United Nations, Dec 23 (PTI) As Germany ends its two-year tenure as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council this month, its envoy to the world body appealed to China to free two detained Canadians for Christmas, prompting Beijing’s deputy envoy to respond: 'Good riddance'.
In his final remarks to the UN Security Council on Germany's 2019/2020 term, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said on Wednesday, 'let me end my tenure in 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.' Heusgen said Kovrig, a fellow Canadian diplomat who joined the International Crisis Group after retirement, has been held hostage together with Spavor, an entrepreneur, for two years now after Canada’s decision, at the US request, to detain a Chinese technology executive.
Canadian police had detained Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant.
Heusgen, who will soon retire after 40 years in Germany’s Diplomatic Service, said while the Chinese executive spends her time in a seven-bedroom mansion in Vancouver, Kovrig has been confined to an isolated small cell in Beijing.
Responding to Heusgen’s remarks, made during a virtual briefing on the issue of Iran, China's Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang accused him of launching 'malicious' attacks against other Council members and abusing the platform of the Security Council in an attempt 'to poison the working atmosphere'.
'In my last statement, I did bid him farewell, well, pretty much out of courtesy and of course in a diplomatic manner. Now, I wish to say out of the bottom of my heart: Good riddance, Ambassador Heusgen. I am hoping that the Council in your absence in the year 2021 will be in a better position to fulfill the responsibilities and mandate for maintaining international peace and security,' Geng said.
The Chinese deputy envoy added that according to Heusgen, Kovrig is his good friend. 'If you have anything to say to him, you can certainly do it through legitimate channels. You don't have to abuse the Council, give a shout out to demonstrate your friendship or fraternity with Michael Kovrig to show your concern for his welfare.' PTI YAS ZH ZH