Tag Archives: deal

Germany expects No Deal and will not renegotiate, says leaked briefing

Germany expects No Deal and will not renegotiate, says leaked briefingGermany expects a No Deal Brexit and is not prepared to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, according to leaked details of an internal briefing paper for Angela Merkel’s government. The leaked paper is the first evidence that Germany may be preparing to let Britain walk away with No Deal rather than back down to Boris Johnson’s demand to drop the Irish backstop. The paper was prepared by civil servants for the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, ahead of face-to-face talks with the chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, in Berlin on Friday.  In public, Mr Scholz has said Germany will do everything it can to secure a deal with the UK. But according to details leaked to the usually reliable Handelsblatt newspaper, the briefing paper calls for the European Union to stick to its previous line of refusing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. It warns that there is now a “high probability” of a No Deal Brexit on October 31, but says  the EU must not "lose its nerve". Preparations  by Germany and the rest of the EU-27 to manage the impact of No Deal are “largely complete”, and the European Commission is not planning any further emergency measures, it says. Mr Javid is the first senior minister from the Johnson government to hold face-to-face talks with his German counterpart Credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP The paper says it is “currently unforeseeable that Prime Minister Johnson will change his tough negotiating position” and predicts that he may use next weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz for a “big moment” to announce success or failure in negotiations. “Against this background, it is important from the EU perspective to stick to the previous line” of refusing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, it  says, adding that even if the EU were to agree to drop the Irish backstop, it is not clear that Mr Johnson would be able to win approval for a revised withdrawal agreement in parliament. The UK has made repeated attempts to split the EU side, and “the EU-27’s unity  in adhering to the negotiated exit agreement” has been “decisive”, the paper says. Germany has already passed more than 50 laws and measures to deal with the impact of a No Deal Brexit, and the paper provides details of arrangements in the finance ministry’s area of tax and banking.  It cites a transitional agreement between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and BaFin, the German financial regulator on cross-border financial services, and says German customes authorities are prepared for the increased workload expected under No Deal.



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Fears in US of bad peace deal with the Taliban

Fears in US of bad peace deal with the TalibanAn Afghanistan peace agreement that the US seems close to reaching with the Taliban has prompted worries that President Donald Trump’s desire to quickly withdraw US troops could further plunge the country into civil war. Trump said Friday he was pleased with talks on ending the war, 18 years after the September 11, attacks that prompted the US invasion of Afghanistan in the first place. In recent days several US officials have suggested that an accord could be imminent in discussions with the Taliban in Qatar.



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Epstein's accusers say now that he's dead the government should rescind the generous 2007 plea deal that protected any accomplices

Epstein's accusers say now that he's dead the government should rescind the generous 2007 plea deal that protected any accomplicesThe deal Jeffrey Epstein reached in 2007 protected four unnamed associates from prosecution. His accusers' lawyers in Florida want it overturned.



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Saudi woman activist rejects release deal tied to denying torture: family

Saudi woman activist rejects release deal tied to denying torture: familyProminent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has rejected a proposal to secure her release from prison in exchange for a video statement denying reports she was tortured in custody, her family said on Tuesday. Hathloul, along with at least a dozen other women’s rights activists, were arrested over a year ago as Saudi Arabia ended a ban on women driving cars, which many of the detainees had long campaigned for. Some of the women appeared in court earlier this year to face charges related to human rights work and contacts with foreign journalists and diplomats, but the trial has not convened in months.



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U.S.-Taliban talks end without deal, both sides to consult

U.S.-Taliban talks end without deal, both sides to consultTalks on a pact that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw troops from Afghanistan ended on Monday without agreement and both sides saying they would consult their leaders on the next steps. Held in Qatar since late last year, the talks have brought hopes for a deal allowing U.S. troops to leave in exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used by Islamist militants as a base from which to plot attacks abroad. The eighth round of talks, which began on Aug. 3 and focused on technical details, ended in the early hours, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.



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Guatemala election winner Alejandro Giammattei says he wants to rewrite controversial Trump migration deal

Guatemala election winner Alejandro Giammattei says he wants to rewrite controversial Trump migration dealConservative "eternal candidate" Alejandro Giammattei has won Guatemala's presidential election, saying he wants to make changes to a controversial migration deal the Central American country signed with the Trump administration last month. Speaking to Reuters shortly before being declared victor, Mr Giammattei, who had made three previous presidential bids, said he wanted to see what could be done to improve the deal that outgoing President Jimmy Morales agreed to stem US-bound migration from Central America. Mr Giammattei will not take office until January, by which time Guatemala may be under severe pressure from the deal that effectively turns the country into a buffer zone, by forcing migrants to seek refuge there rather than in the United States. "I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the United States," Mr Giammattei, 63, said in the interview. Threatened with economic sanctions if he said no, Mr Morales reached an accord in late July to make Guatemala a so-called safe third country for migrants, despite the endemic poverty and violence plaguing the Central American nation. "It's not right for the country," Mr Giammattei said of the deal. "If we don't have the capacity to look after our own people, imagine what it will be like for foreigners." The agreement is also highly unpopular in Guatemala, which is itself now the biggest source of migrants intercepted at the US-Mexico border, according to US government data.  A poll published this week by Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre showed more than eight out of 10 respondents rejected the idea of the country accepting foreign migrants seeking asylum. Mr Giammattei noted that since a US judge had already suspended a separate safe third country accord, there was a chance that the deal with Guatemala could change. "We'll have to see what happens in the United States with the federal judge's decision. The most likely outcome is that the United States will have to modify … the deal," he said, also noting Guatemala's Congress would need to be consulted. In July, a US federal judge in California blocked a Trump administration rule that would bar asylum applications at the US-Mexico border. Prior to the accord president Mr Morales signed, Guatemala's Constitutional Court said Congress, which is in recess, needed to be consulted on any safe third country deal. But when Mr Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemalan exports, and to levy charges on billions of dollars in remittances sent home by Guatemalans living in the United States if he failed to sign the migration deal, Mr Morales relented. Three million Guatemalans live and work in the United States, which is also the country's main trading partner. Mr Giammattei also said he doubted that migrants would be willing to comply with the deal. "They are looking for asylum in the United States," he said. "I don't think there are a lot of people from El Salvador and Honduras who want to seek asylum in Guatemala, especially if they are fleeing poverty." To address the migration problem, Mr Giammattei has pledged to build a "wall of investment" along Guatemala's impoverished border region with Mexico as a means of promoting economic development and encouraging people to stay at home. Mr Giammattei defeated his centre-left rival, former first lady Sandra Torres, by a landslide, winning more than 58 per cent of the vote, preliminary results showed.



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No deal announced as US, Taliban wrap up latest talks

No deal announced as US, Taliban wrap up latest talksThe latest round of talks between the Taliban and the United States ended early Monday without any sign a peace deal had been reached for Afghanistan, as both sides said they would consult with their leaderships on the next steps. A Taliban spokesman had said last week that this eighth round of talks would conclude with a deal to end the nearly 18-year war, America’s longest. The two sides have been discussing an agreement under which U.S. forces would withdraw from Afghanistan and the Taliban would guarantee the country would not revert to being a launch pad for global terrorist attacks.



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UPDATE 1-U.S.-Taliban talks end without a deal, both sides to consult – Taliban

UPDATE 1-U.S.-Taliban talks end without a deal, both sides to consult - TalibanTalks on a pact that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw troops from Afghanistan ended on Monday without agreement and both sides would consult their leaders on the next steps, the Taliban said. The talks, held in Qatar since late last year, have brought hopes for a deal allowing U.S. troops to leave in exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used by militants as a base from which to plot attacks abroad. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the eighth round of talks, which a U.S. official said earlier involved technical details of the implementation of the pact, ended in the early hours and both sides would consult their leaders.



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New Details Emerge From Trump’s Asylum Deal With Guatemala

New Details Emerge From Trump’s Asylum Deal With GuatemalaThe chief of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) visited Guatemala on Wednesday and Thursday in a bid to persuade the country’s leaders to remain in a recently signed asylum agreement.Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, held a series of meetings with Guatemalan government leaders, and discussed the merits of President Donald Trump’s widely touted “safe third country” deal that was reached in late July. Details of the meetings emerge as Guatemala will soon elect a new president, and the small country’s public stands heavily against the deal’s guidelines.Under the terms of the agreement, migrants claiming asylum at the southern border will be screened to determine whether they crossed Guatemala during their route to the U.S. If so, migrants would be given a choice to either return to Guatemala or their home country. Asylum seekers claiming fear of persecution or torture in Guatemala would be additionally screened to determine if their claims are legitimate.The safe third country agreement largely affects illegal immigrants coming from El Salvador and Honduras — two countries where most migrants pass through Guatemala on their route to the U.S. Illegal immigrants from the country of Guatemala itself are not affected by the agreement.In the beginning phase, a smaller number of migrants will be returned, according to an internal document reported by the New York Times. Single men will be deported first, then single women, and then family units.



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US to pull out thousands of troops under Taliban deal

US to pull out thousands of troops under Taliban dealAmerica could withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan in the coming months as part of an initial peace agreement with the Taliban. American and militant envoys meeting in Qatar's capital said they were optimistic of soon clinching a deal to end America's 18-year-old conflict. An initial deal would see US troop numbers fall to as low as 8,000 from their current level of 14,000, the Washington Post reported. In return the Taliban would have to give guarantees Afghan soil would not become a launchpad for transnational terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. They would also begin negotiating with the Afghan government to find a wider political settlement to the world's deadliest conflict. "I would say that they are 80 or 90 percent of the way there," one official told the paper. "But there is still a long way to go on that last 10 or 20 percent." Sources familiar with the talks said argument among the Taliban may still scupper a deal. The militants have until now demanded a full US withdrawal before they talk to Ashraf Ghani's government and it is unclear if hardliners will accept a partial withdrawal to start. Details of how and agreement might be monitored or verified were also still being hammered out. The conflict is now the deadliest in the world Credit: Reuters “Dissension in the Taliban ranks may yet throw spanners in the works. But overall it's positive,” said one official. It was not immediately clear if there was progress on the other element of talks, the Taliban's agreement to a ceasefire. Zalmay Khalilzad, Donald Trump's peace envoy, has said until now that a deal cannot be finalised until all the elements, including a truce, are agreed. Casualties have continued to mount steeply as sides in the conflict have continued to fight while negotiating. Mr Khalilzad is under intense pressure to find Mr Trump a way out of the war, which the US president has dismissed as a costly failure. The talks are also overshadowing campaigning for September's the Afghan presidential elections, with candidates unsure whether an election will even be held in the event of a deal.



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