Category Archives: International

Russia ready to prolong START nuclear treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he informed U.S. President Donald Trump about Russia readiness to extend the New START nuclear treaty expiring in 2021.

“I reassured President Trump that Russia stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first, because we have some questions to our American partners,” Putin told Fox News in an interview after Helsinki summit with Trump.

The New START treaty, signed on April 8, 2010, agrees for deployable nuclear warheads and bombs to be capped at no more than 1,550. It limits deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers to 700 and non-deployed ICBMs, SLBM and bombers to 800.

The treaty lasts for 10 years and can be extended by up to five years. The New START treaty gave both countries until February this year to reach the treaty limits.

Trump: “Rigged Witch Hunt” damages relations with Moscow

Hours before the meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki President Donald Trump blamed “U.S. foolishness” for bad relations between Washington and Moscow, while the Kremlin said it expected a tough meeting.

President Trump wrote in his Twitter microblog that “foolishness and stupidity and now. the Rigged Witch Hunt” are causes of poor relations with Russia.

“…So common sense tells us that the countries of the world, especially European countries, should be interested in the normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington” – Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told ahead of the visit. However The Kremlin must be on alert in case the North Atlantic Treaty Organization increases the military budget. The Alliance is “an instrument of confrontation,” designed for the purpose, he continued. As NATO openly considers Russia an opponent, the government in Moscow is determined to ensure parity in weapons systems, including nuclear arms, Peskov said to RT TV channel.

 

NATO Summit: anti-missile shield forgotten challenge

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION On the occasion of the NATO Summit on July 11 and 12, the media and the European political class are  focusing almost exclusively their attention on the small sentences of Donald Trump, to detect his degree of loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance.

However, much more concrete and decisive issues for European security should receive their full attention.

The Iranian nuclear threat was the main justification for NATO’s anti missile shield (ABM) project, which has continued to be implemented until today. Since the withdrawal of the United States on May 8 at the initiative of Donald Trump, of the Iranian nuclear agreement that was signed in 2015, Europeans should be preoccupied by the future role of the anti-missile shield (ABM) and its repercussions on their security. This device meets the opposition of Russia. Russia feel threatened by the anti-missile shield as it destabilizes the strategic nuclear balance.

The map inserted in this article shows the location of the existing and anticipated shield infrastructure. The brown belt of  American bases and shield elements appear as a continuous spatial unit. The blue arrows that create movement from a US “head” to its allies, represents the perception of encirclement of the Russians and Chinese (although the shield’s stated purpose is to protect against missiles from Iran and North Korea).

The question of the anti-missile shield, if the project is strengthened, could therefore make the European territory again a theater of confrontation between the Russians and the Americans with the prospect of reinforcing a New Cold war. The European territory would become again an issue between the United States and Russia by the deployment of the anti-missile shield without agreement negotiated between the two countries.

The Germans and the French, who were initially suspicious of this project, but who finally supported its incorporation into NATO under pressure from the United States, would benefit from addressing this major issue again in the interests of European security.

Their own sovereignty is the first challenge, since it is obvious that neither will have the finger on the button to decide on the firing of ballistic missiles. The other issue is that of peace in Europe. The disagreements between Russians and Americans, increases the risk of nuclear war in Europe. Instead of speculating on Donald Trump’s  comments in the media, Europeans should ask him to clarify his position on the role of this anti missile shield within European security in order to obtain better guarantees.

MAP Eng

 

 

 

 

 

Iran protests against expel of diplomats from Netherlands

Tehran summoned Dutch ambassador in relation to Islamic Republic protested at the deportation of two Iranian diplomats from the Netherlands, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by IRNA news.

A European government official and a Western intelligence source indicated that the expulsions of two Iranian embassy staff occurred up to two months ago.

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi  said the deportation of Iranian diplomats was “unfriendly and unconstructive” and said Iran has the right to take reciprocal measures.

“Instead of expelling Iranian diplomats, the Dutch government should explain why it has harbored members of a terrorist organization,” Qasemi said, mentioning the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran. That group is linked to the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran – a bloc of opposition groups in exile that seek an end clerical rule in Iran. The group, also known by its Persian name Mujahideen-e-Khalq, was once listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union but is not any more.

EU-Azerbaijan: “attempts of blackmail will not succeed”

At July Plenary in Strasbourg MEPs recommended a list of conditions for a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement, underlining that the future deal must be ambitious and deliver concrete benefits; it has also to ensure respect to fundamental rights and freedoms; and must guarantee defeating  corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

 

Ensuring that core EU values and rights are respected is one of the conditions for deepening EU-Azerbaijan relations, said MEPs on Wednesday, June 4.

Parliament’s recommendation to negotiators for the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement, passed by 564 votes to 69, with 47 abstentions, it calls on the Council, EU Commission and the EU foreign policy chief to:

  • ensure that the future agreement is ambitious and delivers tangible and concrete benefits to both sides, not only for large companies, but also for SMEs and citizens of the EU and of Azerbaijan;
  • ensure that the deepening of EU-Azerbaijan relations is conditional upon it upholding and respecting democracy, the rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  • remind the Azerbaijani authorities that no comprehensive agreement will be ratified with a country that does not respect fundamental EU values and rights,
  • ensure, before the negotiations are concluded, that Azerbaijan releases its political prisoners and prisoners of conscience,
  • help Azerbaijan to develop a strong framework to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensure that it respects the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,
  • support reform of the judiciary aimed at ensuring its impartiality and independence from the executive,
  • put in place specific provisions to help Azerbaijan to fight economic crime, including corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, and back investigations into laundering schemes, notably the “Laundromat” affair, and
  • further support free and pluralistic media in Azerbaijan with editorial independence from dominant political and oligarchic groups and in line with EU standards.

MEPs hope that if negotiations advance speedily and all key conditions are met the new agreement could be signed before the next EU-Eastern Partnership summit in 2019. They also urge the EU side to ensure that the new agreement does not take effect provisionally until after the European Parliament has given its consent.

At present the EU-Azerbaijan relations are governed by the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Negotiations for a new agreement were launched on February 2017. The EU is Azerbaijan‘s top trading partner and its biggest export and import market, accounting for 48.6% of Azerbaijan’s total trade and providing its largest source of foreign direct investment.

“Azerbaijan is a reliable and predictable partner of European Union”, – said to Europe Diplomatic Ambassador of AzerbaijanFuad Isgandarov, the Head of the Mission to the European Union, commenting on MEPs concept.

“As you know, positive dynamics has always dominated our bilateral cooperation. Having this in mid, the new agreement will further enhance our mutually beneficial relationship and touch upon all the issues of interest for both sides. Negotiations continue and we hope for its earliest conclusion,” Ambassador continued.

“For this end, we also count on supportive actions from everyone who desire only the prosperity of EU-Azerbaijan relations and stand firm against all attempts to undermine our firm partnership,” H.E.Isgandarov said.

“Unfortunately it is not the first time that Press Service of EP in its press-release portrays mainly critical recommendations from adopted documents as preconditions for negotiations on new agreement. But document highlights Azerbaijan as an important partner and outlines broader avenues for future cooperation” – Ambassador underlined.

“Azerbaijan also has strong “red lines” on some issues of these negotiations with EU but never vocally highlighted them as preconditions. Our partners from EEAS are on the same position. Both sides understand mutual importance of negotiations on agreement, in which EU has as minimum no less interest than Azerbaijan.”

“Any attempt to blackmail each other or undermine negotiations will not succeed. We believe constructive spirit of negotiations will deliver fruitful results for all generations of citizens of both sides” – the  diplomat concluded.

Trump declined answer on Crimea

Fortnight ahead of the Summit with Russia, President Donald Trump has declined to rule out recognizing Republic of Crimea as a part or Russian Federation.

Asked by reporters on future of Crimea Trump was very laconic, and said: “We’re going to have to see.”

Trump declined to reveal his position on possible development of relations between two countries when asked whether he would consider “lifting  sanctions on Russia” which were imposed in response to “annexation of Crimea”. The President said the meeting is aiming at improvement of bilateral relations, which are at a post-Cold War low. “We’ll see what Russia does,” Trump said.

Trump-Putin meeting takes place on the 16th of July in Helsinki, Finland, according to Russian diplomats the preparations are on the way.

Putin receives Bolton in Kremlin

Preparations for a potential Russian-US summit is among the issues brought up by US National Security Adviser John Bolton at his current meetings in Moscow, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed.

“While in Moscow today, Ambassador Bolton is meeting with President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials to discuss United States-Russia relations, as well the potential for a Presidential meeting,” she tweeted.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier told reporters that “Bolton’s key contacts will take place in the Russian Security Council, with the Foreign Minister, and he will also contact with Presidential Aide Ushakov” and President Putin himself.

 

 

 

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