Tag Archives: foreign

Venezuela 'ready' to defend itself after US invokes defence pact: foreign minister

Venezuela 'ready' to defend itself after US invokes defence pact: foreign ministerVenezuela is "ready" to defend itself, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Friday, after Washington invoked a regional defence pact that might justify such a move. "We are ready to protect ourselves, we are ready to react," Arreaza told a news conference after meeting in Geneva with UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet. On Wednesday, the US invoked a regional defence pact with 10 other countries and Venezuela's opposition in response to "bellicose" moves by President Nicolas Maduro's regime.



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The DIY foreign policy president: Bolton ouster confirms it

The DIY foreign policy president: Bolton ouster confirms itDonald Trump has said he doesn’t mind if the U.S. is on its own in the world. Now, it seems he doesn’t mind running American foreign policy on his own as well. With the ouster of John Bolton as his national security adviser, the president has again pushed away an experienced hand in international affairs and a counter-weight to his DIY approach to Iran, North Korea, China and more.



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South African attacks on foreign shops continue; 12 dead

South African attacks on foreign shops continue; 12 deadTwo people have been killed in Johannesburg, police confirmed Monday, bringing to 12 the number of deaths since violence against foreign-owned shops erupted last month. Bands of South Africans launched violent attacks against foreign-owned shops and stalls, looting and burning the small businesses and attacking some of the shopkeepers. The attacks appear to be spreading throughout Gauteng, the country’s most populous province encompassing the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.



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The GOP lawmakers disgusted by Trump’s invitation to the Taliban are the latest sign his foreign policy is in shambles

The GOP lawmakers disgusted by Trump’s invitation to the Taliban are the latest sign his foreign policy is in shamblesThe Taliban invitation and subsequent backlash adds to an expanding list of foreign policy controversies and failures for Trump ahead of 2020.



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Poland's foreign ministry condemns attack on Israeli students

Poland's foreign ministry condemns attack on Israeli studentsPoland’s foreign ministry on Sunday condemned violence against a group of Israeli students beaten at a Warsaw nightclub early on Saturday, following criticism that Polish leaders are not doing enough to denounce antisemitism. Earlier this year, the World Jewish Congress condemned the burning of an effigy of Judas in the Polish town of Pruchnik and hundreds of far-right supporters marching in Warsaw against a U.S. law on restitution of Jewish property seized during or after World War Two. Poland was home to one of the world’s biggest Jewish communities before it was almost wiped out by Nazi German occupiers who set up death camps such as Auschwitz on Polish soil.



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Sudan court charges Bashir with illegal use of foreign funds

Sudan court charges Bashir with illegal use of foreign fundsA Sudanese court on Saturday charged ousted president Omar al-Bashir, on trial for corruption, with illegal acquisition and use of foreign funds, offences which could put him behind bars for a decade. Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said at the third session of Bashir’s trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home. Authorities had “seized 6.9 million euros, $ 351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds at (Bashir’s) home which he acquired and used illegally,” the judge said.



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Donald Trump Upstaged at G7 By Foreign Minister of … Iran

Donald Trump Upstaged at G7 By Foreign Minister of ... IranJeff J Mitchell/ReutersIt looked like President Donald Trump was set up for a diplomatic ambush at the Group of Seven summit on Sunday when Iran’s foreign minister suddenly flew into town.The arrival of the smooth-talking Javad Zarif at the elegant French beach resort of Biarritz, where the leaders of the seven most industrialized democracies are gathered, underscored a key conflict between Trump and the rest about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. ‘Absolute Amateur Hour’: Team Trump Mangles Messages to IranLast year, the U.S. pulled out of an agreement that severely limited for several years Iran’s production and stockpiling of nuclear fuel and imposed an extensive inspection regime. Trump claimed the accord forged under Barack Obama was a disastrous deal, and he could do better.A senior French diplomat told reporters at the G7 summit in Biarritz that Macron informed Trump over lunch on Saturday that Zarif would be coming, and told the rest of the summit participants at dinner that night. The Trump administration imposed sanctions specifically targeting Zarif earlier this month, but when Trump was asked for a reaction after the the visit became public, his initial comment was, “No comment.”Although Trump has said he would be willing to meet with Iran’s leaders, they have so far declined, and a tweet from the Iranian foreign ministry stated flatly, “There will be no meetings or negotiations with the American delegation on this trip.”Trump has insisted he can force Iran to make more concessions, not only about nukes, but about its missiles and extensive proxy forces outside its borders, most notably Hezbollah, and to that end the U.S. has imposed draconian sanctions crippling the Iranian economy while punishing its trading partners.Germany, France and Britain–all signatories of the Iran deal, and all represented at the G7–have sought desperately to shore up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the agreement is called. They share Trump’s view that missiles and proxies are serious issues, but they believe it makes more sense to keep the nuclear agreement that exists rather than throw all the cards up in the air.To try to keep Iran on board, the Europeans have been discussing various mechanisms to try to bypass the American sanctions, but with little success. Meanwhile, step by calculated step, Iran terminates bits of the JCPOA. As Iran-U.S. Tensions Rise, Hezbollah Readies for War With IsraelIn June, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also at the G7 this weekend, visited Tehran to try to calm the situation, but to no avail. Indeed, holes were blown in a Japanese tanker by mysterious, presumably Iranian, agents at the same time as Abe’s visit.It’s likely that Zarif’s visit to Biarritz is mainly political theater orchestrated by Macron, and there is little hope it will resolve an increasingly dangerous standoff between the U.S. and Iran. Already we have seen attacks on shipping near the strategic Strait of Hormuz and the recent British seizure, then release against U.S. objections, of an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar. Last month, when Iran downed an American drone it claimed was over its territorial waters, Trump gave a green light, then a red one, to a retaliatory attack that would have killed a number of Iranian personnel.Meanwhile, as The Daily Beast has reported, Iran’s clients in Lebanon and Syria, the Hezbollah militias, are preparing for war with Israel as part of a wider conflagration, and Israel is attacking Iranian installations in Iraq as well as Syria.What Zarif’s visit to the G7 summit might do is calm the situation and buy some time.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Rejection of international law on the rise, Iran's foreign minister says

Rejection of international law on the rise, Iran's foreign minister saysThe rejection of international law is on the rise, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, during a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi. “Rejection of international law, not just lack of respect for international law, but, in fact, contempt for international law, is on the rise and we need to work together,” Zarif told Wang, in comments in front of reporters. Zarif said he was in Beijing to brief the Chinese official on his recent meetings in France on the Iran nuclear deal, but he gave no details.



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Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif arrives in Biarritz in surprise visit to G7 leaders summit

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif arrives in Biarritz in surprise visit to G7 leaders summitJavad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, unexpectedly flew into Biarritz on Sunday in a dramatic twist to a G7 leaders summit that is already riven by divisions over Russia, China and trade.  Mr Zarif, who went straight into talks with French officials after his surprise arrival on an Iranian government Airbus, showed up as French President Emmanuel Macron attempted a high-risk diplomatic gambit to defuse a confrontation that has brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war.  His presence caused immediate confusion in diplomatic circles, with a White House official saying that Donald Trump, who dined with other G7 leaders in Biarritz on Saturday night, was not informed in advance. Mr Trump's administration placed Mr Zarif under sanctions last month.  But a French diplomatic source said Mr Macron informed Mr Trump of the Iranian foreign minister’s visit when the two presidents had lunch on Saturday. Mr Macron then told the other leaders during dinner on Saturday night. “There was a very substantial conversation among the G7 leaders,” the source said.  The source added that the French and Iranian foreign ministers were also discussing “regional issues and Iran’s missile programme”. “We are working in total transparency with our US partners,” he said. Angela Merkel said she was only informed shortly before Mr Zarif arrived.  A White House official said Donald Trump was not told that Emmanuel Macron had invited Javad Zarif Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS A highly-placed French political source told the Telegraph: “That [the foreign ministers’ meeting] doesn’t mean that Mr Trump is actively supporting the talks, only that he is allowing them to happen. If there are advances, he can welcome them and perhaps share the credit. If nothing comes of it, he won’t have to disown it because it was a French initiative. If it does succeed in reducing tension, it will be a huge diplomatic coup for Mr Macron.”   Earlier the French president played down briefings by his aides that the G7 leaders had mandated him to lead talks with Iran, which was quickly denied by Mr Trump who said the idea had not been discussed. Mr Macron said there was no such thing as a “G7 mandate” as the group is a forum for discussion rather than a formal structure. The Iranian foreign ministry said Mr Zarif had flown in for talks on saving the 2015 nuclear deal, but denied that Iran's missile programme was up for discussion. It said no talks with Mr Trump or the US delegation are planned. Mr Macron is hosting Mr Trump, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, and Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s caretaker prime minister, at the 45th G7 summit.  Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets U.S. President Donald Trump for bilateral talks during the G7 summit  Credit: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS The meeting has exposed deep rifts over everything from the fires in the Amazon rain forest to Mr Trump’s trade war with China, and Mr Macron has warned that it will likely be the first summit in the Group’s 45 year history to end without a joint communique. There were reportedly lively discussions at Saturday night’s dinner of local Basque cuisine when European leaders including Mr Johnson pushed back at Mr Trump's suggestion that Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was suspended from the G7 after annexing Crimea in 2014, should be readmitted to the forum. Mr Trump and Mr Macron have also clashed over a proposed French "digital tax" which would hit US tech giants like Google and Amazon. Mr Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on French wine in retaliation.  Mr Trump sought to play down reports of division on Sunday, saying meetings so far have been “very good”. “Before I arrived in France, the Fake and Disgusting News was saying that relations with the 6 others countries in the G-7 are very tense, and that the two days of meetings will be a disaster,” Mr Trump tweeted.  An Iranian government plane is seen on the tarmac at Biarritz airport in Anglet on Sunday   Credit: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau “Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great — the talk of the world!” Tensions between the US and Iran have spiralled since Mr Trump last year withdrew from a deal that offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme. Since then the US has pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” in the hope that economic hardship will force the regime in Tehran to accept a more restrictive deal and end its support for armed groups like Hizbollah. The confrontation has caused tension with European allies including Britain which still support the 2015 nuclear deal.  Iran continues to hold the Stena Impero, a British flagged tanker that it seized in the Gulf in apparent retaliation for the arrest by Royal Marines of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar in July.  Gibraltar released the Adrian Darya 1, formerly the Grace 1, on August 18, despite a US legal bid to impound it.  The Royal Navy sent a third warship to the provide maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.  HMS Defender, a type 45 destroyer, will join the type 23 frigates HMS Kent and HMS Montrose.



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North Korea foreign minister calls Pompeo 'poisonous plant'

North Korea foreign minister calls Pompeo 'poisonous plant'North Korea’s foreign minister on Friday called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “poisonous plant of American diplomacy” and vowed to “shutter the absurd dream” that sanctions will force a change in Pyongyang. The North’s blistering rhetoric may dim the prospect for an early resumption of nuclear negotiations between the countries. A senior U.S. diplomat said earlier this week that Washington was ready to restart the talks, a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries ended their regular drills that Pyongyang called an invasion rehearsal.



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