by appealing to my Chinese colleagues to ask Beijing for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Christmas is the right moment for such a gesture,” Ambassador Christoph Heusgen told the council session, whose official agenda topic was Iran.
Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who was working as an adviser for the International Crisis Group think tank, and businessman Spavor were detained by Beijing in 2018 shortly after Canadian police picked up Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant.
China’s deputy UN ambassador, Geng Shuang, responded by accusing Heusgen of abusing the security council to launch “malicious” attacks on other members.
“I wish to say something out of the bottom of my heart: Good riddance, Ambassador Heusgen,” Geng said. “I am hoping that the council in your absence in the year 2021 will be in a better position to fulfil the responsibilities for maintaining international peace and security.”
Reuters reports that Heusgen also used the meeting to advise Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, to read about Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who recently said he tricked a Russian secret agent into disclosing details of a botched plot to kill him.
An unimpressed Polyanskiy replied: “It seems the ambassador has developed a dependency on the council; there’s never a meeting without criticism of Russia even if that’s not suitable for the subject matter. I hope that after Jan 1 his symptoms will improve.”