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Kyrgyzstan signs $1 million US-Israel-Gulf lobby deal; Huawei hires PR firm for $2 million; SEO firm adds 8 to massive UAE embassy contract: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

Kyrgyzstan’s new president signs $1 million lobbying deal

Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov / Office of the Presidency

Just two weeks after taking over seemingly out of nowhere, Kyrgyzstan’s acting president has already signed a $1 million lobbying contract for international help with an economic crisis that contributed to his predecessor’s downfall.

The office of President Sadyr Japarov signed the contract with former Israeli military intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe on Oct. 30. It calls for Ben-Menashe’s firm, Montreal-based Dickens & Madson Canada, to lobby governments in the United States and the Middle East for assistance to the struggling Central Asian republic.

From Washington, Dickens & Madson is seeking “material assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences.” But the agreement doesn’t end there, drawing on Ben-Menashe’s Middle East connections to press for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and officials in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh as Israel’s deepening ties to the Arab Gulf states pave the way for possible regional collaboration on aid initiatives.

Read the story here.


New foreign lobbying filings (FARA)

Africa

Somalia (Somaliland): The US mission of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland reported $66,000 in payments from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hargeisa during the six months through September. During the period the mission briefed the US Agency for International Development’s deputy assistant administrator for East Africa, Diana Putman, via Zoom on the impact of COVID-19. The mission also spoke by phone with Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and communicated with two Department of Defense officials, Col. Ronald Miller and Maj. Brian Murray, about developments in Somaliland and talks with Somalia.

Americas

Canada: New York public relations firm Finn Partners has belatedly registered as a foreign agent for Travel Alberta. The three-year contract started in May 2019. The firm reported $44,000 in payments on the account in the six months through September.

Colombia: DCI Group has amended its lobbying contract with a Colombian company advocating on behalf of former President Alvaro Uribe to reflect that the ultimate client is really Uribe himself. “As the work has progressed and since his release from house arrest, it is more accurate for Mr. Uribe to be identified as the foreign principal,” the filing states. The Washington firm signed a $40,000-a-month contract in August with a Medellin company run by Uribe’s son Tomas Uribe Moreno after the former president was placed under house arrest amid a probe into his alleged ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. Through September 2020 the firm’s lobbyists contacted multiple reporters and met in person with New York Times Andes bureau chief Julie Turkewitz to discuss the case.

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Dominican Republic: Massachusetts resident Franklin Miguel Francisco terminated his registration as a foreign agent for Dominican Republic’s agency for Dominicans living abroad on Sept. 3. In the six months through October Francisco reported $18,500 to help determine how many Dominicans are incarcerated in penal institutions in Massachusetts. He was hired for the work in September 2019.

Asia

China: The US subsidiary of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has signed a one-year, $1.94 million public relations contract with Racepoint Global through October 2021. The Boston PR company has worked for Huawei Technologies USA since October 2018 and disclosed almost $3.74 million in payments since then.

Hong Kong: New York public relations firm Finn Partners has belatedly registered a $25,000-a-month monthly retainer contract with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The 23-month PR contract was effective May 1 and runs through March 31, 2022. The firm reported $76,000 in payments from the tourism board in the six months through September.

Japan: The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) San Francisco office has registered manager Edward Ramsey as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.

Japan: The Daschle Group of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) received $50,000 from the Embassy of Japan for strategic consulting services in the six months through September but did not disclose any political activities on its behalf.

Taiwan: The Daschle Group received $125,000 to represent Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington in the six months through September. The firm emailed the offices of a dozen lawmakers on the Senate foreign affairs and armed services committees and other key positions in mid-September as the Donald Trump administration began pushing through a $7 billion arms deal to the island that includes drones and other items that could give Congress pause.

Europe

Georgia: The DCI Group has registered Chelsea Mears of Connecticut as a public affairs consultant on its account with the Georgian Dream party of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The firm reported $133,000 in payments from the ruling party in the six months through September ahead of Oct. 31 parliamentary elections. Georgian Dream is also represented in Washington by Hogan Lovells. The party declared victory over the weekend but the opposition United National Movement, which also has a lobbying firm, Orion Strategies, is crying foul.

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Spain: The Delegation of Catalonia to the USA has registered communications senior adviser Xavier Vila Carrera of Washington as a foreign agent, effective Sept. 1. In the six months through September the delegation reported $83,500 in expenses. During that period delegation head Isidre Sala Queralt met virtually with Matt Duss, the foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on May 12, a month after Sanders ended his presidential campaign. Queralt and his senior adviser Magali Muria also met virtually with Evan Reade, the international affairs adviser to the Office of California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

Middle East

United Arab Emirates: Syracuse-based Terakeet has added eight new people to its search engine optimization contract with the UAE Embassy in Washington. They are:

The company reported $1.75 million in payments from the embassy in the six months through September.


In other news

Najmaldin Karim, a neurosurgeon and political activist remembered as a “one-man lobby” for Iraqi Kurdish interests in Washington in the 1980s and 90s, has died, the Washington Post reports.

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