Tag Archives: Washington DC

UK government opposes II Brexit referendum

The idea of a second Brexit referendum is very likely to be voted again in Westminster although the government remains opposed to the second plebiscite on the same issue of leaving the European Union, the British finance minister said.

I remain optimistic that over the next couple of months we will get a deal done,” he told reporters in Washington where he is attending meetings at the International Monetary Fund.

Philip Hammond said he hoped parliament would break the Brexit deadlock by passing a deal by the end of June, potentially ending the calls for a new referendum, and there was a “good chance” of a breakthrough in talks with the opposition Labour Party.

NATO celebrates anniversary in April 2019 in Washington

NATO Foreign Ministers concluded two days of meetings in Brussels on Wednesday (5 December 2018), focused on issues including the INF Treaty, the Sea of Azov, the Western Balkans, Afghanistan, and the Alliance’s new training mission in Iraq.

The Foreign Ministers of the nations contributing to the Resolute Support Mission, met today in Brussels to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability in Afghanistan.

“We express our utmost appreciation for the crucial contribution of the men and women serving in our Resolute Support Mission and in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. We pay tribute to those who have lost their lives or have been wounded in support of a better future for Afghanistan” the statement of the Foreign ministers said.

We reaffirm the decisions taken at our Summit in July 2018 on our continued support to Afghanistan, and we recall Afghanistan’s commitments, including to continue on the path to reform covering, inter alia, the promotion of human rights, good and inclusive governance, and combating corruption”- the Ministers confirmed.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Foreign Ministers will next meet in Washington in April 2019, marking 70 years since the Alliance’s founding. He added that Allied leaders will also meet later next year.

Moscow accuses Washington of violation of international law

Washington has violated international law regarding Russian diplomatic missions in the US, the Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a protest note filed to DC.

The ministry expressed “protest at the continued violation of international law by the US with regard to” Russian diplomatic missions and consulates in the US, according to a statement on its website.

The complaint concerns Russian diplomatic properties in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as in the states of Maryland and New York.Moscow said that the “negative consequences” undermine not only US-Russian relations, but also “the principles of the sovereignty of states and international cooperation.”

Moscow said that it has a right to take “additional countermeasures” against US diplomatic property on Russian soil if the US “continues violations” against its facilities.

In a separate statement, also released on August 17 the Foreign Ministry  urged the UN Secretary-General to look into the matter.The relevant letter to Antonio Guterres was sent on May 18, the ministry said.

The diplomatic argument between Moscow and Washington dates back to December 2016, when on New Year’s Eve, the outgoing Obama administration expelled Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland.

Image: Moscow sunset

 

 

Trump-Juncker launched trade talks

President Donald Trump said the United States and the European Union were launching talks aimed at lowering trade barriers as officials looked to head off a trade war.

“This was a very big day for free and fair trade, a very big day indeed,” Trump told reporters at the White House after meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“We are starting the negotiation right now but we know very much where it’s going,” Trump said.

“We will also work to reduce barriers and increase trade in services, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical products, as well as soybeans; soybeans is a big deal,” he said, adding that Europe would also step up purchases of liquefied natural gas from the United States, building relevant infrastructure.

Trump declined answer on Crimea

Fortnight ahead of the Summit with Russia, President Donald Trump has declined to rule out recognizing Republic of Crimea as a part or Russian Federation.

Asked by reporters on future of Crimea Trump was very laconic, and said: “We’re going to have to see.”

Trump declined to reveal his position on possible development of relations between two countries when asked whether he would consider “lifting  sanctions on Russia” which were imposed in response to “annexation of Crimea”. The President said the meeting is aiming at improvement of bilateral relations, which are at a post-Cold War low. “We’ll see what Russia does,” Trump said.

Trump-Putin meeting takes place on the 16th of July in Helsinki, Finland, according to Russian diplomats the preparations are on the way.

May “caving in” to Brussels’ demands

Janice ATKINSON, OPINION

The first stage talks on Brexit concluded with Theresa May caving in to Brussels’ demands: more ECJ rule (for at least eight years), complying with single market and customs union rules in a transition period of somewhere in the region of two years.  Careful not to give an end date for the UK to end the transition period, this means the UK has uncontrolled immigration for at least another two years and the unacceptable ECJ having judicial supremacy over British courts. This is not what the UK voted for.

 Back in Blighty, Mrs May seems to have grown bolder, although still not committing to an end date for transition, she stated yesterday in Parliament that we would be leaving the single market and customs union during the transition.  The trouble is, we just don’t believe her and neither do the Brexiteers in her cabinet.

 I was in Washington when President Trump announced that the US would be moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.  I really do not understand the uproar, from the UN, the EU and the UK, surely he’s just implementing what other presidents have been saying would happen for the past twenty years, as in his election promises?

But that’s the problem, he’s delivering on jobs, the wall (nearly), economic growth and the travel ban.  That’s what the other politicians particularly dislike:  delivering your promises to the electorate.

Moscow protests against FBI searches in its US missions

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned a US envoy in Moscow to protest against Washington’s plans to conduct searches in Russia’s trade mission in Washington.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement, Anthony F. Godfrey, a deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, was summoned and given a note of protest regarding the planned “illegal inspection” of the buildings of Russian mission.

The statement denounced the plan as an “unprecedented aggressive action,” which might be used by the US special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by “planting compromised items.” (In tweet below the images of empty rooms of Russian trade mission in Washington before the FBI search).

The premises of Russian Consulate and  trade missions are ordered to close by a given deadline of September, 2.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the American special services were also getting prepared for searches in its San Francisco consulate.

HE Antonov – Russian Ambassador to USA

A deputy minister of foreign affairs of Russian Federation His Excellency (HE) Anatoly Antonov (62) is appointed as a new ambassador to the USA, the news announced via the site of Kremlin. Antonov candidacy has been approved by the Council of Federation, the upper chamber of the parliament.

 

In Russia Antonov is well-known public figure,  being systematically involved in debate on military and political issues, he also took part in numerous scientific and analytical conferences. Antonov was responsible for establishing contacts between Russian Defense Ministry and the military departments of foreign countries, while working as a deputy minister of the Defence ministry (since 2011).
In connection with the coup-d’état in Ukraine, and return of Crimea to Russia, in February 2015 his name was included in the sanctions lists of the European Union and Canada, in September 2015 – in the sanctions list of Ukraine.
On December 18, 2016, by a decree of the President of the Russian Federation, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in charge of issues of military-political security.
On May 11, 2017, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted Antonov’s candidacy to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to consider the appointment to the post of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States. The appointment was approved by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Antonov will replace Sergey Kislyak (66), who held the position for eight years, which is not exceptional in Russian civil servant’s system, where notion of rotation is rather vague. However Kislyak’s replacement is not occurring in overdue of his mandate, but the  investigations by the FBI and Congress into Kislyak’s contacts with Trump aides during the 2016 election campaign.

 

Moscow to Washington – ‘quid pro quo’

Kremlin has been actively preparing a response to the highly probable sanctions from the US awaited by the end of this week. According to Kommersant newspaper sources, the Foreign Ministry suggested the Russian authorities seizure of  the summer residence of the American Embassy in woodland ‘Serebryany Bor’ (‘Silver forest’), situated on artificial island of Moskwa river, and their storage facilities. This will be a symmetrical response to the arrest imposed on Russian diplomatic property in the US by the previous administration.

In addition, 35 American diplomats can be expelled from the country – the same number of staff of the Russian Embassy in Washington was ordered to leave the US in December last year. Also, the Russian side is considering the possibility of limiting the maximum number of employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, currently exceeding the number of Russians in the embassy in Washington.

“Kommersant” also describes possible asymmetric economic measures.

Kremlin can create complications for the United States in the UN Security Council, where the States are seeking to increase pressure on North Korea.

Moscow’s economic sanctions against Washington can be expressed in direct circumcision of trade turnover, restrictions on the work of American companies in the country and some form of withdrawal of investments already made by them in Russia.

Possible restrictions on the part of exports from Russia to the United States may be quite sensitive, but with no less serious adverse effect.

Kommersant points out that the United States has been critically dependent on deliveries of a Russian enriched uranium product for its nuclear power plants over the last decades. Since 2015, the supplies have gone through direct commercial contracts with US energy companies and Russia has received a quota of 20% of the market. The possible halt of supplies will hurt both sides: the US will have to seek replacement of the Russian deliveries in the market with a small number of players, and Russia to quickly find a replacement for American buyers.

Another double-edged area is the supply of titanium. The US remains the main export market for Russian VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest titanium producer operating in business with aerospace companies around the world. In 2016 the country provided the company with 32% of shipments and 48% of export sales. It is Russia that covers more than a third of the needs of the aircraft-building  Boeing.

Even stronger economic impact can be caused by the limitation of the work of American companies in Russia. They are most widely represented in the consumer market and in IT.  Moscow has already successfully tested in the case of Europe. American Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the absolute leaders in the production of soft drinks: companies in Russia have their own plants for the production of soda and juices. No less popular in Russia are American IT companies Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. Also, the ban can affect the pharmaceutical  market.

The US Congress announced that the upper house – the Senate – could vote on the draft law on sanctions until the end of this week.

Russia warns about retaliation on US sanctions

Russia warned  about the retaliation on  new U.S. sanctions package against Kremlin approved by the House of Representatives  unanimous vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Russian appeared in the same context as Iran and North Korea, indicating the further degrade of already suffering a serious setback bilateral relations.

“.. In fact, further degradation of bilateral cooperation is becoming inevitable,” -Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian Foreign Relations Committee and member of the ruling United Russia party, said on his Facebook page.

Russia was responded with the warning  after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on Moscow and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers’ permission before easing any sanctions on Russia.

Moscow had initially hoped that President Trump administration would work to repair a relationship which has degraded to a post-Cold War low under President Obama administration, but has experienced a disappointment as allegations of anti-Russian campaign, launched by the US Democrats after losing the elections, have been winning grounds.

The allegations of Moscow interfered with last year’s U.S. presidential election and concerns over Trump associates’ Russia ties have confused the initial plan of a ‘restart’ with a new administration according to the to President Trump election promises.

Russian have been firmly denying any interference  in the US elections campaign supporting Trump against Clinton.

“These developments have no reference to common sense, – the deputy Minister of foreign affairs Sergey Ryabkov commented in a Tweet (see below). – The authors and sponsors of these measures make a serious step towards destruction of perspectives of normalisation of the relations with Russia”.  (Photo: illustration).

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