Tag Archives: Donald Trump

EU sets contact group for Venezuela

“On Venezuela: First of all, I have seen a very united position among Member States on a position we have already expressed several times, but it was reiterated strongly today – that is that the Presidential elections that were held in last May in Venezuela were lacking democratic legitimacy”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the first day of informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Bucharest.

“This is why the European Union and its Member States decided not to attend the inauguration of Maduro on 10 January and this is why we underline strongly and all united today our full support to the National Assembly as the democratic, legitimate body of Venezuela and the strongest possible support to its President in its institutional role.

“We have decided the establishment of an international contact group that has been agreed among our Member States and with some Latin American countries that will participate in it. I believe the terms of reference of this international contact group can be made public, as an act of transparency. 

“The objective of this international contact group that will be coordinated by the European Union will be, first of all, to have a limited time framework – 90 days – to promote a common understanding and a concerted approach among key international actors on the situation in Venezuela, aiming at a peaceful and democratic outcome for the crisis. The group will help to build trust and create the conditions that are necessary for a credible process to emerge in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Venezuela, enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future through the holding of new elections, with all guarantees for a free and fair electoral process that can be supervised by international, independent observers. 

“The objective – and I want to underline it very clearly – is not to open a formal mediation process and not to open a formal dialogue, but to support a political dynamic that the group can then further accompany and consolidate.

The group has a clear mandate with different phases and a clear time framework, because the work and the results possibly achieved by the contact group will be reviewed after 90 days of its creation, and it will be terminated in the absence of sufficient progress.

The first meeting of the group shall take place at ministerial level in Latin America – hopefully we will be able to convene it already next week. We will have meetings both at ministerial and at technical level and, as I said, it will have a permanent secretariat for these initial 90 days in the EU. Part of the group will be on the European Union side – obviously, the European Union, but also some of our Member States: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK – and on the Latin American side we already have confirmation from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Bolivia. And we are waiting for confirmation from another few countries of which I would not mention the name today. But hopefully in the coming one or two days I will be able communicate them to you.”

“As you see, it is countries that have different positions and that will help the contact group to have contacts to accompany the process, in particular of new presidential elections” Mogherini concluded.

However not everyone believes the American narrative about Maduro being a tyrant, there are more free voices on social media, accusing Trump administration in seeking control over the largest in the world oil resources.

Armistice 100: Patriotism versus nationalism

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal,” the   President of  France Emmanuel Macron said after paying tribute to the fallen soldiers. one hundred years after the end of the First World War.  Some 70 leaders including Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Angela Merkel celebrated in Paris the commemoration of the Armistice 1918.  However the peace today is threatened according to Emmanuel Macron by the “demons” of the past and a return of nationalism.

At 11:00 am, a hundred years ago to the day, hour by hour, in Paris and throughout France, the bugles sounded and the bells of all the churches sounded,” Emmanuel Macron said in his speech. “It was the armistice, it was the end of four long and terrible years of deadly fighting“.”During these four years, Europe failed to commit suicide. Humanity had sunk into the hideous labyrinth of merciless clashes in a hell that engulfs all the fighters, “added the head of state. “Remember, let us not forget because the memory of these sacrifices exhorts us to be worthy of those who died for us“.

We commit to defending with all means available our common EU values, first and foremost, liberty and peace. This is what patriotism is” said the president of the European Parliament Antonio reacting upon the words of Emmanuel Macron.

‘The longest period of peace in written history in Europe started with the formation of the European Communities” said the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker,  who participated in commemoration ceremony.

 

 

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”

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.

Putin arrived to Helsinki

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin arrived to Helsinki for his bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. Although there is no official agenda, two leaders are expected to cover not only bilateral relations, but a broader range of international issues: conflict in Syria, Donbass, nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA), and North Korean non-proliferation in first ranks. Ahead of the talks between two delegations, Trump-Putin will have a tete-à-tete meeting, where only two interpretors would be present. The press-conference is announced by the end of the Summit.

The expectations of the international community are high, especially for those who live in regions of conflict, wating the superpowers to start a dialogue to release tensions to benefit of all. The relations between Russia and the U.S. are at lowest since the times of Cold War.

The meeting of two leaders in the Finnish Presidentaial palace is expected to start around 13:00 (local time).

NATO tumultuous Summit

Arriving to NATO Summit in Brussels President Trump bitterly criticised European allies for not meeting the two percent spending for defence needs, they signed for as Alliance members. (The VIDEO of President Donald Trump address at breakfast with Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg below).

“I think it is unfair,” Trump said, making clear that unlike his predecessors, he is not only going to talk about it, but resolve the issue. “We can’t put up with it,” he added pointing that the US should not have to pay the biggest share of NATO defence expenditure while Germany – the biggest European economy –  contributes just over 1% of GDP. Germany’s plan to increase its defence expenditure to the NATO target of 2% of GDP by 2030. was not satisfactory Trump said, adding: “They could do it tomorrow.”

However the criticism of the allies did not stop with the budget issue, and President Trump went on, extensively criticizing Germany for trade with Russia, namely for construction of the North Stream 2 pipeline in Baltic sea.

Apparently the international project of direct delivery of cheap Russian gas to Germany via Baltic sea bed would substantially impact the US attempts to sell their expensive liquid gas (LNG) to Europe, the experts say. It will also strip Ukraine from Russian transit gas payments from exploiting  the pipeline system they have inherited, a from the USSR.

“I think it is very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia,” Trump regretted. “We are supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russia”.

“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. I think that is very inappropriate.”

“It should never have been allowed to happen. Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70% of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.”

“You tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not. On top of that Germany is just paying just a little bit over one percent whereas the United States is paying 4.2% of a much larger GDP. So I think that’s inappropriate also.”

The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg attempted to reason President Trump, making his point that “even during the Cold war, NATO allies were trading with Russia.”

However the attempt to call to reason did not impact the fiery rhetoric of President Trump targeting Germany, and defining it as a “captive of Russia“.

Previously the attempts to promote the US liquid gas sales to Europe were undertaken by President Obama, but were declined by the European Union for economic reasons.

Russian company Gazprom underlines that the construction of new pipeline, similar to the one in operation (North Stream) will establish a direct link between Gazprom and the European consumers. “It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe”, the latter is a significant factor for the European economies, which have already been ‘hostages’ to Ukraine-Russia trade arguments, left without gas supplies.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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