A senior U.S. official told Reuters Thursday that the alternatives for the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would be worse for Iran. “I think all the alternatives are worse for us. I think they are worse for Iran. And frankly, I think, at the end of the day, Iran will suffer – I don’t know if they suffer more than we will – but they will be in a bad situation,” the U.S. diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
As a radical shift in the Iranian media’s narrative regarding the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is becoming evident daily, IRGC-linked news agency Fars carried an interview with hardline commentator Foad Izadi who dismissed President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks about his success in furthering the negotiations over the nuclear issue. He made the assertion that despite Rouhani’s claim there is no chance to revive the agreement.
The clock is ticking as President Joe Biden welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on Thursday with both hoping to rebuild ties badly frayed under former President Donald Trump.
…but based on preliminary intentions I am aware of in @DHSCgovuk, this will also mandate vaccination for those eg carrying out deliveries/servicing the boilers at such care homes…
Prime Minister says venues with large crowds will be asked to adopt certification ‘as a matter of social responsibility’
Top stories from the Russian press on Friday, July 9th
According to Zarif Biden has agreed to annul these executive order:
13781, 13902, 13876 (Khamenei and his office), 13846 (partially), 13754, 13590, 13622, 13645, 13628
According to Zarif the Biden administration has agreed to suspend these laws:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012
Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (TRA)
Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, (IFCA)
Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)
The United States said on Sunday it carried out another round of air strikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, which killed four people according to Iran-backed militia groups.
The strikes, the U.S. said, were in response to drone attacks by the militia against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has sought to take pressure off the US by saying that it will become “very hard” to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement if negotiations in Vienna continue without progress.
Washington is dragging its feet on removing sanctions despite having declared that it is ready to undo the wrongs of the former Trump administration which abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.
Indirect U.S. negotiations with Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal cannot go on “indefinitely”without success, a senior State Department official said following the completion in Vienna of a sixth round of talks.
“We’ve made progress” and “the Iranians have been serious,” the official said in a briefing for reporters Thursday. “But we do have differences, and if we can’t bridge them in the foreseeable future, we’re going to have to regroup.”
Did the drone strike on the Iranian site – conducted while Israel’s army chief is in Washington – surprise the Americans?
The report, confirmed by administration officials to the paper, said that the Pentagon will withdraw around eight Patriot antimissile batteries from countries including Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. will also reduce the number of fighter jet squadrons in Saudi Arabia, as well as ordering the removal of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, from the kingdom.
Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Jamal Orf said 28.6 million Iranians participated in the election, and with around 90% of the votes counted, Raeisi garnered over 17.8 million votes, followed by Mohsen Rezaei who secured 3.3 million.
Nasser Hemmati garnered 2.4 million votes, and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi won almost one million votes.
Gulf officials worry that they lack the same clout with the Biden administration that they had under Trump. They lobbied to join the Vienna talks, but were rebuffed.
There are no problems at negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal in Vienna, and the work on the final document will resume in the near future, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on the sidelines of the international forum of experts, diplomats, and decision makers Primakov Readings in Moscow on Wednesday.
“It’s one of the fastest negotiations ever between Iran and the Western states,” a European diplomat familiar with the talks told Haaretz.
“If in the past the Iranians submitted each interim agreement for the leadership’s approval in Tehran, a process that sometimes took several days, this time things are being done swiftly. Apparently the Iranian delegation has received wider latitude, but the American flexibility has undoubtedly also contributed a great deal.”
Iranian lead delegate Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the issues that needed resolution were difficult. Araqchi said Iran is standing firm on its position that the US needs to fully lift all sanctions in a verifiable manner before Tehran can take action to come back to full compliance with the JCPOA.
Reports indicate that though the US has agreed to ease sanctions on various sectors like oil and gas, banking, shipping and insurance there are still differences on sanctioned individuals and entities including Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
“All parties to the talks have agreed to lift all major sanctions on oil, petrochemicals, shipping, insurance, the central bank and so on,” he said.
On Wednesday, Enrique Mora, the EU official leading the talks, said that he was confident a deal would be reached as the negotiations adjourned, although European diplomats said success was not guaranteed with very difficult issues remaining.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are due to hold talks on Wednesday night ahead of a possible presidential summit in June in an attempt to improve the dire relations between the former Cold War foes.
Sources close to the US government stated that the restoration of the deal may permit Iran to improve its oil exports as confronting no curbs on its banking system and ports operations, adding that Washington would lift oil, banking, and ports sanctions from Iran to let Tehran resume compliance with the JCPOA.
Vienna, May 3 (IANS) Tehran’s senior negotiator in the ongoing Vienna talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal said that negotiating parties have reached „common ground in many cases“, but there were still differences.
Russia has said it was „optimistic“ of a new deal on Iran nuclear non-proliferation after a meeting of senior officials from China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the UK, the US, and the EU in Vienna on Saturday.
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes last-minute efforts to secure a coalition, right-wing leader Naftali Bennett said „Netanyahu doesn’t have a government, and he’s trying to pin the blame on Yamina.“
Bennett’s remarks at a Yamina faction meeting come moments after Netanyahu said he had told Bennett he would agree to let him serve first as prime minister in a potential rotation agreement, which could end Israel’s ongoing political deadlock.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed Cohen before the meeting.
Cohen also met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Thursday, alongside Israel’s ambassador to Washington, in which the Israeli officials expressed „deep concern“ about Iran’s nuclear activities, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The incident happened days before the Biden administration was to begin indirect talks with Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement, set for Tuesday in Vienna. Former President Trump pulled the United States from the pact, after which Tehran resumed the development of its nuclear program.
„We believe that the nuclear deal is extremely valuable, that it should be maintained and it will correspond with the security interests of all states in the world and in the Middle East region,“ Ulyanov said. „I would say that for sure the nuclear deal is the best guarantee available that Iran doesn’t acquire nuclear weapons, the best guarantee!“
The official had harsh words for the policies on Iran of the previous US administration, headed by the hawkish former President Donald Trump.
Zarif also blames Soleimani for being in cahoots with Russia, which “put all its weight” behind sabotaging the nuclear deal with the U.S. and world powers, as well as allowing Russian fighter jets to fly over Iran for Syrian bombing raids, letting Russia use Iranian airliners to move military personnel and equipment, and deploying Iranian soldiers on the ground in Syria.
The recording, of a conversation in March between Mr. Zarif and an economist named Saeed Leylaz, an ally, was not meant for publication, as the foreign minister can repeatedly be heard saying on the audio. A copy was leaked to the London-based Persian news channel Iran International, which first reported on the recording and shared it with The New York Times.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a meeting to consolidate an Israeli strategy on Iran’s nuclear program given the progress being made among signatories to the deal in talks in Vienna.
According to the official, should Iran engage in serious talks on an improved accord, Israel would share its position on what such an accord should look like. The official further noted that at the meeting, Netanyahu emphasized that Israel was not a signatory to the accord and as such was not committed to it.
An Israeli security delegation due to visit Washington on Monday will not change the Biden administration’s position on rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Friday.
The team of senior officials led by Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat plan to express their objections to the White House, which is currently emerged in indirect negotiations with Tehran in Vienna.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.
The „Cyprus problem is now part of a broader geopolitical context“ of „future relations between the EU and Turkey“, and on gas in the eastern Mediterranean, said Ioannou.
The Lithuanian faction of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party is considering whether to abstain from voting against a government led by Yamina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid, Ynet has learned on Thursday, thus enabling the two to form a government and avoid a fifth election round in just two years.
„From the moment I realized that Netanyahu did not intend to choose one of the two alternatives for forming a right-wing government, I began striving to form a national unity government,“ Bennett wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
„If such a government is indeed formed, all partners must show restraint in their conduct, and perhaps we can bring some peace to the Israeli public.“
A series of widely reported attacks on targets in Iran and Iranian ships that were attributed to Israel reached a peak with the explosion at the nuclear facility in Natanz. Iran’s response was not slow to come this time. Tehran announced that it had begun enriching uranium to a purity of 60 percent, triple its previous level and approaching the level needed to produce a nuclear bomb. That, at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden is putting great effort into indirect negotiations aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Participants will assess current debates about the possibility of the United States rejoining the JCPOA, as well as how to ensure complete and successful enforcement of the JCPOA by all parties.
The U.S. is participating in the talks indirectly.
A shadow war between Israel and Iran hangs ominously over the resumption of critical talks in Vienna on Wednesday, aimed at returning Iran and the US to the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. It will take some time. How long? Nobody knows,” he wrote. “The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is that practical work towards achieving this goal has started.”
Britain, France and Germany are pushing to bring US President Joe Biden’s administration back into the 2015 nuclear deal, after his predecessor Donald Trump’s withdrew and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
The other participants, including China and Russia, are to meet Tuesday in-person in the Austrian capital, with the United States indirectly taking part.
A face-to-face meeting between officials from the two countries over the nuclear agreement would be the first since late 2017, months before the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in May 2018.
Two diplomatic sources said Britain, France and Germany had already held talks with Iran on Monday.
Official final results are not expected before Friday. But the partial tallies suggested that both Mr. Netanyahu’s alliance and its opponents would need the support of a small, Islamist Arab party, Raam, to form a majority coalition.
While some Likud members of Knesset see a potential in the Arab party Ra’am, that managed to reach the threshold, others cannot fathom such cooperation.
United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas said Wednesday that he is not „obligated to any bloc or any candidate,“ after the Islamist party surpassed the electoral threshold, with almost 90 percent of the vote counted in Israel’s unprecedented fourth election in under two years.
The PM is appealing to other leaders in a bid to resolve the crisis without a clash, and he spoke with continental heavyweights Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron last night to try and persuade them to soften their stance. He has also sent Lord Lister, a government ally, to India to ease tensions over the delay to a batch of five million UK-bound doses of the same vaccine.
Ms von der Leyen said Brussels had the right to ban the export of vaccines to the UK. But according to a UK Government official, such a move would be illegal.
The source told the Daily Mail: “The reality is our contract with AstraZeneca is rock-solid and better than the EU’s.
“And we’re only getting what we helped to develop and paid for.”
The rejection came days after President Biden ordered retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday accused Iran of “persistent impunity for human rights violations” in regions including Sistan-Baluchestan.
“In Iran, an apparently coordinated campaign has been targeting minority groups since December, including in Sistan and Baluchestan, Khuzestan, and in the Kurdish provinces,” Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
A ship owned by an Israeli firm, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security firm said on Friday. The current assessment in Israel is that the explosion was a targeted attempt against an Israeli-owned ship by Iran.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei hinted at the likely response when he said that Tehran “can confidently predict that diplomatic initiatives will work well [to achieve] the desired outcome,” adding that the “diplomatic back-and-forths” are “the natural prelude to the return of all sides to commitments including the lifting of all sanctions in the near future.” If his statements reflect Tehran’s official position, then Iran evidently doesn’t intent to await the results of its presidential election in June, but is willing to begin talks now to exploit the momentum Biden has created.
While it was unclear whether the Iranians would agree to join discussions, three people familiar with the internal debate said it was likely Iran would accept. The officials said Iran would probably be more open to a meeting with the European Union, where the United States was a guest or observer, rather than direct formal talks with Washington as a participant.
The moves are a response to proposed legislation that would force social media platforms to pay Australian news organizations for links shared on its sites.
Pathbreaking legislation showed that even a small nation can get the tech giant to bend.
Google has threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia if the government there passes a new law to force big tech companies to pay local news producers for use of their content. The proposed Australian legislation, known as the News Media Bargaining Code, is the first of its kind in the world, and it’s being seen as a test case of the power governments have to regulate big tech firms.
The Middle East Scholar Barometer found that 67 percent of respondents said the foreign policy strategy that was most likely to produce „favorable results“ for the U.S. would be Biden returning „immediately“ to the current Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) before negotiating any other conditions with Iran. Also in the survey, released Tuesday, 75 percent of experts said the U.S. returning to the deal would reduce the likelihood of Iran getting a nuclear weapon within the next decade.
“I am aware that alone a country can be a speedboat, while the EU is more like a tanker,” Von der Leyen said. “Before concluding a contract with a pharmaceutical company, the 27 member states had five full days to say whether they agreed or not.
“This naturally delays the process. Indeed, we must constantly put pressure on ourselves so that each step of the decision-making process is as fast and efficient as possible.
“But I am absolutely convinced that the European approach is the right one. On these vaccines, we worked faster than usual.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), created a joint commission coordinated by the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Below are the responses in full from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to questions posed by Irish Times Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary.
The meeting comes as a row escalates over the supply of its coronavirus vaccine. #sabcnews
Embarrassingly for the bloc, it appears that Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy had originally been looking to do a deal with AstraZeneca in May alongside the UK – but were blocked by the EU, which insisted it take over negotiations.
According to ITV’s Robert Peston: ‚The extra talks with the European Commission led to no material changes to the contract, but wasted time on making arrangements to make the vaccine with partner sites.‘
AstraZeneca says it has not pulled out of talks with the EU on vaccine deliveries, plans meeting later Wednesday.
The cancellation follows an explosive interview with AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot on Tuesday night, in which he insisted the company didn’t have a contractual obligation but rather a „best effort“ to supply the EU with its vaccine.
Instead of the meeting, the company will respond in writing to Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides‘ demand for more information, the Commission official said. AstraZeneca did not immediately confirm this plan.
EXCLUSIVE-ASTRAZENECA HAS PROPOSED TO THE EU TO BRING FORWARD START OF SUPPLIES OF ITS COVID-19 VACCINE TO FEB 7 FROM FEB 15 – EU SOURCES
EU countries learnt late last week that deliveries of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which is expected to be approved on Friday, would be some 60% lower in the first quarter than initially indicated.
There have also been reduced deliveries of a vaccine jointly produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Another Westminster official said: “The efficacy claims circulating in the German media are unsubstantiated and incorrect.”
Speaking to Politico, a third added: “After this, support for Brexit will be at about 90 percent.”
The claims in the German media were made on the same day a row broke out between the European Union and AstraZeneca over supplies of the vaccine to the continent.
Meanwhile, there is another row raging after two German newspapers claimed the EU’s regulator could refuse to give the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab full approval, with officials anonymously briefing its efficacy for pensioners was just eight per cent.
However, the claim was branded ‚absolutely incorrect‘ and ‚unsubstantiated‘ by the pharmaceutical company – and No10 sources told MailOnline it was ‚rubbish‘. One Whitehall source told Playbook it was the kind of tactics ‚you expect from the Russians‘.
You know that AstraZeneca’s vaccine is currently in the final stages of the approval process with the European Medicines Agency.
If all requirements are met, the European Medicines Agency could recommend market authorisation by the end of this week.
But there is a problem on the supply side.
Last Friday, the company AstraZeneca surprisingly informed the Commission and the European Union Member States that it intends to supply considerably fewer doses in the coming weeks than agreed and announced.
This new schedule is not acceptable to the European Union.
n a sign of the EU’s frustration – after Pfizer also announced a temporary slowdown in vaccine supplies earlier in January – EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides proposed forcing drug makers to register in advance their Covid-19 vaccine exports, so the bloc can keep track of what they are doing.
Brazil is set to collect two million doses of Serum Institute’s (SII) Covishield vaccine, two weeks after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their “urgent” clearance, sources confirmed to The Hindu.
STRANDED truckers were ready to roll again last night after shamed French leader Emmanuel Macron was forced to reopen his country’s border with the UK.
He caved in after pressure from Britain and the EU to end a 48-hour blockade imposed amid fears over the new Covid strain.
The agreement requires every driver to have been tested for coronavirus, using controversial lateral flow tests, which are able to turn around results in under an hour but have had their effectiveness questioned.
Those who come back negative will be told by text message in as little as 20 minutes, and be given the green light to hit the road and head over to the continent, but positive cases will be sent to a hotel to isolate.
Von der Leyen spoke by telephone to Johnson on Monday night to discuss a way forward and further calls are expected in the next 24 hours, but the commission refused to offer details.
Barnier said as he went into a meeting with EU ambassadors: “We are really in the crucial moment. We are giving it the final push. In 10 days the UK will leave the single market and we continue to work in total transparency with the member states right now and with the parliament.”
The Nuffield Trust thinktank stated: “The perilously uncertain future facing the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period could put the UK’s health and care system at risk.”
The report said new migration rules, possible disruption to medicines and devices, an ongoing economic slowdown and barriers to science investment would hit the health sector.
The warning came as a negotiated Brexit deal looks increasingly unlikely and Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the new variant of coronavirus as being „out of control“.
The teams led by the chief UK negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, were expected to continue talks on Monday despite the European parliament’s notice that it would not vote on a deal if not secured by midnight on Sunday.
Brussels had been accused of trying to force the UK to sign up to its rules.
The EU wanted the power to unilaterally apply tariffs on UK goods if they felt British firms had an unfair advantage over those on the continent due to a divergence in laws and regulations.
Commenting on a proposal by European People’s Party group leader Manfred Weber that decisions on issues concerning the rule of law should be left up to the European Commission while disputes should be settled by the Court of Justice of the European Union, Orbán said: “Everyone’s talking all kinds of nonsense and this is also true for Mr. Weber.”
“We’re not stupid, we weren’t born yesterday . we can put two and two together,” the prime minister said, insisting that Weber’s proposal meant that the EU wanted to “force anything onto member states that can be painted as a rule of law issue with a simple majority vote”.
Speaking during a working visit to Prague, where he met Czech President Milos Zeman, Duda said: “There is a preliminary agreement drawn up. Work on it is still underway.”
He added: “The agreement is the result of very strenuous efforts by Poland, Hungary but also the German presidency” of the EU.
It follows her dinner with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday night, after which the pair agreed trade talks should continue despite „major differences“ remaining between the two sides.
Ms von der Leyen on Thursday outlined four areas – air connectivity, aviation safety, basic road connectivity and fisheries – where short-term agreements could be made in the absence of a trade deal on New Year’s Day.
Supported by other leaders, President Emmanuel Macron wants an independent Britain to obey future EU regulations — and be fined if it doesn’t.
Do they expect Boris Johnson to cave in during the next 24 hours? If so, they are tragically mistaken.
Time is running out to reach a deal before 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.
The pair will hold talks over dinner, after negotiations between officials ended in deadlock.
The announcement is evidence of some much-needed goodwill as the sides seem deadlocked on fishing rights, state aid rules and enforcement.
It effectively means all the ‚loose ends‘ left to be resolved after the divorce agreement are tied up.
However, the broader standoff shows little sign of easing ahead of a crucial face-to-face meeting between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, with the EU trolling that it is ready to negotiate again next year after no deal chaos.
One measure in the House version of the NDAA would amend Section 127e of the U.S. Code — Support of Special Operations to Combat Terrorism — to include reporting on the entities with which foreign forces receiving U.S. support are in hostilities, whether those entities are covered under an existing authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), and steps taken to ensure that such support is consistent with U.S. objectives. It would also require a description of the steps taken to ensure that recipients of this support have not engaged in human rights violations or violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Other groups on the left were thinking about joining the call for Feinstein to step down but held off after Schumer’s office put out word that the Democratic leader was working on the situation, according to sources familiar with the haggling over Feinstein’s future.
The Afghan government and the Taliban have resolved key sticking points that had stalled peace talks for weeks, several sources told AFP on Friday, clearing the way for negotiations to move forward.
At a virtual summit of EU leaders Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo both called on their colleagues to make contingency plans in case talks to sign a trade and security agreement fail, according to two people with knowledge of the discussion.
The EU is facing a crisis after Hungary and Poland vetoed the bloc’s historic €1.8tn (£1.6tn) budget and coronavirus recovery plan over attempts to link funding to respect for democratic norms.
The move unravels months of negotiations over the scale and terms of the EU’s spending and sets the stage for a stormy videoconference meeting of the bloc’s leaders on Thursday.
As the Brexit process reaches crisis point (again), the real issue is not ‘Carrie v Dom’, but elite domination or democracy? Is Johnson prepared to stick to his guns and see through the clean-break Brexit we voted for? Or is he getting ready to give in to the demands of the Remainer establishment and the EU? Brexit is far bigger than the survival of Boris and the Downing Street pecking order.
Self-isolation is intended to reduce the spread of Covid. But Boris’s decision runs totally counter to logic.
He continued: „Dom Cummings‘ presence at the centre of the government’s policy programme gave Brexiteers confidence that Brexit would take place in a meaningful way.“
Instead, he warned that the loss „makes post-Brexit Britain more likely to be very similar to a Britain inside the EU, and possibly worse“.
The two sides are in a race against the clock to settle their future economic partnership in time for it to take effect on 1 January, when the UK will leave the EU’s single market and customs union.
The Prime Minister will speak with Ursula von der Leyen later today to discuss the state-of-play in the deadlocked trade talks. The move comes after Lord Frost, Mr Johnson’s chief negotiator, was in Brussels to speak face-to-face with his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier earlier this week.
The meeting comes barely two months after the meeting of military intelligence chiefs from Rwanda and Burundi that was held at the same border post. It is the first of its kind since 2015 when the ties between the two countries became deteriorated after Burundi accused Rwanda of hosting and supporting perpetrators of the 2015 coup plot against then Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Hekmatyar arrived in Islamabad on Monday on a three-day visit at the invitation of Qureshi to discuss Pakistan’s role in the peace process and bilateral relations.
The UN Security Council discussed the need to ensure verification of a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Monday after a closed-door meeting on the disputed region
‘They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is completely unacceptable to an independent country.
‘And since we have only 10 weeks until the end of the transition period on January 1 I have to make a judgement about the likely outcome and to get us all ready.
Britain’s chief negotiator said he was „disappointed“ that European Union leaders dropped their commitment to intensified trade negotiations at a Brussels summit on Thursday night
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is acting as a neutral intermediary in transporting the former detainees.
Mr Gove said the Internal Market Bill was one of several steps taken „to ensure this country is not held hostage in a negotiation process, but that we honour the vote people made in 2016 and again in 2019 to ensure we are properly independent“.
He added: „No one will be happier than me if we can conclude an agreement but we have an absolute obligation to ensure the country is ready in the event that we don’t.“
Negotiators from Russia and the United States have met in the Finnish capital for a new round of arms-control talks as the two powers‘ last remaining bilateral nuclear arms pact is due to expire early next year.
Following their conversation on Saturday, the pair have tasked their chief negotiators with working “intensively” to resolve the remaining differences in the post-Brexit trade talks.
Fishing rights, state aid and governance continue to be vexed issues between the two sides as they look to ratify a new trading relationship before the transition period ends on December 31.
The two leaders are to speak on Saturday to discuss the „next steps“ following the conclusion of the final scheduled round of formal negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal in Brussels.
The announcement of the video conference call prompted speculation that they could be preparing to launch a final series of intensive talks – dubbed „the tunnel“ – in a last push for an agreement.
Mr Gove is meeting European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic to discuss implementation of the Brexit divorce deal.
And on Tuesday formal negotiations will resume as the two sides attempt to agree a post-Brexit trade deal.
The Brexit legislation enabling Boris Johnson to alter key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement cleared a major Commons hurdle on Tuesday night….
Dubai-based logistics and maritime services giant DP World (Dubai Ports World) has signed a collaboration agreement with Israel Shipyards Ltd., controlled by Shlomi Fogel, Sami Katsav, the Schmeltzer family and the Gold Bond Group (itself controlled by Fogel and the Schmeltzer family),
Representatives from Greece and Turkey are due to meet at NATO headquarters on Tuesday for technical military talks in a bid to de-escalating tension
Boris has, in effect, created our very own backstop.
Oh the irony.
1. Bob Neil
2. Geoffrey Cox
3. Simon Hoare
4. George Freeman
5. Tobias Ellwood
6. Damian Green
7. Damian Collins
8. Sir Oliver Heald
9. Sir Roger Gale
10. Gary Streeter
11. Rehman Chishti
12. Jack Lopresti
13. Sajid Javid
14. Charles Walker
15. Jeremy Wright
16. Andrew Mitchell
– Sajid Javid and Geoffrey Cox have both said they cannot support PM’s proposal
Watch the House of Commons from 2:30pm on Monday as three days of intensive debate and scrutiny on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill begins.
Published last Wednesday, the Bill sets out rules for the operation of the UK internal market- trade between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland- after the end of the transition period in January.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad arrived today to discuss the matters related to Afghan peace talks with the Pakistan leadership, Geo News reported Monday.
BUSINESS OF THE DAY
1. United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: Second Reading
Until 10.00pm (Standing Order No. 9(3))
Europe’s refusal to offer its neighbour and security ally even a bare-bones trade deal is a hostile posture that has consequences
The former leaders, both vehement opponents of Brexit, said that respecting treaty obligations was „just as important“ as domestic law, and called for MPs to reject the legislation.
„As the world looks on aghast at the UK – the word of which was once accepted as inviolable – this government’s action is shaming itself and embarrassing our nation,“ they added.
Major Yemeni tribes, previously sponsored by Saudi Arabia waging a devastating war on the impoverished Arab country, have signed a non-aggression agreement with fighters from the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement in the strategic central province of Ma’rib.
“I warmly welcome the announcement regarding commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations on 12 September 2020. Finally, our combined efforts have brought forth the day that the Afghan people have been yearning for,” Prime Minister Khan said.
We decided in the Withdrawal Agreement to create a Joint Committee, in which we would thrash out the details of these new arrangements. It is here that things risk coming unstuck. We are now hearing that unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish sea. We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.
I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be willing to use a Treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade one part of the UK, to cut it off; or that they would actually threaten to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the UK. This was for the very good reason that any such barrier, any such tariffs or division would be completely contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday agreement. By actively undermining the Union of our country, such an interpretation would seriously endanger peace and stability in Northern Ireland. This interpretation cannot have been the real intention of those who framed the protocol (it certainly wasn’t ours) – and it is therefore vital that we close that option down.
He wrote: “We are now hearing that, unless we agree to the EU’s terms, the EU will use an extreme interpretation of the Northern Ireland protocol to impose a full-scale trade border down the Irish Sea.
“We are being told that the EU will not only impose tariffs on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but that they might actually stop the transport of food products from GB to NI.
PM defends decision to alter Brexit divorce deal, saying he cannot hand Brussels the ‚power to carve up our country‘
But when the Zoom call attended by 256 MPs suddenly broke off after twenty minutes, the online forum descended into chaos as MP Michael Fabricant started singing Rule Britannia, clutching a piece of paper with the words already printed out.
After months of worsening tensions on their contested Himalayan border, India and China surprised many by announcing that troops are to quickly disengage.
The joint announcement followed a marathon meeting between Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow.
If realized, a peace deal would be the first time in generations that a new form of Afghan government was not being established at the point of a gun: The current model was ushered in by the American invasion that toppled the Taliban’s harsh Islamic regime in 2001, and each previous one back to the 1979 Soviet invasion was set off by coup, collapse or conquest.
Rabat – The delegations of the Libyan High Council of State and the Parliament of Tobruk have reached an agreement after five days of talks in Bouznika, Morocco.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the two parties announced that they reached a comprehensive agreement on the criteria, mechanisms, and objectives for “assuming positions of sovereignty,” according to Morocco’s Foreign Ministry.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 10, 2020.
Even if the UK leaves without a deal, the Northern Ireland protocol would kick in.
The Northern Ireland protocol replaced the NI backstop created as part of Theresa May’s deal.
The protocol is due to come into force on January 1, 2021, the end of the transition period.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave for Doha, Qatar, on Thursday night for the start of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, President Trump announced.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove will meet EU official Maros Sefcovic in London to discuss how the development could affect the island of Ireland.
We are now entering the final phase of our negotiations with the EU.
The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too. There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year. So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.
We will then have a trading arrangement with the EU like Australia’s.
An angry official hit back: “The government is completely committed, as it always has been, to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol in good faith.”
A new law will be published this week that sets out Britain’s position — with No10 arguing it had to come this week in order to get through Parliament by December.
The standoff turned nasty yesterday as Brussels voiced fury at UK threats to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement thrashed out last year. Legislation would unilaterally ‚clarify‘ key parts of the settlement, including customs rules for Northern Ireland, that the EU insists should be resolved by a joint committee.
Despite Mr Barnier warning that step would end hopes for a trade deal, the PM’s chief negotiator Lord Frost increased the temperature again today, demanding ‚more realism‘ from the EU that the UK was now a sovereign country.
The UK ‚cannot compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country‘
– Boris Johnson says there is ’no sense‘ in faltering trade talks after October 15
– He says he won’t compromise on UK’s freedom to set own laws and fish in waters
– Mr Johnson insists a No Deal departure would still be a ‚good outcome‘
– Is is also reported today the UK could tear up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement
– Such a move could be seen as ‚bad faith‘ by the EU, lowering chances of a deal
– Lord Frost warned Michel Barnier that the UK would not become a ‚client state‘
– He said EU needs to realise PM’s Government is adopting more steely approach
– Comments come ahead of Barnier’s arrival in London for a fresh round of talks
A Government source said: „The EU must also realise that we are serious about leaving with an Australian-style trading relationship and reclaiming our independence as a sovereign nation if we cannot find acceptable terms.”
The Pentagon on Friday reaffirmed its decision earlier this year to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon.
„After a round of talks, mediated by the Qatari representative, Mohammed al-Emadi, an understanding has been reached to avoid an escalation and stabilize the situation. Several projects were announced that will serve and alleviate the situation for our people in Gaza, given the coronavirus crisis that has struck us,“ a statement from Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar’s office said.
The UAE and Israel wish to express their gratitude for the overwhelmingly positive response to this historic accord from governments around the world. They are especially grateful to President Donald J. Trump for his leadership and to his administration for the critical role it has played in achieving this diplomatic breakthrough. They are also greatly encouraged by the broad bipartisan support for this breakthrough from the United States Congress.
The first official flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) landed Monday in Abu Dhabi, carrying an Israeli-American delegation to advance the landmark peace agreement between the two Middle Eastern states.
Leading the historic occasion, special White House advisor Jared Kushner addressed reporters at the airport promptly after landing, as Arab media televised the event under the title “Message of Peace.”
VIENNA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) — The United States and Russia will start the second round of nuclear disarmament talks here on Monday.
Russian and U.S. officials have begun a third round of nuclear arms-control talks in the Austrian capital as the end of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Treaty (New START) looms.
The two-day meeting in Vienna is led by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vienna on Friday to discuss developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dendias will also meet with Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg,
The new resolution is almost identical to one the U.S. circulated in June, signaling the Trump administration is unwilling to make changes suggested by allies and opponents on the Security Council.
U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft acknowledged Tuesday that Russia and China are likely to veto any resolution
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal two years ago but his administration argues it retains the right to invoke the “snapback” of U.N. sanctions because it is a council member. Others disagree.
Hook did not give a reason for leaving, although he has young children and was frequently away from home on travel. He had just returned to the U.S. from an extended trip to the Middle East and Europe during which he tried to drum up support for the Iran arms embargo extension.
QUESTION: So tomorrow and August 9th marks 75 years since the United States unleased the first atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So could you tell us your opinion on nuclear arms control, including the future of the New START Treaty between U.S. and Russia?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So President Trump, literally since I first met him, first in my role as CIA director and now as Secretary of State, has made clear one of his top priorities is ensuring that we don’t have a really bad day in the world as a result of a nuclear weapon being used, and so we have worked along multiple fronts. For example, we left the INF Treaty because the Russians weren’t complying with that and that was – that had the risk of being destabilizing, because when you have an arms control agreement and only one of the two parties is complying, you have created strategic risk.
But in the last handful of months, we’ve been working diligently to get the three nations that have the largest nuclear capabilities – the United States, Russia, and China – to have a strategic dialogue about how we move forward together to decrease the risk to the world that these massive weapons are used, and we’ve made progress with the Russians. We’ve had two good gatherings; I hope we’ll have one before too long. And we are hopeful that the Chinese will choose to participate. We think it’s in their best interest. We know it’s in the best interest of the world. And for nations that assert they want win-win solutions, that they want good outcomes, that they want to be a player on a global stage, they now have moved to a point where they need to, like the United States and Russia, be prepared to engage in conversations about how you create a strategic situation that reduces the risk that nuclear weapons will be used at any time or any place anywhere in the world.
That evaluation has turned into a delicate process with Russia, with high-level and working-level meetings taking place in Vienna to see if New START can be salvaged. Officials from both countries met again at the end of July in Austria’s capital, while China — which the US wants involved to discuss limiting its nuclear and missile capabilities, even though it isn’t a party to New START — didn’t show up.
A U.S. delegation of staff members from the departments of State, Defense, Energy, and the National Security Council will hold a U.S.-Russia Space Security Exchange in the Austrian capital on July 27, U.S. State Department said in a statement.
Johnson’s government has pleased President Donald Trump’s administration in recent weeks as it blocked telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co. and took action over Hong Kong, but has stopped short of the kind of sanctions imposed on individuals and companies by Washington. While Pompeo’s goal is not to ask for more, according to people familiar with his plans, the MPs will try to get him to carry their demands to his meeting with Johnson.
The U.S. welcomed the U.K.’s announcement in July that it would remove Huawei from its future telecommunications infrastructure.
The U.K. will eliminate Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network by 2027, after pressure from Sino-skeptic lawmakers and U.S. politicians.
“We convinced many countries…not to use Huawei,” U.S. President Trump said after the U.K. announced the removal.
according to dips
Now, I’m not implying Trump is some kind of hippy peacenik. (He would look atrocious with no bra and flowers in his hair.) No, the military under Trump has dropped more bombs than under Obama, and that’s impressive since Obama dropped more bombs than ever before.
However, in certain areas of the world, Trump has threatened to create peace. Sure, he’s doing it for his own ego and because he thinks his base wants it, but whatever the reason, he has put forward plans or policies that go against the military industrial complex and the establishment war-hawks (which is 95 percent of the establishment).
Former US national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday said Israelis should be worried about US President Donald Trump winning a second term in office.
„I describe in the book how eager he was to have a meeting with the Iranian leadership, whether Rouhani or Khamenei. Are the Iranians prepared to sit down for talks to get relief from the sanctions, to buy time so they can push forward their nuclear program? Sure, they’re willing to do that,” said Bolton, in an interview to promote “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.”
“Just as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un played Trump all along, I worry that in a second term, the Iranians might be able to do the same with Trump. That to me is a danger.”
Netanyahu made the comments shortly after wrapping up talks with White House envoy Avi Berkowitz and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The sides have been holding talks for several months on finalizing a map spelling out which areas of the West Bank will be annexed by Israel.
„I spoke about the question of sovereignty, which we are working on these days and we will continue to work on in the coming days,“ Netanyahu said.
The offer, according to the paper, would upend a rotation agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz for the premiership as stated in their coalition agreement signed earlier this year.
Likud party officials insist it would be „unreasonable“ for Netanyahu to honor the agreement – which allows Gantz to become Prime Minister in November 2021 – due to his politically weakened position, according to a string of national polls.
As the city budget process begins, Streetsblog has been asking Council members to put an actual figure on their vague demands for cuts as part of the #defundTheNYPD movement, but none has provided a target number, citing ongoing budget negotiations.
Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel expressed concern about the escalation of hostilities in Libya and emphasised that a speedy ceasefire and launch of intra-Libyan negotiations under the auspices of the UN were essential. The Russian side gave a positive assessment of Egypt’s mediation efforts to peacefully settle the Libyan crisis, following on from the decisions of the Berlin International Conference held on January 19 of this year.
Key aspects of developments in Syria, including those related to the humanitarian needs of the population of the republic, were also discussed.
As of Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu and his coalition partners haven’t completed talks on ministerial appointments, some of which would only apply to the first half the government’s term, before Gantz is set to take over as prime minister in a year and a half.
Long time Netanyahu loyalist and Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi as well as Likud MK Avi Dichter, tenth in the list, decided to boycott the swearing-in ceremony given that Netanyahu did not offer them posts in the new government.
Washington’s reversal came a day after it agreed to the text, negotiators said under cover of anonymity.
A staunch supporter of Israel, Pompeo will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist rival turned partner Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on May 13, the day the government is expected to be sworn in.
Israel’s withdrawing from the West Bank city of Hebron is an absurd proposition tantamount to the idea of the United States abandoning the Statue of Liberty, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Israeli media Friday.
Speaking to Israel Hayom, Friedman stressed the importance to Israel of Jewish communities outside the large settlement blocs in Area C of the West Bank, which is widely expected to remain under Israeli control.
The parties also decided that emergency orders instated to fight the coronavirus pandemic would not extend beyond six months.
The bill known as the „Norwegian law,“ which allows any Member of Knesset (Israel Parliament) appointed to a ministerial post to temporarily resign from the legislative chamber, will reportedly be dropped.
European Union leaders are expected to clash over the size and scope of a coronavirus recovery fund as they stand on the precipice of an economic slump unparalleled since the 1930’s Great Depression.
– Only credit lines (#loans)
– No mutualised debt (#Eurobonds)
– No currency issued to countries (#monetary #sovereignty)
– Free money for financiers, not the real economy
– Skyrocket the #debt/#GDP ratio => more #austerity soon.
Short thread, based on chats 1/
Last week, exasperated by the back-and-forth that has paralysed the council, including between China and the United States, nine of the 10 non-permanent members formally requested a meeting featuring a presentation by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Eurogroup is trying to find a compromise between Italy, France and Spain, on the one hand, who want ‚coronabonds‘, and northern deficit hawks like the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland who advocate the use of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), rejecting any mutualizing of debt.
The two sides have been speaking in recent days over Skype, officials have said, as the coronavirus pandemic has curbed international travel.
Pompeo will meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival, ex-Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who also proclaimed himself president after results of the September vote were published with a months-long delay.
The Kabul-Taliban prisoner swap, which is one of the steps outlined in the Doha agreement will allegedly be at the top of the agenda,
CureVac said on its website that CureVac CEO Daniel Menichella met with President Trump and Vice President Pence earlier this month to discuss a coronavirus vaccine. The CEO said at the time he was “very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months.”
According to a statement from Netanyahu’s bureau on Friday morning, the premier stressed to Gantz during their nighttime meeting that „terror supporters“ cannot be part of said government, neither in normal circumstances nor in emergency.
The comment seems to be implicitly refering to members of the Arab-majority Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset, which Netanyahu heavily vilified during Israel’s numerous election campaigns over the last year.
Talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the European Union over the fate of refugees in his country ended in failure Monday with no clear agreement over what should happen next on an issue that has further strained relations.
Kahol Lavan confirmed Sunday night that party representatives were in contact with Yisrael Beiteinu and the Joint List over efforts to form a minority government with their support.
A source in Kahol Lavan said nothing will be said to the media “until it’s certain and finalized.”
The Joint List of Arab Israeli parties will meet Sunday to discuss the matter of recommending Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz to form Israel’s next government, as well as whether to back a bill that would prevent a criminally indicted candidate from receiving such a mandate.
„Agreed. We need to move forward,“ Gantz tweeted in response a list of demands that the Yisrael Beiteinu leader listed earlier Sunday in a Facebook post.
EU TO HOST SYRIA DONOR CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELS ON JUNE 29-30, WILL ALSO INVITE GOVERNMENTS INVOLVED IN CONFLICT – BORRELL
#Ankara #Greece #Idlib #Erdogan #Europe
Fighting in the northwest has triggered a humanitarian disaster and brought Russia and Turkey closer to war
Britain will begin preparations to leave the EU without a trade deal in just four months if Brussels has not agreed to its key demands by then.