Category Archives: International

EU vows to support Iraqi “new” government

The European Union calls on the Iraqi security forces to show maximum restraint and for protesters to keep protests peaceful. “The European Union will remain a strong partner and supporter of Iraq, including through its €400 million pledge at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in February and its EU Assistance Mission for civilian security sector reform. We will work with the new government in support of the stability, security, inclusive democracy and prosperity that all Iraqis deserve” – the statement of the External Action Service says.

Imposed curfew concludes anti-corruption demonstrations in the oil-rich city of Basra after protesters set fire to other parts of the city’s government and provincial council buildings, and some other government and political parties’ offices.

Protests over chronic shortages in essential services and widespread governmental corruption have broke out following the death of at least nine people and injuries to over hund in clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

So far efforts of the Iraqi authorities to quench public unrest, including imposition of curfews and deploying substantial military forces to Basra, have not been sucessful, failing to prevent protesters from setting on fire to the provincial council building and storming the governmental buildings.

Israel strengthens ties with Baltic Republics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his visit in Lithuania, saying he hoped to deepen ties with eastern EU nations as Brussels blasted Israel’s plans for fresh settlements in the West Bank.

Dozens of Pro-Palestinian activists waved Palestinian flags and chanted that Netanyahu was “not welcome” while railing against Lithuania‘s ties with Israel outside government buildings in the capital Vilnius, where he held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis.

Netanyahu thanked Skvernelis for the “strong position you’ve taken in forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency“.

Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels, there are many distortions that are levelled at us, and it is refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage, and we discussed how that can be expanded,Netanyahu added.

Israel approved plans for more than 1,000 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank prompting EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic to say that the bloc was “strongly opposed” to Israel’s “illegal” settlement policy, calling it “an obstacle to peace”.

The settlements “would further jeopardise the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state,”  Kocijancic continued.

Netanyahu said he wanted “to achieve a balance in the European Union’s not always friendly relations with Israel” ahead of the the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to Lithuania.

Israeli PM will meet the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Vilnius  during the visit, which is set to last until Sunday, August 26.

Russia hosts talks on Afghanistan future

The US refusal to take part in the conference on Afghanistan scheduled to be held in Moscow on September 4 reflects the hypocrisy of Washington’s peace rhetoric with respect to Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary.
“We were sorry to learn from a statement by the US Department of State that the Americans refuse to take part in a Moscow format meeting on September 4. Aside from them, representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and five Central Asian countries have been invited to take part in it,” the ministry said. “The American side’s decision once again highlights the hypocrisy of Washington’s peace rhetoric towards Afghanistan.”

This decision came as no surprise to Moscow, as there were no US representatives at the previous Moscow format meeting. “This time they came up with a far-fetched pretext that the US has no intention of taking part in those events, which are not organized under the supervision of the Afghans. Its obvious inconsistency is that the Moscow meeting is scheduled to be co-chaired by Russia and Afghanistan, and Washington is perfectly aware of that,” the ministry noted. “Apparently, the fact is that the Americans are in favor of taking part only in the meetings, which are held under their supervision and serve exclusively the US interests.”

Moscow accuses Washington of violation of international law

Washington has violated international law regarding Russian diplomatic missions in the US, the Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a protest note filed to DC.

The ministry expressed “protest at the continued violation of international law by the US with regard to” Russian diplomatic missions and consulates in the US, according to a statement on its website.

The complaint concerns Russian diplomatic properties in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as in the states of Maryland and New York.Moscow said that the “negative consequences” undermine not only US-Russian relations, but also “the principles of the sovereignty of states and international cooperation.”

Moscow said that it has a right to take “additional countermeasures” against US diplomatic property on Russian soil if the US “continues violations” against its facilities.

In a separate statement, also released on August 17 the Foreign Ministry  urged the UN Secretary-General to look into the matter.The relevant letter to Antonio Guterres was sent on May 18, the ministry said.

The diplomatic argument between Moscow and Washington dates back to December 2016, when on New Year’s Eve, the outgoing Obama administration expelled Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland.

Image: Moscow sunset

 

 

Nebenzia from Crimea answers to Pompeo

The Crimea peninsula is an integral part of the Russian Federation, the question of its status is closed” – stated to journalists the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN and the UN Security Council Vasily Nebenzia, commenting on the adoption of the US declaration on the non-recognition of the reunification of the Crimea with the Russian Federation, TASS  agency reports from Gurzuf.

The question was answered by the president of the Russian Federation, the Crimea is part of the Russian Federation, the question is closed for us, we know that we have different points of view, but the question is completely closed to us,” Nebenzia said.

The US administration released a declaration on the non-recognition of the reunification of Crimea and Russia. The document, which officially and publicly proclaims Washington’s policy of not recognizing the return of the peninsula to the Russian Federation, is published under the signature of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

 

Juncker’ goodwill visit to Washington

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will not arrive in the United States for talks with President Donald Trump with a specific trade offer, the Commission spokesperson said.

 

Juncker will travel to Washington for talks focused on trade tensions after the U.S. imposition of tariffs on EU steel and aluminum and Trump’s intends to extend those measures to European cars.

Trump has repeatedly complained about the European Union, pointing to the higher duties it applies for car imports.

UN reports numbers of illegal migrants to EU

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 51,782 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 18 July 2018. That total compares to 110,189 at this time last year, and 244,722 at this time in 2016.

Arrivals to Spain (see chart below) this month have overtaken those to Italy. To date just over 36 per cent of all Mediterranean irregular migrants have come via the Western Mediterranean route, whose irregular migration volume has nearly tripled those registered at this time last year.

Arrivals to Italy are nearly identical, but still trail Spain by just over 800 arrivals. Greece counts about 29 per cent of all arrivals. Significantly, Greece’s arrivals thus far in 2018 are running almost 5,000 ahead of last year’s totals on this date, an increase of better than 50 per cent. Arrivals to Italy, on the other hand, are down over 80 per cent compared to 2017 data.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported Thursday that the number (3,136) of irregular migrant arrivals to Italy by sea in June this year was the lowest recorded by Italian authorities since 2014.

Nonetheless, in the month of June, the Central Mediterranean route linking Italy to North Africa recorded the highest number of deaths along this channel in the past four years. In June 2018, some 564 migrants were reported drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Sicily. That compares with 529 in 2017, with 388 in 2016, five in 2015 and 314 in 2014. Through 18 July, 153 additional fatalities have been recorded on this route.

In spite of the slightly lower numbers of illegal migrants arriving this year in comparison with the last year, the numbers of arrivals remain high, causing criticism of politicians insisting Europe has no capacity to host “all in need around the globe”. “EU can not accept all the migrants from the planet” – Czech Prime minister Andrej Babiš  said, commenting situation with illegal migration.

 

 

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