Category Archives: International

Armenian diplomat accuses Turkey

Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said Yerevan is totally committed to “strictly peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.
The Minister reminded in an interview to French news Channel, that there is an internationally agreed, internationally mandated format – the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship which comprises France, the United States, and the Russian Federation.

“We are totally committed to this process, to resolve the conflict strictly through peaceful means, and a solution, resolution which is based strictly on a compromise, a solution which is acceptable, in the words of the Prime Minister of Armenia, to the people of Armenia, people of Nagorno-Karabakh, people of Azerbaijan. What we have unfortunately been dealing with is the absolutely maximalist position of Azerbaijan which denies any recognition of the interest and concerns of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and its authorities and the people of Armenia. The maximalist position has been rejected and remains rejected. We are prepared for compromise. However, this massive escalation is bringing in a new situation we have to deal with”.

The Minister added later to another TV channel – Al-Arabya – that “Turkey has positioned itself in very aggressive way against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. We have been receiving disturbing reports about recruitment of terrorists from areas, which are controlled by Turkey in Syria.”

Taking into consideration the destructive role of President Erdogan in Nagorno-Karabach conflict, Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders, who is the Chairman of the Party for Freedom, has launched a call to end Turkey membership in NATO.

Navalny assassination Europarl resolution

In a Resolution adopted on September 17 with 532 votes in favour, 84 against and 72 abstentions, Parliament strongly condemns the attempt to assassinate prominent Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.(Image: illustration, European Parliament, Brussels)

The text notes that the poison used, belonging to the “Novichok group”, can only be developed in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals, which strongly implies that Russian authorities were behind the attack. Should someone else, nevertheless, be found responsible, it would still be a clear breach of Russia’s international legal commitments, according to the text.

MEPs underline that the attempted assassination of Navalny was part of a systemic effort to silence dissident voices in Russia, in particular with a view to influencing Russia’s local and regional by-elections on 11-13 September. His case is only one element of a wider Russian policy focusing on oppressive internal policies and aggressive actions worldwide, notes the text.

The resolution asks for an international investigation into Navalny’s case and the alleged breaches of Russia’s international commitments in the area of chemical weapons to be launched immediately, while urging the Russian authorities to fully cooperate with such an inquiry and to hold those responsible to account.

It also calls on EU member states to take an active stance on the matter such as swiftly putting in place ambitious restrictive EU measures vis-à-vis Russia and strengthening already existing ones. The text urges the deployment of sanction mechanisms that would allow the European assets of corrupt individuals to be collected and frozen in accordance with the findings of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that certain political forces in the EU are boosting an information campaign aimed at making sure that Brussels won’t reverse its destructive policy towards Moscow.
The idea of naming the European Union’s new human rights sanctions after Alexey Navalny is aimed at directing the restrictions against Moscow, the diplomat said at a briefing on September 17, commenting on EU top diplomat Josep Borrell’s recent initiative.
“We view initiatives on naming new EU sanctions after Navalny as an overt attempt to direct them against Russia,” she concluded.

“We expect that common sense will prevail in the European Union, so that our partners will abandon the practice of passing the buck randomly and will draw conclusions only from documented facts in the future,” the Russian diplomat concluded.

EU-Turkey Mediterranean de-escalation

The recent withdrawal of the research vessel Oruç Reis is an important step paving the way for a meaningful dialogue between Greece and Turkey. The EU also calls for a similar decisions as concerns Cyprus. Turkey’s announcement on Tuesday of the extension of the Navtex for the Yavuz drilling vessel will fuel further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean at a moment when there is an opportunity to pursue immediate de-escalation, and resume dialogue and negotiations, which is the only path towards lasting solutions” reads the European External Action service Spokesperson Statement on the exploration activities in Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said seismic vessel Oruc Reis was pulled back for its periodical maintenance, howeveer Greece can turn this into an opportunity for talks in eastern Mediterranean row.

Neighbours in Mediterranean, both NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to extract potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

Turkey’s navy had issued an advisory earlier this month saying the vessel would continue operations in the area until September 12. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had confirmed that it would continue exploratory operations for longer but no extension to the advisory was issued as of noon.

Borrell:”Navalny sanctions”

We continue calling on Russia to investigate this crime through a fully transparent procedure, under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We can expect that the poisoning of Mr [Alexei] Navalny will have an impact on European Union-Russia relations. We are going to discuss that in the next Foreign Affairs Council” said the head of the EU diplomacy, addressing the European Parliament plenary debate.

Some of you talk about the possibility of this affecting Nord Stream 2. Once again, this is something that is outside of the possibilities of the European institutions. What I can tell you is that the European Commission has never shown a lot of enthusiasm about this pipeline, which from the Commission we have been considering as not a relevant priority infrastructure. But it is something that is up to the Member States that have been pushing for this infrastructure to be built. As I said, there is the scepticism of the Commission, which has never shown strong support for it“.

“Finally, about the possibility of sanctioning Russia with a kind of “Magnitsky-style” [human rights sanctions] regime: When I took office, I immediately launched [negotiations for] a global human rights sanctions regime, which has been discussed once again at the last Foreign Affairs Council. [There are] continued discussions in the Council. The legal acts are currently being drafted.

“I hope that what has happened to Mr Navalny will represent an encouragement for Member States to stop discussing and start acting and approving this human rights sanctions regime that, in the same way that the Americans call it the “Magnitsky Act”, we could call it the “Navalny sanctions regime”. This could be a good way of taking stock of what has happened and keep in the records for the future the name of Mr Navalny associated to a sanctions regime for people who violated human rights”.

EU-China Summit: «agree to disagree»

«I’m pleased that we could speak by video conference with President Xi, together with Ursula (von der Leyen) and Angela (Merkel). Unfortunately, our physical meeting in Leipzig wasn’t possible» said Charles Michel, the Euroepan Council president after the meeting.

«Europe needs to be a player, not a playing field. Today’s meeting represents another step forward in forging a more balanced relationship with China.

«We strive for a relationship that delivers on our mutual commitments. That generates concrete results for both sides. Results that are also good for the world. In some areas, we are on the right track. In others, more work needs to be done.

«We made it clear where we stand. Where we agree, and where we disagree. Real differences exist and we won’t paper over them. But we are ready to engage. Ready to cooperate where we can, and ready to roll up our sleeves to find concrete solutions. And on those difficult issues, we conveyed a clear and united European message: we want a relationship with China that is based on reciprocity, responsibility, and basic fairness.

Today we addressed 4 key topics:
1. Climate change
2. Economic and trade issues
3. International Affairs and Human Rights
4. COVID-19 and economic recovery

«China is a key global partner in reducing global greenhouse gas and tackling climate change. And we encourage China to be even more ambitious. The EU is setting the bar high — carbon neutrality by 2050. And we count on China to show similar leadership by implementing the Paris Agreement. We have a robust trading relationship with China. The EU is China’s first trading partner. On average we trade over 1 billion euros a day.

Trade can energise our economic recovery. But we want more fairness. We want a more balanced relationship. That also means reciprocity and a level playing field. That’s why we welcome today’s signature of the Agreement on Geographical Indications. It’s a big step in the right direction. We are working on a comprehensive investment agreement and concrete results in other important areas.

And in the digital domain, we defend our vision of a free, open and secure cyberspace. For the good of our people and our societies. As global players, the EU and China have global responsibilities. This means upholding the rules-based international order.

The national security law for Hong Kong continues to raise grave concerns. The EU and our Member States have responded with one clear voice. Democratic voices in Hong Kong should be heard, rights protected, and autonomy preserved. We called on China to keep their promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community.

We reiterated our concerns over China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the treatment of human rights defenders and journalists. We asked for access for independent observers to Xinjiang and we called for the release of the arbitrarily detained Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and two Canadian citizens.

We agreed to discuss these issues in detail at the Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing later this year which will also include, we hope, a field visit to Tibet.

We called on China to refrain from unilateral actions in the South China Sea, to respect international law, and avoid escalations.

Covid-19 remains a deep and urgent threat. Only collective and transparent action will send this virus to the history books. There is only one way to find a vaccine and deploy it in all countries … that’s global cooperation.

We expect all countries, to cooperate with the impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international health response to COVID-19, and support the WHO to identify the source of the virus.

We encourage China to pursue an economic recovery that leads to structural reforms and that shapes a greener, more sustainable economy. This includes implementing the G20 Action Plan to drive sustainable global growth and reduce global tensions. And in Africa, China should be engaged in multilateral efforts on debt relief that will spur economic recovery.

En conclusion, nos discussions aujourd’hui ont été extrêmement importantes. Nous mesurons bien que parler, dialoguer est important mais cela ne suffit pas, il s’agit de transformer nos messages en actes.

Nous sommes déterminés à continuer à être engagés avec la Chine pour promouvoir nos valeurs, pour défendre nos intérêts. Nous voulons une relation équilibrée, fondée sur le respect pour les intérêts mutuels.

Nous considérons que la réciprocité, la transparence doivent être au cœur de l’engagement porté par l’Union européenne. »

MEPs «disappointed» by Internal Market Bill

The UKCG and the EP political group leaders issued the following statement after meeting with Chief EU Negotiator Michel Barnier and Joint Committee Co-Chair Maroš Šefčovič, on Friday, September 11,202O.

“The European Parliament’s UK Coordination Group (UKCG) met today to assess the impact of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement with EU-UK Joint Committee Co-Chair Maroš Šefčovič and to evaluate the ongoing negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

“EP political group leaders and UKCG members are deeply concerned and disappointed that the UK Government published an Internal Market Bill that clearly represents a serious and unacceptable breach of international law. It violates the Withdrawal Agreement that was signed and ratified by the current UK Government and Parliament less than a year ago. The Internal Market Bill gravely damages the trust and credibility that the European Parliament has already said is “an essential element of any negotiation”, thus putting at risk the ongoing negotiations on the future relationship.

“The European Parliament supports EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič in asking the UK government to withdraw these measures from the bill immediately; by the end of September, at the very latest. The European Parliament’s UK Coordination Group stresses that:

“the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, has legally binding force regardless of whether or not the EU and the UK conclude any new treaty governing their future relationship; and

any issue regarding the implementation of its provisions should be addressed by the Joint Committee and in no case unilaterally by any party to the agreement.
The European Parliament expects the UK government to uphold the rule of law and demands nothing less than the full implementation of all provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, which is essential to protect the Good Friday Agreement and peace and stability on the island of Ireland.

Should the UK authorities breach – or threaten to breach – the Withdrawal Agreement, through the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in its current form or in any other way, the European Parliament will, under no circumstances, ratify any agreement between the EU and the UK.

Regarding the outcome of the eighth negotiating round, the European Parliament remains committed to an ambitious partnership with the UK. We are disappointed with the continued lack of reciprocal engagement from the UK side on fundamental EU principles and interests.

The European Parliament calls on the UK to work with the EU constructively and find compromises that are in the interests of our citizens and companies on both sides. Any potential deal should not only preserve our interests, but also respect the integrity of the European Union and its single market.

For any deal to take effect, democratic oversight institutions on both sides of the Channel must be able to carry out a meaningful assessment, as stated in the Withdrawal Agreement. The European Parliament recalls that its consent to any deal will only be granted after detailed scrutiny of the legal provisions. The European Parliament will not accept having its democratic oversight curbed by a last-minute deal beyond the end of October.”

Signed by EP group leaders:

Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)

Iratxe GARCÍA PEREZ (S&D, ES)

Dacian CIOLOŞ (Renew, RO)

Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE) co-chair

Ska KELLER (Greens/EFA, DE) co-chair

Raffaele FITTO (ECR, IT) co-chair

Ryszard LEGUTKO (ECR, PL) co-chair

Martin SCHIRDEWAN (GUE, DE) co-chair

Manon AUBRY (GUE, FR) co-chair

and by the UK Coordination Group:

David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), chair

Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE)

Nathalie LOISEAU (Renew, FR)

Christophe HANSEN (EPP, LU)

Kati PIRI (S&D, NL)

Kris PEETERS (EPP, BE)

Pedro SILVA PEREIRA (S&D, PT)

Morten PETERSEN (Renew, DK)

Gunnar BECK (ID, DE)

G7 condemns «hideous poisoning» of Navalny

‘We, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the confirmed poisoning of Alexei Navalny” reads the statement, referring to the chemical attack on Russian opposition leader, and fierce critics of President Putin. Navalny was airlifted upon wish of his family to Berlin for treatment from Omsk hospital in Russia, where he received urgent medical assistance.

“Germany has briefed G7 partners on the fact that clinical and toxicological findings by German medical experts and a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces have determined that Mr Navalny is the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group, a substance developed by Russia. Mr Navalny is in intensive care in a Berlin hospital and remains in a serious condition. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and we hope for his full and speedy recovery.

“Any use of chemical weapons, anywhere, anytime, by anybody, under any circumstances whatsoever, is unacceptable and contravenes the international norms prohibiting the use of such weapons.We, the G7 foreign ministers, call on Russia to urgently and fully establish transparency on who is responsible for this abhorrent poisoning attack and, bearing in mind Russia’s commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention, to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“This attack against opposition leader Navalny is another grave blow against democracy and political plurality in Russia. It constitutes a serious threat to those men and women engaged in defending the political and civil freedoms that Russia herself has committed to guarantee. We call on Russia to fulfill its commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to guarantee these rights, including the right to freedom of expression, to its citizens.

“We will continue to monitor closely how Russia responds to international calls for an explanation of the hideous poisoning of Mr Navalny. We remain strongly committed to our support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia and to bolster our support to the Russian civil society.

Michel calls for conference on East Mediterranean

The EU continues relentless efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece over gas and oil exploration. On Sunday, September 7, in the afternoon, the President of the European Council Charles Michel had a telephone conversation with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the mounting tensions in the region.

According to an EU official, Michel stressed the importance of de-escalation the conflict, and called on Turkey to refrain from activities that fuel the tensions. He pointed out that the EU is in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, adding that the EU wishes to have a constructive relationship with Turkey.

Further, EU Council President called September European Council meeting, which will discuss the situation in the Mediterranean and the whole scope of EU’s relations with Turkey. In that respect all measures, called “sticks and carrots” will be considered.

Michel has also called for multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean in a view to find peaceful and negotiated solutions, with a clear goal to listen and call for “dialogue as the only way to resolve current disputes”. Michel will remain in contact with all parties.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in an increasingly belligerent dispute over gas and oil in the region since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month.

They will understand that Turkey has the political, economic and military strength to tear up immoral maps and documents,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, referring to contested areas claimed by Greece and Cyprus as their exclusive economic zones.

The EU strategy to establish dialogue between opponent so far remains unchanged, and is perceived with tenacity from the beginning of the argument between Greece, Cyprus, and the EU candidate country – Turkey.

EU condemns Novichok attack on Navalny

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny“,read the text of the Russia: Statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny addressed to Russia.

“The toxicological analysis carried out by a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces proves that Mr Navalny was poisoned by a military-grade chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group, developed by the Soviet Union and later, Russia. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and a breach of international law.

“It is essential that the Russian government investigates thoroughly and in a transparent manner the assassination attempt of Mr Navalny. Alexei Navalny’s case must not go unresolved. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

“We are grateful to the staff of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin for their treatment of Mr Navalny and wish him a prompt and full recovery.The European Union will continue to closely follow the issue and discuss its implications”.

EU supports OSCE mediation in Belarus crisis

The EU Foreign ministers have been addressing the situation in Belarus during their meeting in Gymnich informal format which took place in Berlin for two days August 27-28.

«The European Union does not recognise the results of the election and considers the actions of the authorities unacceptable» said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at concluding press-conference.

«We, once again, express our fully support to Belarus’ sovereignty and independence, condemn the violent repression of the Belarusian people and we ask the authorities to engage in an inclusive dialogue to move out of the crisis.

«The important things in concrete terms: First, Belarus being a member of the OSCE, we think that the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office’s proposal to visit and facilitate a dialogue should be accepted by the authorities. As the European Union, we support this in any way we can.
There was political agreement among Ministers to designate selected individuals responsible for the fraudulent elections in Belarus and for the subsequent crackdown under the existing Belarus sanctions regime. These designations shall include individuals at the high political level.

«Now, the detailed list and the respective legal acts will be prepared by the competent Council Working Groups in the coming days with a view to be adopted [by the Council] as soon as possible.
With regard to that, I have just received a letter signed by 11 members of the Council asking to do it as soon as possible, and pressing for quick decision-making. But we have to do that according to all the legal procedures.

«Finally, we push for a national dialogue that is the only way to see democracy and fundamental freedoms respected in Belarus».

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