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Posts Tagged ‘Meeting’

Russia, China veto western-backed Syria resolution at UN Security Council

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 20, 2012

Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that threatened Syria with more sanctions.

­It was the third time in nine months that Russia and China used their powers as permanent members of the 15-nation council to block resolutions on Syria. There were 11 votes in favor of the resolution. Russia and China voted against it, while South Africa and Pakistan abstained from voting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting ready for the Big One: Japan chooses disaster-alternative capital

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 16, 2012

The skyline of Osaka, Japan (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)

The skyline of Osaka, Japan (Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)

The Japanese government is considering unparalleled counter-measures to withstand the inevitable earthquakes and tsunamis awaiting Japan in the future. Experts propose preparation of emergency government offices in the country’s five major cities.

One of the main anti-earthquake emergency measures proposed by the Central Disaster Prevention Council is a recommendation to be ready to transfer central government offices, as well as the Bank of Japan and other facilities, in case Tokyo is devastated by a tsunami. The country’s major cities, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Sendai are recommended as suitable substitutes because they already have some governmental facilities and branches of the Bank of Japan, Kyodo reports.

A draft report prepared by the Council says a natural disaster damaging administrative, economic and political functions of the central government would “affect our country’s future.Read the rest of this entry »

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West clings to Arab influence with airstrike democracy – Putin

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the West for clinging to its influence in the Arab world under the guise of “humanitarian operations.” He dubbed western involvement in Arab affairs as the export of “rocket and bomb democracy.”

At a meeting with top Russian diplomats Putin said that certain countries will do anything to retain the influence they have become accustomed to in the Arab world.

He stressed that western nations often adopt a one-sided policy in Arab affairs that violates international law.

“We must do everything in our power to coerce the opposing forces in the Syrian conflict into coming to a peaceful solution,” underlined the Russian President.

Citing the importance of an active dialogue in Syria, he said “this is, of course, a more complicated and delicate task than just barreling in with military intervention.”

Putin added that only a diplomatic solution could lead to long-term peace and stability in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2012

The Syrian crisis is to be resolved by a transition government consisting of the current authorities and opposition leaders. The proposal was announced by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan after talks in Geneva.

The unity government should be formed on the basis of “mutual consent” said Annan. The Syrian-led transition should take place within a fixed period of time and the envoy hopes this may happen by the end of the year.

Annan, announcing the official communiqué of the international meeting in Geneva, called on the Syrian regime and opposition groups to re-commit to a ceasefire and to start implementing his six-point peace plan immediately, without waiting for the other side.

The plan urges the sides in the Syrian conflict to cooperate with UN observers, allow humanitarian aid delivery, release detainees and grant journalists access to the country. The right to peaceful demonstrations must also be respected, stressed Annan.

Prior to the conference, Annan had proposed a plan for a unity government in Syria excluding political figures that would compromise the country’s stability and effectively calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow refused to back such a condition and also made sure the plan brokered in Geneva would not require Assad to step down.

Kofi Annan also said that foreign ministers who took part in the conference in Geneva would make up a regular working group on the Syrian crisis. A new round of Syria talks may take place in Moscow, suggest diplomatic sources.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud) Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin signs new anti-rally bill

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)

                                                                       Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi)

The Russian President has signed the much disputed set of amendments to the administrative code that increase the fines for illegal rallies 150-fold and introduces more regulations over street protest.

Putin announced that he had signed the bill as he spoke at the conference dedicated to the development of the Russian court system. The head of the Russian state told the justice officials that they “should apply the new law in such a way that it does not limit the citizens’ right for expression over any issue of internal or external politics, including street marches, events and rallies”. At the same time, Putin stressed that the protests “must be organized in such way that they inflict no damages to other citizens, who do not take part in them”.

Putin reminded the audience about last year’s events in Great Britain “when it all came to mass riots, torched cars and robbed stores”“As the society guarantees the right to express their opinion, including by street events, to some of the citizens, it must protect other citizens and the society as a whole from radicalism,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia and China pull together to counter US Asia drive

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 6, 2012

Chinese sailors march pass the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov berthed at a naval base in Qingdao, northeastern China on April 23, 2012 (China Out/AFP Photo)

Chinese sailors march pass the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov berthed at a naval base in Qingdao, northeastern China on April 23, 2012 (China Out/AFP Photo)

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will cement its military alliance with China, including an increase in joint exercises in the Asia-Pacific. The move follows a US pledge to step up its naval presence in Asia in a bid to extend its influence.

“Recently joint navy exercises were held in the Yellow Sea, and they were the first of such exercises. We have agreed with Chairman Hu that we will continue such cooperation,” Putin said following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The Russian leader said that security in the Asia-Pacific region was a top priority for both countries and they will work together to further develop ties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clinton offers Gulf states joint AMD shield against Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine) 

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proposed improved strategies with Arab Gulf states on maritime security and missile defense to counter the threat of Iran.

Clinton told a security conference in Saudi Arabia on Saturday that US commitment to the Gulf is “rock-solid and unwavering.” She stressed the US and Gulf governments share concerns about Iran’s nuclear activity and that partnership with the US has “enormous potential” to advance common interests.

Raising security ties from a bilateral to a multilateral level, Clinton is breaking new ground by taking part in the first strategic cooperation forum between Washington and the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

She said the US and Gulf States should take “practical and specific steps to strengthen mutual security, such as helping militaries improve interoperability, cooperate on maritime security and missile defense, and coordinate responses to crises.” US officials have said it is a US “priority” to help the GCC build a “regional missile defense architecture” against what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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Security fears? Chicago G8 Summit canceled, relocated to Camp David

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 6, 2012

AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan

AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan

Amid concerns over thousands of protestors descending on Chicago, Illinois for the G-8 Summit this spring, the event have been moved to the presidential compound at Camp David, Maryland, around an hour outside of Washington.

Leaders from the United States, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and European Union were expected to arrive in Chicago this May for the annual meeting of the world’s largest economies. Protesters also had plans for the Windy City, however, and demonstration groups including Occupy Wall Street offshoots had begun orchestrating events to coincide with the meeting. Now barely two months before the event is slated to occur, the G-8 Summit is being moved outside of Chicago to Camp David, a suburban city outside of the US capital that serves as a historic retreat locale for America’s commander-in-chief.

“In May, the United States looks forward to hosting the G-8 and NATO Summits. To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues,” reads a statement released Monday by the White House.

After the G-8 Summit, the NATO meeting is expected to continue as planned in Chicago on May 20 through 21.

In the past, these high-profile meetings of the minds have attracted massive demonstrations, with the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto resulting in the largest mass arrest in the history of the entire country of Canada. In recent weeks, the Apartment Building Owners and Managers’ Association of Chicago began a series of presentations in which it explained how building managers could effectively handle riots, protests, tear gas and bomb threats.  Read the rest of this entry »

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EU to freeze Syrian Central Bank assets Feb 27

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 25, 2012

Central Bank of Syria in Damascus (AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

Central Bank of Syria in Damascus (AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

The European Union plans to freeze the assets of the Syrian Central Bank starting next Monday, declared French Foreign Minister Alan Juppe, as quoted by Reuters.

The new sanction will hit Syria the day after the referendum on the new constitution set for February 26.

“Starting from Monday, we will take new strong measures, notably a freezing of the assets of the Syrian Central Bank,”Juppe announced.

The statement comes as the minister is in Tunisia attending the “Friends of Syria” meeting.

Another participant in the event, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Friday called on all nations to freeze Syrian assets and boycott oil from the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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West’s policy on Syria could ignite WWIII

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 5, 2012

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‘For fair elections’: Tens of thousands at Moscow biggest protest (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 24, 2011

Just two weeks after the Russian capital saw its biggest opposition rally in nearly twenty years, Russians unhappy with the results of the December 4 parliamentary elections have gathered once again.

But this time, it’s in even bigger numbers, with the hopes that their collective voice will be heard. Protest organizers claim up to 120,000 people have gathered for the rally. Police, however, put the number of demonstrators at about 29,000. They are coming together to protest against vote fraud – and to demand a new ballot.

This time around, the rally is being held on Akademika Sakharova Boulevard, with nearby streets closed off to traffic. Police have refrained from calling in reinforcements from the Defense Ministry, but are maintaining a presence at the rally; metal detectors and barriers have been set in advance.

RT’s crew at the scene say the police on duty are friendly and polite, a fact which has also been stressed by human right activists at the rally.

Thirty people are scheduled to speak, including actors, journalists, musicians, politicians and businessmen. But recent polls show that most of the people who attend the rally aren’t interested in being addressed by the politicos and opposition party leaders – they are coming to hear public figures and social activists like TV anchor Leonid Parfenov and blogger Aleksey Navalny, who have already taken the floor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medvedev on US: ‘If they continue to push us around, we’ll push back’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 18, 2011

President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken out after a telephone conversation with his US counterpart, saying Obama’s comments on Russia’s recent parliamentary elections were “unacceptable”.

Speaking to a number of United Russia MPs, Dmitry Medvedev stated that, correctly delivered, thoughts and comments on a country’s electoral process are acceptable – and welcome. But when they are reminiscent of Cold War-era statements, it is outrageous. “That is not a reset [in relations], and I’ve had to remind my colleague of that”, said the president. Read the rest of this entry »

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Latin America unites in new bloc, US not invited

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 4, 2011

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, Bolivia's President Evo Morales, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Cuban President Raul Castro (From Lto R, first row) pose for the family picture of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit on December 2, 2011 in Caracas (AFP Photo / LEO RAMIREZ)

Thirty-three Latin American leaders have come together and formed a new regional bloc, pledging closer economic and political ties. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) pointedly excludes the US and Canada.

On the second day of a summit in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, all Latin American leaders, both right and left, officially signed into effect the formation of the CELAC bloc. The foundation of the bloc has been praised as the realization of the two-centuries-old idea of Latin American “independence” envisioned by Simon Bolivar.

Analysts view CELAC as an alternative to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) and as an attempt by Latin American countries to reduce US influence in the region.

“As the years go by, CELAC is going to leave behind the old and worn-out OAS,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said at the inauguration of the bloc on Friday.

“It’s the death sentence for the Monroe Doctrine,” said Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said.

However Washington does not see CELAC as a replacement to OAS. US Department of State spokesman Mark Toner said the US will continue “to work through the OAS as the pre-eminent multilateral organization, speaking for the hemisphere.”

Political analyst Omar Jose Hassan Farinas told RT’s Spanish channel the US views CELAC as a potential threat to its hegemony in the region.

Chavez also read out statement opposing the US trade embargo on Cuba. Havana, which is not a member of the OAS, has joined the new regional bloc.

“No more interference. Enough is enough! We have to take shape as a center of the world power and demand respect for all of us as community and for each one of our countries,” Venezuelan leader said.

The 33 leaders pledged to withstand the financial crisis that has struck Europe and other developed countries.  Read the rest of this entry »

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US vs. China: Who rules?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 14, 2011

As politicians and financiers bring their different perspectives to the APEC summit in Honolulu, a single idea is proving a unifying force. With global economic power shifting eastwards, the chorus of anti-China rhetoric is growing ever louder.

If there is one US state where the Occupy movement has little chance, it is probably Hawaii. Despite a high concentration of politicians and Wall Street bigwigs mingling at the APEC summit, the only place people are willing to occupy en masse here are the beaches. With one exception. The few protesters allowed in downtown Honolulu were speaking out against greed and social injustice. They were against economic inequality. They were against China.

Coincidentally or not, the mood on the podium was similarly hostile. Employing some of his sharpest language yet, US President Barack Obama threatened Beijing with punitive economic steps unless it started “playing by the rules.” His political opponents were even more belligerent.

“I happen to think that the Communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues,” Rick Perry, Republican presidential candidate, said in the course of the debates.

“We have to have China understand that, like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules!”responded his rival for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney.

Rules, rules and again rules. As the country that has been ruling the roost for decades, the United States has never been shy of policing others. But as China’s GDP continues to grow at a rate of nine per cent a year, against two-and-a-half per cent growth in the US, the reprimand seems to be internally driven.

Conformity is one of the top values in the Chinese view of the world – also reflected in the country’s political and economic policies. So it is not that China does not play by the rules, it is actually quite the opposite. What the United States seems to have an issue with is that, increasingly, China rules and that is a privilege Washington would prefer to keep for itself.

As his signature achievement at APEC 2011, Barack Obama has put forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional free trade pact being negotiated by the United States and eight other countries. White House officials even speculated that the deal could become a template for an eventual APEC-wide free trade zone.

Yet what seems a win-win to the US is taken in China as a somewhat predatory effort to change rules mid-game. Beijing remains wary of the deal that Washington is proposing to some of China’s neighbors, seeing it as an effort to provide a counterweight to China around the Pacific Rim.

“Free trade tends to be in the eye of the beholder – it’s free for you, but protectionist for me, provided I get to protect my precious industries, my own personal national interest. So it’s always a dilemma as to how free it is,” said George Koo, the founder of International Strategic Alliances.

As the euro crisis continues metastasizing throughout the world and China is asked to shoulder the load, many analysts say the West should keep in mind its old adage – “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

“The US is a declining power and having trouble adjusting to that status,” CEO of Country Risk Solutions, Daniel Wagner, believes.

Many Chinese proverbs are difficult to translate into English, although those about money usually have exact equivalents. One of them is “Money makes the world go round” – a concept experientially familiar to Washington and, progressively so, to Beijing.

Professor Julan Du from the Chinese University of Hong Kong told RT that America’s domestic problems are  driving Washington’s criticism of Beijing.

“They accuse China of unfair trade and currency policies. I think it is unfair. The current difficulties of the US government in creating jobs lie in the fact that the US has lost the competitive advantage in most of the traditional manufacturing industries,” Professor Du said.

“The wage rate is too high to justify moving production back to the US,” he added. “So even if China reduced its exports to the US by increasing its exchange rates, other low-wage emerging countries would step in to replace China.”

@RT

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Russia gets NATO ‘nyet’ on missile defense

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 25, 2011

This handout image courtesy of the US Missile Defense Agency shows a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) being launched at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii (AFP Photo / HO /US Missile Defense Agency)

NATO officials say they are willing to “cooperate” with Russia in the US missile defense system, while balking on the possibility of building a single system.

Unfortunately, NATO on Tuesday once again refrained from putting its money where its mouth is, offering Moscow cheap words, as opposed to priceless action when it comes to a genuine partnership in the construction of a European missile defense system, which the US says is needed to protect Europe from a ‘rogue’ missile strike.

Russia was assured, once again, that the system was no cause for alarm.

The US missile defense shield slated for Europe “does not pose any threats to Russia’s defense capabilities,” James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General, told his Russian hosts at a press conference in Moscow.

“The shield lacks the technical capabilities to disrupt Russia’s potential to fend off a nuclear strike,” he said, while failing to mention the system’s potential for spatial and technological growth in the near future.

As for providing written “legal guarantees” that the system – situated just miles from the Russian border – would not be aimed at Russian territory, Appathurai balked, saying they were not needed.

The “ultimate guarantee”  for Russia is to connect its system to NATO’s, he said. When pushed for specifics, the NATO official only offered vague suggestions, like providing “data exchanges and coordination” between the two systems.

Needless to say, the proposal did not sit well with Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin.

“If Mr. Appathurai is really certain that technically the US missile defense cannot create impediments for Russian strategic nuclear forces, then what is the reason for the US refusal to put these guarantees on paper,” he asked.  Read the rest of this entry »

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