Tag Archives: USA

Ukraine caught in U.S. domestic debate

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (pictured) said Russia sees “similar symptoms in U.S. attempts to persuade allies… that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs”. Political forces in the United States are trying to use Ukraine to achieve their own goals, Sergei Ryabkov said at the meeting with the participants in the annual scientific and educational program of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

Everything that has been going on recently around U.S.-Ukrainian contacts cannot be considered otherwise than another attempt to use external circumstances for domestic political purposes,” he said. “We see similar symptoms in US attempts to persuade its allies, which defer to Washington’s opinion, that Russia will make attempts to meddle in their domestic affairs.”

Ryabkov has underlined that such accusations have not grounds: “We have proposed more than once to discuss such issues in a calm and professional atmosphere. There are specialists who understand better than diplomats what the use of information and communication technologies for illegal and unacceptable purposes means,” the diplomat underlined.

The Democratic Party of the the U.S. House of Representatives  announced on  September 24  the launch of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The proposal came after reports emerged in the media that Trump had allegedly attempted to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky to take actions, which would help the incumbent U.S. president to get reelected for a second mandate in 2020.

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

New global arms race

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, geopolitician OPINION  The United States, less than a month after its effective retreat on 02 August from the INF intermediate-range missile treaty signed in 1987 (from 500 to 5.500 km), fired an intermediate-range missile off California on August 19 to test this new weapon previously prohibited by the treaty. This new conventional missile is also likely to carry a nuclear warhead. Russia has also permanently withdrawn from the INF Treaty as a reaction to the US decision.

This missile fire reveals the following reality: To be able to launch a new missile, a month after the treaty was released, the United States had begun research on the development of a new intermediate missile, at a time when this type of missile was still banned.

It is surprising that no European member of the EU or NATO has ever stressed this aspect of the INF withdrawal. This way of proceeding reinforces the thesis of those who accuse the United States of having used the pretext of a supposed non respect of the INF treaty by Russia to develop their own missile. Moreover, by unilaterally leaving the treaty, the United States loses a means of pressure against Russia. China, which has not signed any treaty on intermediate-range missiles, is also the target of the United States seeking to maintain its strategic supremacy in Eurasia, from Lisbon to Beijing. China has so far refused to enter into negotiations on a new, larger treaty promoted by the United States that uses escalation as a means of pressure.

As a maritime power unparalleled in the world, the United States is already capable of firing medium-range missiles at Russian and Chinese territories from the sea, while Russia and China, primarily continental powers whose priority is the safety of their terrestrial environment, have so far developed less maritime capacity since their priority is the safety of their terrestrial environment as mainly continental powers. Since maritime capabilities (missiles aboard surface ships, submarines or aircraft) have never been incorporated into the INF Treaty dealing with ground-to-ground and ground-to-air missiles, an asymmetry has always existed in favor of the United States.

It should also be noted that the security environments of the United States and Russia are not comparable. The question of the geographical position of the territories of the United States and Russia is a central element to understand that we can not simply reason in terms of equivalence of armaments. Russia is surrounded in its geographical environment close to many states with increased ballistic capacity.

The territory of Russia is therefore located in a difficult strategic environment in contact with nuclear powers like China and geopolitical rivalries such as the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Far East, while the United States have for neighbors Canada and Mexico. The production by the United States of new missiles in response to the alleged non respect of the agreements by the Russians and the deployment of Chinese missiles does not bring a gain of security to the United States, surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It has no deterrent effect on either Russia or China which must position themselves against other threats from the Eurasian continent. This decision even provides an incentive for the Russians and Chinese to strengthen their own arsenal.

After unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM Treaty in 2002, the US INF Treaty in 2019, the United States also stressed that the 2021 renewal of a nuclear arms reduction treaty, Start II (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in 2012) would not be automatically renewed.

Russia had proposed before the US withdrawal a “moratorium on the deployment of intermediate range weapons”, rejected by NATO. NATO, however, has said it does not want to embark on an arms race and so far refuses the prospect of installing new missiles on European soil.

However, this position is precarious by the risk of escalation between the United States, Russia and China that would make Europeans the losers of a new arms race. The idea of ​​a new European security architecture from Lisbon to Vladivostok becomes even more relevant. Indeed, only a continental negotiation including Russia is likely to restore confidence and more control on this new arms race on intermediate-range missiles that makes no sense for the geopolitical interests of European nations.

Latvian PM shares vision of Future of Europe

The EU needs to strengthen the its core principles, Latvian Prime Ministers Krišjānis Kariņš said in the debate on the Future of Europe, on April 17 at European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

Kariņš suggested four main fields of EU action: completing the Single Market, controlling external borders, undertaking a smart transition towards clean energy and boosting security. “Don’t fight the populists, address the causes of people’s malcontent,Prime Minister said. With people worrying about their jobs, the EU needs to sharpen its main tool for job creation – the Single Market. Europe needs to foster “National Champions” by opening up the Single Market, not embarking on a Chinese way of protectionism. “We need to continue to tear down the barriers to the Single Market. This is what will create more jobs and more wealth in Europe,” he said, singling out digital industry and services as the two main fields of action.

To avoid re-erecting internal borders and allow for an unhindered Single Market, the EU needs to shore up its external borders, control migration and make sure people arriving in the EU accept European values. “It is extremely important to maintain our national identities. Arrivals need to adapt themselves,” Mr Kariņš said, suggesting that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency need to be beefed up further.

“If we truly want to increase the share of renewable energy in our system, we need to open up markets and deregulate prices. Consumer choice is what can best drive energy transition,” the Latvian PM suggested. “By opening electricity markets to competition and market prices, we can greatly increase the uptake in renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency.”

My country spends 2% of its GDP on the military. I believe we all should. But we also need to work on strengthening our information defence”, PM Kariņš said, adding that new legislation could help to hold social media platforms to account for allowing disinformation to spread .

The Prime minister had discussion with MEPs, many of whom knew him as a colleague in the European Parliament.  

However Prime minister has been also confronted with harsh criticism for disparity between his speech and realities.  Lativian MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS raised a range of problems, including double citizenship of Mr.Kariņš, who kept his American passport while being head of Latvian government. MEP Mamikins pointed to the chronic situation of conflict of interests.

Today was the prime Minister of Mr. Kariņas to participate in the ES future debate. The Prime minister spoke of the diversity in Europe and the need to fight dirty money. In return, I offer the prime_minister to look in the mirror”, MEP MAMIKINS said.

Pompeo announces measures against ICC

In view of today’s US announcement, the European Union expresses its serious concern about the measures adopted and reiterates its strong support to the International Criminal Court.

“As the world’s first and only permanent international criminal court for the investigation and prosecution of the most serious crimes, the ICC demonstrates the international community’s resolve to end impunity and to foster a culture of accountability”, the European External Actions Service (EEAS) says.

“An effective Court is an indispensable instrument of the international community to combat impunity and promote a rules-based international order.State cooperation is vital to achieving accountability for the most serious crimes. The European Union and its Member States remain committed to the full cooperation with the ICC to guarantee its full effectiveness and efficiency and expect States to lend the necessary assistance to the Court.”

https://twitter.com/IntlCrimCourt/status/1106625857953632256
“Along with our international partners, we will continue to work towards a shared rules-based global order, with multilateralism as its key principle, and to promote the universality and preserve the integrity of the Rome Statute. We are ready to further engage with both States Parties and non-state parties on these important issues.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US will deny or revoke visas for International Criminal Court (ICC) staff.
The decision it taken to deter a potential investigation by the judicial body into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US troops in Afghanistan.
Mr. Pompeo, speaking from the State Department said the restrictions include “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation.Secretary Pompeo said the policy had already taken effect, but declined to name who had been restricted or would face future restrictions.
Pompeo also warned about potential economic sanctions “if the ICC does not change its course.”
ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah said that the court was aware of Pompeo‘s statement. In a comment he said that the Court is “non-political and an independent and impartial judicial institution crucial for ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under international law.”
“The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its independent work, undeterred, in accordance with its mandate and the overarching principle of the rule of law,” he added.
In November 2017, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought authorization to open an investigation into crimes connected to the conflict in Afghanistan. According to an announcement from the time, Bensouda‘s office “determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe” that members of the US armed forces and the CIA committed “war crimes.” The ICC has not yet made a decision on whether to authorize that investigation.

Batumi port enlargement under fire

Sajjad Karim MEP (UK, ECR),  the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus,  welcomed the development of the Batumi port,  underlining  Georgia strategic situation on the East-West transportation route.

The country has the potential to become an important transportation hub, which would in turn boost its economic growth, including in the Adjaria region“, Karim said.

The impressive economic development of Adjaria is in contrast with the economic stagnation of Georgia’s occupied regions, in particular, Abkhazia, which could have experienced a similar economic development, had it not been invaded and occupied”, MEP continued.

In spite of the overall positive assessment of Batumi  boom in the building sector, contributing to the economy, the Chair of the Delegation has expressed his concerns about  “many accidents – sometimes deadly” which  have happened to construction workers during this period.

“I call on the Georgian authorities to ensure that labour law and safety standards are duly implemented” Sajjad Karim concluded.

The concerns over labor safety are not the only issue, raised by Members of the European Parliament, while evaluating the perspective of the Batumi port enlargement.

The prominent French ecologist, the founder of the independent Commission on Chernobyl disaster Michèle Rivasi MEP (The Greens) considers imperative the launch of an independent research of the impact of the Batumi port enlargement on the environment, and health, but also confirm that the project is profitable.

“It is absolutely necessary that there are consultations with the citizens, and there is an independent research, and upon all these elements the citizens will decide, but it is not up to the gas lobby to decide in the place of the citizens“, – Rivasi explained her vision of the future of the project.

The Batumi port enlargement became a subject to polemics after Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a contract on the construction of a terminal for mineral fertilizers (carbamide) on January 14.  The inhabitants of the area, ecologists, and a member of the Georgian March movement Valerian Meburishvili have been protesting against the construction of the terminal, presuming the project is designed to transport dangerous for people and environment toxic substances, potentially damaging human health, and sea life.

Trammo group (USA) formerly known as Transammonia, Inc. intends to invest $20 million in the construction of the terminal. Transammonia is the world’s largest private company in fertilizer trading.

 

 

 

Russia presumes US intervention in Venezuela

Moscow presumes Washington is preparing a military intervention in Venezuela, Nikolai Patrushev (pictured) the secretary of Russia’s Security Council said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Russia had agreed to a proposal from Washington to hold consultations on Venezuela crisis, but the United States had repeatedly postponed them on “invented pretexts”. The United States show “sarcasm and arrogance towards the Venezuelan people” while it imposes humanitarian aid that will be rejected. Patrushev stressed that the United States, deploying military forces to Puerto Rico and Colombia are preparing an invasion to Venezuela to overthrow legally elected incumbent President Maduro.

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