Category Archives: International

Lavrov “unpleasant surprise” of Austria spy scandal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was an “unpleasant surprise” in absence of any request from Vienna for  explanations over the affair of a retired Austrian army colonel who had allegedly spied for Moscow.

This was an unpleasant surprise to me. It has been a custom from time immemorial for any country that feels some concerns or suspicions over actions by another country to ask for explanations directly in accordance with the rules of international communication. Lately, our Western counterparts have made it a rule not to use traditional methods but rather megaphone diplomacy.They accuse us in public and then demand public explanations over an issue we know nothing about,” Lavrov underlined, according to TASS News Agency.

“It is essential to follow the rules that have been shaped in the process of international communication. We have invited Austria’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry. We will draw his attention to what methods should be used, if they have any questions for Russia,” Lavrov added.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at press conference that the 70-year-old army official, now retired, is suspected to have begun working with Russian intelligence in the 1990s and carried on until 2018, for three decades.

The public prosecutor’s office in Salzburg province confirmed the colonel is under investigation for the crime of revealing state secrets.

 

 

 

 

Europeans “deeply regret” US re-imposition of sanctions on Iran

We deeply regret the further re-imposition of sanctions by the United States, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA)” – says the Joint statement by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian, Heiko Maas and Jeremy Hunt, and Finance Ministers Bruno Le Maire, Olaf Scholz and Philip Hammond.

“The JCPoA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and of multilateral diplomacy, endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council through Resolution 2231. It is crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world.

“The JCPoA is working and delivering on its goal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed in twelve consecutive reports that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Agreement.

“We expect Iran to continue implementing all its nuclear commitments in full, as set out by the JCPoA.

“The JCPoA also provides for the lifting of international sanctions in order to have a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people. 

“It is our aim to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231.

“As parties to the JCPoA, we have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with Russia and China as participants to the JCPoA and with third countries interested in supporting the JCPoA. These efforts have been intensified in recent weeks, particularly those underpinning the European initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle on which we are proceeding with work to set up. This will enable continued sanctions lifting to reach Iran and allow for European exporters and importers to pursue legitimate trade.

“Further work must be done to assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business under EU law. Our Finance Ministers will further pursue this at their next meeting. Our collective resolve to complete this work is unwavering. 

“We remain committed to implementing the JCPoA as a matter of respecting international agreements and of our shared international security, and expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard.”

“Further work must be done to assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business under EU law. Our Finance Ministers will further pursue this at their next meeting. Our collective resolve to complete this work is unwavering. 

“We remain committed to implementing the JCPoA as a matter of respecting international agreements and of our shared international security, and expect Iran to play a constructive role in this regard.”

Trump points at Europe illegal immigration “mess”

While a flow of migrants in two ‘caravans’ is moving through Central America in hope to settle in the United States, President Trump  has issued a number of messages in his Twitter micro blog. The latest one is addressed to “advocates” of illegal immigration referring to European experience as a negative example. “…Take a good look at what happened to Europe over the last 5 years. A total mess! They only wish they has that decision to make over again”.

The population  left the crime-ridden city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras on 13 October. From there, the migrants walked on foot to Nueva Ocotepeque, and then crossed into Guatemala.

Their aim is to reach the United States where they say they want to start a new life away from the criminal gangs which control parts of Honduras.

But US President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to curb illegal immigration to the US, said he would not let the caravan  cross into the US.

Keeping the promise is essential for reputation of his Republican Party at stake in the forthcoming midterm elections on 6 November.

 

Putin suggests to meet Tump in Paris

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he could meet Donald Trump in Paris in early November at an event commemorating the end of the First World War. It was mentioned in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Moscow.

The possible date is scheduled for November 11.

The visit of  John Bolton to Moscow concluded with press-conference.

EU demands credible investigation of Khashoggi death

“After almost three weeks, facts are finally emerging, confirming that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the premises of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018″ – says the Declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on the recent developments on the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to his family and friends and pays tribute to the memory of this respected journalist who was in direct contact for his work with many European institutions and organisations. We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists across the world.

“The emerging circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s death are deeply troubling, including the shocking violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and particularly its Article 55. 

“Therefore the European Union, like its partners, insists on the need for continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation, shedding proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensuring full accountability of all those responsible for it. The memory of Jamal Khashoggi, the family of the journalist as well as his friends deserve justice.”

Hajiyev:”My wife is targeted in revenge”

This week scandal around the fortune of  the UK resident Zamira Hajiyeva (55), who is wanted in Azerbaijan regarded as a beneficiary of her husband’s fraudulent banking operations, launches an anti-corruption campaign of the British government. While carrying out the first offensive on  “unexplained” wealth”  the UK specialized body the National Crime Agency led by Donald Toon  has prepared  eight other cases for descendants from Russia, ex-Soviet Union and Africa.

Unexplained Wealth Orders have “the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the UK as a destination for illicit income,” Donald Toon, the director for economic crime at the National Crime Agency, (NCA)  said in a statement.

Zamira fled Azerbaijan but she was arrested ‘in absentia‘ on charges of ‘misappropriation of state funds‘ and remains on Azerbaijan’s ‘wanted-list‘. However in a very recent past she had every reason to be proud of he husband.

Heralded for his professional acumen, the owner of the immense fortune, shared with his spouse, Jahangir Hajiyev  was awarded the prestigious Queen Victoria Commemorative Medal and named Best Banker In A Crisis by Europe’s business leaders, for his role in leading Azerbaijan through the 2008 financial calamity.

Hajiyev‘s personal wealth was valued at £55 million in 2011, court documents have revealed. However the star of the banker faded when he was arrested and sentenced in a highly publicized  trial in his native Azerbaijan,  accused of massive fraud, and embezzlement. Oddly, the Azeri government did not not investigate potential criminal activity against the national bank Hajiyev charied, but only against the banker himself, and a small  group of his associates. The systemic violations of laws in Hajiyev trial left many questions unanswered.

Azerbaijan is notorious for its authoritarian rule, manifesting itself in powers concentrated in the hands of the First Family: President Ilham Aliyev who inheritied his position from his father, and his wife, the vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva.  

President Aliyev is using the power of the criminal justice system to undermine his potential challengers and “take the spotlight off of his own crimes’, wrote  Bay Nabiyevan Azeri  lawyer commenting on Hajiyev case in “Jahangir Hajiyev and the Political Dungeons of Azerbaijan” for Medium news.

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed banker from Azerbaijan, is being asked to clarify the sources of her fortune due to a new anti-corruption enforcement scheme designed to target organized crime figures.

Hajiyeva explained that her husband gave her a £1 million plus presents and she received a monthly allowance of £20,000 but she began selling off precious objects at Christie’s, after he was arrested in 2015, court papers have shown.

My husband was in 2009 a man of substantial means. He was very well off when we married in 1997 and has accumulated capital and wealth since the early 1990’s,”  Hajiyeva argued in a witness statement to the High Court. She underlined that her husband entered the service of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) with a considerable personal fortune due to his knowledge and expertise, gaining him prominence in financial sector. He successfully led the largest bank of the country for 14 years, before his resignation, he also hold a position of the Chairman of Baku Stock Exchange.

Back in 2015 Jahangir Hajiyev, in his last word at Baku Court said that bank loans were used for their intended purpose, and income-generating enterprises were opened for these funds. Loans were returned on time. Hajiyev believes that these loans can not be considered as “problematic” because the time for their repayment has not expired. Problems with the return of loans began after his resignation. Hajiyev blamed the failures on Finance Minister Samir Sharifov, because he served as the representative of the Ministry of Finance who is the head of the permanent council of the IBA.

According to banker’s lawyer Fahriddin Mehtiyev, the criminal case against Hajiyev was investigated with gross procedural violations. The lawyer pointed to the illegal methods of the investigation by the Directorate General for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs  of Azerbaijan  systemically breaching the law.

Hajiyev was detained for 38 days in the the solitary confinement, in a gross violation of the Azeri law, said Mehtiyev,  defending the interest of the banker, underlining that all 30 complains against these procedural violations were ignored. The entire court procedure was a sheer abuse of a criminal justice system, or as Georgia Today described it, the case against Jahangir Hajiyev resemble more of a “political score settling”.

They used the financial crisis as an excuse to remove him as CEO of the bank in a manner that ensures that he will never return and challenge their positions of power,” wrote Georgia Today.

“…First Family simply changed the narrative. Not them. Him. Jahangir Hajiyev, who now sits in a jail cell on trumped-up charges in a nation ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world” – writes Bay Nabiyev in Medium, explaining the sudden fall of the most powerful banker of Azerbaijan by his potential to challenge President Aliyev illimited powers.

Jahangir Hajiyev: “Women should not be avenged for their husbands”, the banker said when he had to pay to one of his rivals –Gadji Mamedov – USD20 million to liberate his abducted wife Zamira in 2005.

According to British media Zamira Hajiyev acquired the following:

  • £10 million on Mill Ride Golf Club in Berkshire
  • £31 million on a Gulfstream G550 jet
  • £150,000 on Boucheron jewellery  n a single day
  • £100,000 on Cartier jeweller.

 

Ambassador Nikki Haley resigns

President Donald Trump said he believes Amb. Nikki Haley has helped make the position of UN ambassador “more glamorous” and “more important” and said that “many people” want to succeed her in the post.

I think she’s helped make it a much better position…She’s made it a more glamorous position, she’s made it, more importantly, a more important position,” Trump said. Here is the resignation letter of Amb.Haley:

“Dear Mr. President:

It has been an immense honor to serve our country in your Administration. I cannot thank you enough for giving me this opportunity.

You will recall that when you offered me the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations in November 2016, I accepted the offer based on some conditions. Those conditions included serving in your Cabinet and on the National Security Council and being free to speak my mind on the issues of the day. You made those commitments and you have absolutely kept them all. For that too, I will always be grateful.

We achieved great successes at the UN. We passed the toughest sanctions against any country in a generation, pressuring North Korea toward denuclearization. We passed an arms embargo on South Sudan that will help reduce violence and hopefully bring peace to that troubled country. We stood up for our ally Israel and began to roll back the UN’s relentless bias against her. We reformed UN operations and saved over $1.3 billion. We spoke out resolutely against dictatorships in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and yes, Russia. Through it all, we stood strong for American values and interests, always placing America first. I am proud of our record.

As a strong supporter of term limits, I have long believed that rotation in office benefits the public. Between the UN Ambassadorship and serving in the South Carolina Governorship and General Assembly, I have been in public office for fourteen straight years. As a businessman, I expect you will appreciate my sense that returning from government to the private sector is not a step down but a step up.

Accordingly, I am resigning my position. To give you time to select a replacement, and to give the Senate time to consider your selection, I am prepared to continue to serve until January 2019.

At that point, I will once again become a private citizen. I expect to continue to speak out from time to time on important public policy matters, but I will surely not be a candidate for any office in 2020. As a private citizen, I look forward to supporting your re-election as President, and supporting the policies that will continue to move our great country toward even greater heights.

With best wishes and deep gratitude,

Nikki Haley”

« Older Entries