Tag Archives: Middle East

Italy hosts six million tourists for Christmas

More than six million foreign tourists will visit Italy during the Christmas and New year holidays, according to a new survey. The Centro Studi Turistici poll said foreign tourists would mostly vacation in mountain resorts.

Tourists flows will especially rise from Switzerland, the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand, said the poll of 1,613 tourism operators, commissioned by retail group Confesercenti Nazionale.

Meanwhile some 4.4 million Italians are preparing for departure to pass their holidays abroad, the study said.

Middle East in focus of EU foreign ministers

The Foreign Affairs Council on 27 of February will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

Republic of Moldova

Foreign ministers will exchange of views on the Republic of Moldova. They will focus among others on the implementation of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), the EU’s engagement with the country and future perspectives ahead of the next parliamentary elections.

They may also discuss the country’s role in the Eastern Partnership and engagement in the field of security. The Council will adopt conclusions on the Republic of Moldova after the debate.

Venezuela

Foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Venezuela which continues to be challenging. The Council will have a discussion on the latest developments and ahead of Presidential elections scheduled for 22 April.

Middle East peace process

The Council will discuss the Middle East peace process. Foreign ministers will continue exploring ways to achieve a two-state solution. They may also follow on up on the extraordinary session of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting held on 31 January.

The discussion will also prepare the lunch with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and foreign ministers members of the LAS ministerial delegation on Jerusalem chaired by Jordan (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian Authority). They will discuss ways to revive the Middle East peace process.

Iran to launch new missile line

Tehran announced the launch of a new missile production line, according to state media, amid tension between the United States and Iran.

The Sayyad 3 missile can reach an altitude of 27 km (16 miles) and travel up to 120 km (74 miles), Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan said. (Photo; illustration).

The missile is able to target fighter planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and helicopters, according to the minister.

Recently the United States applied  new economic sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, and blamed to Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undermine any “positive contributions” coming from a 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

Commission proceeds with relocation plans

The European Commission will take a decision next month on any legal cases against countries failing to open doors to asylum-seekers (migrants) as agreed in the EU27, taking a step toward potential punishment for Poland and Hungary. (Illustration: terroristic act in Stockholm).

The European Commission once again underlined that member countries could not avoid solidarity with Greece and Italy by taking a fair share of the asylum-seekers from Africa and Middle East.

The EU27  insistence on distributing the migrants across the Europe is perceived as controversial, and fewer than 20 thousand people have been relocated so far under the two-year plan meant to cover 160,000.

While some EU states have been slow and taking asylum-seekers in reluctantly, Poland and Hungary have refused to obey Brussels orders, insisting on observing Dublin regulation, clearly stating that the refugees should stay in a frist safe country.

The debate illegal mass-migration is increasingly vexed amid a series of terroristic attacks committed by migants, and occurence of no-go zones in European cities.

President Abbas visits Brussels

“…I re-expressed to the President what I often express publicly, also recently, the strong European Union’s opposition to the Israeli settlement policy and demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures. The European Union considers settlements to be illegal under international law and this also has not changed in our policy, “- the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, following her meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“We also discussed the changing international political environment. We exchanged views and feedbacks we had, especially from our recent contacts with the new US administration. I was in Washington exactly one week ago; the President had an important telephone call with President [of the United States, Donald] Trump. And we – at least, I can speak for the European Union but I am sure that I reflect also the President’s view in this respect – welcome the fact that the US administration shows interest in solving the Middle East Peace Process.”

“We agreed to coordinate closely positions, including tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, when I will have the honour to be at the Summit of the Arab League where again we will discuss our common position between the European Union and the League of Arab States on many different issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process…”

A few days earlier President Abbas refused a meeting with Israeli President Rivlin in Brussels.

Lavrov for 'true union' against ISIS

lavrov-munich

“Unprecedented terrorist aggression has been seen in Europe, the United States, and the countries that are our allies under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Asia – all this presents a serious threat to international security”, said Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressing MunichSecurity conference. (The full text of the speech here: http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2086892)

Russian minister expressed concern over the overall degradation of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa after ‘Arab Spring’, and migrant crisis in Europe, pointing at  the threat of terrorism to expand in Middle East, North Africa.

Lavrov claimed a  “certain success” in the fight against ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the other terroristic groups, however he underlined that the international community has failed so far to create a “truly efficient anti-terrorist front”, blaming  “inability” to put aside nonentity matters, and curb geopolitical ambitions.

Lavrov called for a “true union” of the leading nations against international terrorism,  and also to prevent the collapse of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, infiltrated by ISIS, using the lack of unified strategy to their advantage.

 

Stoltenberg: NATO focus on budget

 

jens-stoltenbergSecretary General Jens Stoltenberg press-conference on upcoming meeting of NATO Defense ministers in Brussels HQ, opening remarks:

‘Over the next two days, NATO Defence Ministers will address the Alliance’s response to a more challenging security environment.

This is a pivotal time for NATO. We face great security challenges. But the strength and the unity of our Alliance are greater.

NATO is founded on the bond between North America and Europe, and in good times and bad, that bond has been unbreakable.  We stand together. We defend each other. And that is good both for Europe, and for North America. I’m confident that Defence Ministers at our meeting tomorrow and the day after tomorrow once again are going to reconfirm the enduring importance of the Transatlantic bond.

NATO has responded to global challenges by adapting to meet them. We are now delivering on the decisions we took at the Warsaw Summit in July. We are in the process of deploying four multinational battlegroups to the eastern part of our Alliance to strengthen our deterrence and our defence. We are also stepping up our ability to anticipate and respond to crises in the South in order to project stability in our neighbourhood.

NATO’s continuous adaptation requires responsibilities to be shared fairly among Allies. Fair burden-sharing and increased defence spending underpins the transatlantic Alliance. So we will at our meeting stress the importance of fair burden-sharing and higher defence spending for the Alliance.

After many years with steep cuts in defence spending, we have turned a corner. Today, I can present to you new updated figures for 2016. Defence spending in real terms has  increased by 3.8% among European Allies and Canada. This is significantly higher than what we had originally foreseen. And it amounts to roughly 10 billion dollars more for our defence. This makes a difference but it is absolutely vital that we keep up the momentum.

During this ministerial, we will also focus on the fight against terrorism, and threats stemming from the Middle East and North Africa. NATO is providing support to the Counter-ISIL Coalition and working to train partners like Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia. But we can and should do more.

We will also launch a review of the NATO Command Structure, to ensure we have the right tools to deal with the challenges we face. And we will agree further steps to resist hybrid war fair, hybrid threats, including with strengthened cyber defences.

We will conclude the ministerial with a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission, where we will discuss the security situation in the region and Georgia’s reforms, which are bringing the country closer to NATO.”

14 february 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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