British embassy employee found murdered in Lebanon: Official

Rebecca Dykes, a British woman employed at the UK embassy in Lebanon, who has been found murdered, a senior official said on Dec. 17, 2017. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 17 December 2017

British embassy employee found murdered in Lebanon: Official

BEIRUT: A British diplomat has been found dead at the side of a road near the Lebanese capital.

She had been strangled, sources told the BBC.

Friends of the deceased woman and media have confirmed her as Rebecca Dykes, a British embassy staffer working with the Department for International Development.

The death of the British woman was confirmed in a statement released by Britain's Foreign Office with the government department saying that it was providing support to the family.

In a statement to Arab News, the Department for International Development said:

“Our thoughts are with Becky's family and friends at this very upsetting time. There is now a police investigation and the FCO is providing consular support to Becky’s family and working with the local authorities.”

According to the BBC, Ms Dykes had been working in Beirut as the programme and policy manager for the Department for International Development since January 2017.

Her family said in a statement: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Rebecca. We are doing all we can to understand what happened.”


France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

Updated 20 min 18 sec ago

France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

  • Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members

JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc considers employing if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state.”

“But we consider that the union should also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, among them one of sanctions, if the situation didn’t evolve positively,” Beaune said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution has called for sanctions against Turkey unless it showed “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” in defusing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “This is not ‘country X against country Y,’ it is the aggregated view of the European Parliament,” he told Arab News.

EU leaders are set to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus insist are only theirs to explore.

Turkey triggered a naval stand-off with NATO ally Greece after dispatching a warship-escorted research vessel in a part of the eastern Mediterranean that Greece says is over its continental shelf. Greece deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also holding talks at NATO headquarters to work out ways of ensuring that any standoff at sea doesn’t descend into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its survey ship and warship escorts was a positive step, but that Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said a list of sanctions will be put before EU leaders at next week’s summit and whether they’ll be implemented will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I’m hoping that it won’t become necessary to reach that point,” Dendias said.

Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a “double standard” by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud and police brutality while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP.