'Good riddance,' China says as Germany leaves U.N. Security Council

By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Germany's UN envoy, during its last scheduled session of the UN Security Council, appealed to China to release two detained Canadians for Christmas and urged China's deputy UN envoy to respond: "From the bottom of my heart, good liberation. ""
Germany will end a two-year term in the 15-member council at the end of this month, and Ambassador Christoph Heusgen plans to retire after more than 40 years as a diplomat.
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"Let me end my term in the Security Council by calling on my Chinese colleagues to ask Beijing to release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Christmas is the right time for such a gesture," Heusgen told the council meeting, which was the official agenda item Iran.
Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who advised the International Crisis Group's think tank, and businessman Spavor were arrested in Beijing in 2018, shortly after Canadian police charged Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Meng Wanzhou's chief financial officer, with a US Arrest warrant.
China's US Deputy Ambassador Geng Shuang accused Heusgen of abusing the Security Council to launch "malicious" attacks on other members "to poison the working atmosphere."
"I would like to say something from the bottom of my heart: Good release, Ambassador Heusgen," said Geng. "I hope that in your absence in 2021 the Council will be in a better position to fulfill its responsibility ... for maintaining international peace and security."
Heusgen also used the Security Council meeting to advise Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United States, Dmitry Polyanskiy, to read certain articles about Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who said he had persuaded a Russian secret agent to reveal details of a botched conspiracy to kill him. The Russian FSB security service rejected the recording as a fake.
Polyanskiy replied: "It seems that he has developed a certain dependence on the Council. There is never a meeting without criticism of Russia, even if that is not appropriate for the subject. I hope that Christoph's symptoms will improve after January 1st will."
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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