Diplomacy

UN panel urges UK and Sweden to end Julian Assange’s ‘deprivation of liberty’

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UN working group on arbitrary detention says WikiLeaks founder should be offered compensation for being confined to Ecuadorian embassy The Guardian – Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent @owenbowcott The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden since he was arrested in London in December 2010, according to aUnited Nations report. As anticipated, the finding by the Geneva-based UN working group on arbitrary detention criticises legal action against Assange by both European governments and blames them for ... Read More »

Assange says he will accept arrest if UN panel rules against him

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, and accept arrest on Feb. 5 if a UN panel investigating his case rules against him, he said in a statement. Hurriyet – SYDNEY – Reuters Assange, 44, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape in 2010 which the Australian denies. “Should the U.N. announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United ... Read More »

United Nations panel could rule in favour of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

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London ends 24-hour guards at Ecuador embassy Assange could soon be questioned after Ecuador-Sweden deal London: The outcome of a United Nations investigation into the case of Julian Assange is set to be revealed and could rule that the WikiLeaks founder is being detained illegally. The Sydney Morning Herald Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three years and has been granted political asylum by the Ecuador government. The Australian is wanted for questioning in ... Read More »

Don’t Let Greek Pensions Threaten the Euro

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Greece is a small country, but for much of 2015 its problems were big enough to threaten the survival of the euro system. Bloomberg View – By Editorial Board Editorials are written by the Bloomberg View editorial board. Read more. A year after Alexis Tsipras took charge as prime minister, the government seems committed to meeting the obligations demanded by its creditors in return for further aid. Neither side should allow the remaining sticking point — pension reform — to ... Read More »

Greece, Cyprus, and Israel Bearing Gifts

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Some developments in international affairs occasion no surprise. The American Thinker By Michael Curtis The announcement on January 28, 2016 by the military wing of the terrorist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, that seven of its members were killed when a tunnel, which they were repairing in order to attack Israeli civilians, had collapsed reminded the world that Islamist terrorism continues. The eagerness of European countries to make business arrangements with Iran illustrates that the supposed concern for ... Read More »

Israel hits back at France over threats to recognise Palestinian statehood

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for a more “sober” approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in dismissing a French peace initiative as only encouraging Palestinians to shun compromise. The Age – Jeffrey Heller * The proposal on Friday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for an international peace conference was the latest sign of Western frustration over the absence of movement toward a two-state solution since the collapse of US-brokered negotiations in 2014. Mr Fabius said that if ... Read More »

To Fix the South China Sea, Look to Taiwan

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Washington must stop ignoring Taipei. The National Interest – Michael Mazza Outgoing Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou’s controversial trip to Itu Aba—the only island Taiwan controls in the South China Sea—has drawn a sharp rebuke from Washington. The spokeswoman for the American Institute in Taiwan, the unofficial U.S. embassy, expressed disappointment following the announcement of the visit, condemning it as “extremely unhelpful.” While the State Department may be right to suggest that the visit “does not contribute to the peaceful resolution of ... Read More »

Should armed groups allied with al-Qaeda be included in Syria peace talks?

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No concessions to al-Qaeda allies at Geneva talks Al-Monitor Author: Week in Review Summary: Our answer is no; Erekat’s “main priority is not to allow IS to raise its flag in Palestine”; Turkey responds to Biden with fake news. In a potentially encouraging sign, the High Negotiations Committee, the Saudi-backed Syrian umbrella opposition group, has agreed to attend the UN-mediated Geneva peace conference. The committee is saying, however, that it will not meet with the government delegation until the Syrian military ceases ... Read More »

Israel gains strategic depth in Eastern Mediterranean

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The Trilateral Declaration between Cyprus, Israel and Greece issued in Nicosia on January 28 at a summit meeting of the three regional states shifts the tectonic plates in the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean. Asia Times By M.K. Bhadrakumar The Declaration agreed between the president of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras commits the three countries “to strengthen the cooperation… in order to promote a trilateral partnership in different fields of common ... Read More »

Erdogan eyes expanding Turkey influence on Latin America tour

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Ankara (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday embarks on a major tour of Latin American countries in a bid to expand Ankara’s ties outside its traditional sphere of influence. Yahoo! – By Fulya Ozerkan His visits to Peru and Ecuador are the first-ever by a Turkish president and the stop in Chile is the first since late president Suleyman Demirel travelled there back in 1995. Regional and international issues will be on the agenda during talks with ... Read More »

A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s Views on the Kurds

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Opinion This week I participated in the 12th International Conference on the European Union, Turkey and the Kurds. Rudaw – By DAVID ROMANO While I naturally got to hear a lot of great speeches from people I admire very much, some of the things people said stayed in my mind more than others. I thus wanted to share with readers some of things that Jose Ramos-Horta, former president of East Timor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, had to say regarding the ... Read More »

Syria peace talks: is there hope for the opposition?

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“The last round of talks ended in acrimony—and opposition negotiators will be feeling a sense of déjà vu.” Prospect Magazine  by Tim Eaton As the Syrian conflict edges towards entering its sixth year, the numbers are bleak. Over 250,000 Syrians are estimated to have been killed and 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 4.3 million have fled the country. As international attention intensifies on the diplomatic efforts to achieve peace this week, the tide has turned against ... Read More »

Belgian Minister accused of saying “let them drown”

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The Belgian Minister would prefer Greece to become Europe’s “waiting room” The Greek Deputy Immigration Minister, Ioannis Mouzalas, told BBC’s Newsnight that the Belgian interior minister told him on Monday’s Council in Amsterdam that Greece should “push” migrants “back in the sea.” New Europe – By NEOnline | IR Furthermore, Mr. Mouzalas suggests that Theo Francken told him to “drive them back into the sea; go against the law; I’m sorry, but I do not care if they drown.” Francken also ... Read More »

Can Russia Survive Cheap Oil?

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The Kremlin must contend with the collapse in energy prices. The National Interest Nikolas K. Gvosdev Eight years ago, Senator John McCain declared that Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s administration, could only afford to be a major player in world affairs as long as energy prices remained high. In 2016, his thesis will be tested. With oil prices dipping below the $30 per barrel mark, and with Russian companies like Lukoil warning that prices might hover in the low $20s range—on ... Read More »

Taiwan leader defends disputed island visit after US criticism

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Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou defended his visit to a disputed island in the South China Sea on Jan. 28 despite criticism from the United States and protests from the other claimants as tensions swirl in the region. Hurriyet – TAIPEI – Agence France-Presse Taipei insists Taiping Island in the Spratlys is part of its territory, but the chain is also claimed in part or whole by Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. “We have the same general direction as the U.S. ... Read More »

British government makes U-turn over resettlement of Syrian children

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Home Office announces it will take in vulnerable minors already in Europe following calls from politicians and charities The Guardian – Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic editor Britain will take in unaccompanied Syrian refugee children who are already in Europe, the government is to announce, and will set aside a new £10m fund to support vulnerable migrant children. It is the first time the UK has agreed to take Syrian refugees from within Europe and follows calls from charities and politicians for the ... Read More »