Diplomacy

Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem: The View from Beijing

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On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed a declaration that said, “We finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.” By Roie Yellinek BESA In doing so, he overturned the traditional evasion of US presidents of Congress’s 1995 decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem. Trump went on to say: “This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement… The United States remains ... Read More »

Ukraine to file more suits against Russia in The Hague – MFA

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In February 2018, Ukraine will submit to the International Court of Justice a memorandum, which is now being finalized, on Russia’s violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal. UNIAN According to Ms Zerkal, the memo will be submitted within two months, and then the Russians will have another three months to file objections to the jurisdiction (until May 2018). According to the procedure, Ukraine will then have three ... Read More »

Iran Recognizes Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital

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In a symbolic pushback to President Donald Trump’s declaration on the status of Jerusalem, Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to recognize the contested city as the capital of the Palestinians. Jack Moore Newsweek The Iranian parliament voted in favor of a bill that recognized the city as the Palestinian capital, or the capital of the “State of Palestine,” the entity recognized by the United Nations as a member state. Of 290 lawmakers, 207 voted in favor of the bill. Ali ... Read More »

How Hariri fell and survived: The story of his resignation from Saudi Arabia

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Beirut: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was summoned at 8.30am to the Saudi royal offices – unseemly early, by the kingdom’s standards – on the second day of a visit that was already far from what he had expected. Anne Barnard and Maria Abi-Habib Brisbane Times New York Times Hariri, long an ally of the Saudis, dressed that morning in jeans and a T-shirt, thinking he was going camping in the desert with the crown prince, Mohammed bin… But instead he ... Read More »

Sigmar Gabriel: Post-Brexit Britain can be model for Turkey and Ukraine

epa06396772 German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaks during a joint media statement with Regional Kurdistan Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (not in picture) prior to their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 18 December 2017. Gabriel and Barzani met for bilateral talks.  EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

The German foreign minister says: ‘We have to think about alternative forms of closer cooperation’ if full EU membership isn’t an option. By SAIM SAEED Politico The U.K.’s eventual Brexit deal could serve as a model for EU relations with Turkey and Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview published Tuesday. Speaking to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Gabriel said: “If we can get a smart deal with Britain that governs relations with Europe after Brexit, it could be ... Read More »

Iran gradually moving toward resumed military ties with Europe

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Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s relations with Europe mostly remained intact at the economic and at times political level. Saeid Jafari AlMonitor But in terms of military cooperation, there were almost no ties whatsoever. However, the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 created an environment that encouraged Tehran to also push for military cooperation with its European counterparts. Looking back, there have been very few instances in history when the two sides have actually ... Read More »

China would ‘pay a very high price’ if it invades, Taiwan warns

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Mainland affairs minister says Taipei it is cautious and won’t provoke an attack – but it can defend itself; Chang Hsiao-Yueh says also called on the US not to use the self-governed island as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Beijing DANIEL HURST Asia Times A senior Taiwanese minister has declared that China would “pay a very very high price” if it invaded Taiwan. Chang Hsiao-Yueh, Taiwan’s mainland affairs minister, also called on the United States not to use the ... Read More »

Canada expels Venezuela diplomat in tit-for-tat move

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Canada has announced it is expelling Venezuela’s ambassador to Ottawa, Wilmer Barrientos Fernández, and its charge d’affaires, Ángel Herrera. BBC Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the move was in retaliation for the expulsion of its most senior diplomat from Caracas over the weekend Venezuela had accused Canada of meddling in its internal affairs. Canada has criticised the government of President Nicolás Maduro over its human rights record. More than 120 people were killed during months of… Canada expels Venezuela… Read More »

Ten Tips for Israel when Negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World

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When negotiating with the Saudis and their friends, Israel’s number one rule should be to make clear that it will not pay anything for peace. By Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA If the Saudis want to live in peace with Israel, it will extend its hand to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. There is no other kind of peace agreement. If they do not want peace on those terms, then there ... Read More »

Sri Lanka the latest victim of China’s debt-trap diplomacy

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Beijing has been given a 99-year lease on Hambantota port as part of a debt-reduction deal, amid talk of creditor imperialism following China’s buy-up of strategic ports in Piraeus, Darwin and Djibouti. BRAHMA CHELLANEY Asia Times This month, Sri Lanka, unable to pay the onerous debt to China it has accumulated, formally handed over its strategically located Hambantota port to the Asian giant. It was a major acquisition for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – which President Xi Jinping ... Read More »

Egypt denies Russian mediation to restore ties with Turkey

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CAIRO – 24 December 2017: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denied speculations about Russian mediation between Egypt and Turkey, stressing that the Egyptian and Turkish people have many things in common. Nawal Sayed  Egypt Today “Egypt hopes to overcome tensions with Turkey on bases of respect of countries’ sovereignty without interfering into each other’s domestic affairs,” Shoukry told Akhbar al-Youm newspaper on Saturday. Shoukry’s statements come amid several denials made by Egyptian officials, while Turkish officials have reaffirmed hopes to ... Read More »

The Arms Trade Treaty in the Asia-Pacific

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Small steps toward improving a difficult relationship Michael Weiss The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the first multilateral treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms. The Diplomat In this respect, it is a landmark treaty for the international community, focusing on an issue that is of highest importance for many Asia-Pacific countries – trying to find and establish mechanisms to control unregulated flows of arms. Since its entry into force on December 24, 2014, 130 states have signed the treaty ... Read More »

UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

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Waters outside national boundaries are currently unregulated, devastated by overfishing and pollution. 140 countries back the motion to establish a treaty Jonathan Watts The Guardian The world’s oceans are set for a long overdue boost in the coming days as the United Nations votes for the first time on a planned treaty to protect and regulate the high seas. The waters outside national maritime boundaries – which cover half of the planet’s surface – are currently a free-for-all that has led to ... Read More »

Ukraine: Will the Centre Hold?

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Far from the deadly battle against Kremlin-backed separatists in its eastern provinces, Kyiv faces a groundswell of resentment and disenfranchisement among citizens in the country’s west. ICG To restore faith in the state’s laws and institutions, the government must address endemic corruption to win back those in the state’s margins. What’s the issue? While the war in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas rumbles on, the regions of Polissya and Zakarpattya in the country’s west are corroded by systemic state corruption. ... Read More »

New Risks in Libya as Khalifa Haftar Dismisses UN-backed Accord

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Khalifa Haftar, who rules eastern Libya, has dismissed the two-year-old, UN-backed accord about how the country should be run. Issandr El Amrani Haftar’s regional and international partners should act now to mitigate this new risk of escalation over his apparent ambition to rule Libya on his own. ICG Tensions are rising in Libya after the de facto ruler of the country’s east, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, publicly dismissed the two-year-old international deal on how Libya should be governed. To neutralise ... Read More »

2018: the year ahead

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What will be the key trends shaping 2018? The World Weekly zooms in on four global stories to watch next year. The World Weekly The year 2017 brought expected and unexpected change. In the US, President Donald Trump expectedly shook up political traditions, yet America’s separation of powers showed its strength, too. Major tax reform was passed, but legislative and court challenges have hindered many of President Trump’s other initiatives. A special counsel is currently investigating whether the Trump campaign ... Read More »