NEWS ARCHIVE – July 16-31, 2012

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Analysis: ASEAN path to economic union muddied by South China Sea   Reuters, July 31, 2012 – Investors have high hopes for plans by the 10-member ASEAN for a single market and production base for a combined economy of $2 trillion, with free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labor among 600 million people….Unlike the European Union, an inspiration if not a model, ASEAN lacks elected members of a central parliament, a powerful executive body or a regional court to make law and enforce its will.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM: Time to review the Pacific Plan  – Scoop(New Zealand), July 31, 2012 – Pacific Islands Forum Leaders adopted the Pacific Plan at their annual summit in 2005 as the region’s master strategy for regional cooperation and integration. Leaders envisaged that the Pacific Plan would remain a ‘living document’ and be reviewed on a regular basis.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Beyond Borders: Are the DHS’s International Agreements Ensuring Actionable Intelligence to Combat Threats to the U.S. Homeland? – defpro (Defense Professionals), July 31, 2012 - Written testimony of Policy Office of International Affairs Director of Canadian Affairs Deborah Meyers for a House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence field hearing
….Recognizing the continued importance of the U.S.-Canada partnership, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper released the joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, on February 4, 2011. This declaration committed the United States and Canada to pursue a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. Beyond the Border includes multiple Cabinet level departments, reflecting a true interagency effort within each government and binationally.
….To advance Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement, we will deploy regularized Shiprider operations in which U.S. and Canadian officials jointly patrol our shared waterways. Building on the successes of Shiprider as well as Integrated Border Enforcement Teams and Border Enforcement Security Taskforces, we intend to develop the next generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations, and pursue national security and transnational crime investigations together. To support these bilateral law enforcement efforts, we are advancing greater law enforcement interoperability and information sharing between our countries….

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Asean’s economic growth to be at par with China, India by 2015: Mustapa  – Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese-language, Malaysia), July 31, 2012 – Come 2015, when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is ready, the region’s economic growth will be at par with China and India, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Military Intervention in Syria? Who’s Behind the Atrocities?  – Scoop (New Zealand), July 30, 2012 – The Arab League Observer mission report was subsequently shelved because it revealed the forbidden truth, namely that the US-NATO sponsored “rebels” rather than the government were behind the massacres. A report of Der Spiegel (March 29, 2012) entitled “An Executioner for Syria’s Rebels Tells His Story”, confirms an organized process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killing of civilians conducted by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
‘Cairo Declaration’ to create free-travel zone – Daily News (Egypt), July 30, 2012 – Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr said that, “the declaration can be a seed for future economic cooperation in order to create a common Arab market operating under the auspices of the Arab League.” Amr added in the two-hour press conference that “joint consulate meetings will be held aiming at creating freedom of movement among the three countries.”

GCC flagGCC: America’s uneasy Gulf allies adding to arsenals – CBS News | Associated Press, July 30, 2012 – The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has repeatedly warned Tehran about “meddling” in Gulf affairs….Although the Gulf Arab states have no direct ties to Israel, any military strike on Iran by the Jewish state could require some degree of coordination, with Washington likely to play an intermediary role.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Continent Losing Billions Through Multinationals – AllAfrica, July 31, 2012 – Multinational corporations operating in Africa are involved in illicit transfer of most of the $ 1.5 trillion they make in Africa each year back to the developed countries….The report has been circulated among members of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa; an African Union-endorsed think-tank charged with recommending appropriate policies and seek repatriation of the stolen moneys back to the continent. The panel is chaired by the former South African leader Thabo Mbeki.
Is mental slavery haunting Africa’s development? – AfricaNews, July 30, 2012 – Henriot added that the first premise is that it is important to understand that today’s “globalisation” is actually the fourth stage of outside penetration of Africa by forces which have negative social consequences for the African people’s integral development….“The dominant actor in this stage is the free market. The globe is conceived as one market directed by profit motivations of private enterprises that know neither national boundaries nor local allegiances. In this stage, Africa experiences both minimal influence and maximum consequence,” said Henriot.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: “Commonwealth” to form the elite of nations – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), July 30, 2012 – “….But we need to move the integration from the bureaucratic field to the humanitarian one, so that each person in our countries feels the results of these processes on himself, on his life. If you now ask passers-by in the streets of our countries what the CIS and the Eurasian Union are, I think that we will not get any clear answer in most cases, because citizens do not feel the processes of integration or disintegration that occur….”

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Saltrón Germain: The OAS is an unburied corpse – Radio Nacional de Venezuela , July 30, 2012 (Google translation) – The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have realized that the Organization of American States (OAS) does not work and in response have created integration mechanisms consistent with the reality of the region and depending on the welfare of their people as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean (ECLAC). This statement was made by Germain Saltrón, representative of Venezuela to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights…

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: ‘African infrastructure is key’ – Independent Online (South Africa), July 29, 2012 – A lack of infrastructure development was the biggest challenge facing the African continent, newly elected African Union (AU) commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in Pretoria on Sunday….Dlamini-Zuma also said she thought integration would be further helped by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) becoming a legislative body which would “harmonise legislation” across the continent.
East Africa: EAC Chief Impressed With Road to Rwandan Border - AllAfrica, July 30, 2012 – The [East African Community - EAC] Secretary General toured the proposed site of the Rusumo One Stop Border Post where construction work has started on the Rwandan side of the border….It entails combining two stops into one and consolidating functions in a single public facility for exiting one country and entering another.
East Africa: Despite Benefits, EAC Not Ready Yet for COMESA Competition – AllAfrica, July 30, 2012 – The issue of identifying an EAC citizen will also present its own challenge as partners have up to now failed to reach a consensus on an east African passport that would create a regional rather than a national citizen….Therefore, though a tripartite is a good idea for EAC, the bloc has an urgent task of putting its own house in proper order before they open borders to COMESA [Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa] and SADC [Southern African Development Community].
U.S. is the driving force behind the fighting in Somalia – Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2012 – Officially, the troops are under the auspices of the African Union. But in truth, according to interviews by U.S. and African officials and senior military officers and budget documents, the 15,000-strong force pulled from five African countries is largely a creation of the State Department and Pentagon, trained and supplied by the U.S. government and guided by dozens of retired foreign military personnel hired through private contractors.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Thai Parliament Prepares For Asean Community – Bernama (Malaysia), July 30, 2012 – The Parliament of Thailand organised a seminar here Monday to prepare the Thai legal system for the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) single community by 2015, reports Thai News Agency (TNA).

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:
Israel, EU ink ‘open skies’ deal – Ynetnews (Israel), July 30, 2012 – The deal will allow Israeli airlines and their European counterparts to expand their routes and destinations’ list bilaterally.
EU slams Israel’s ‘human rights violations’ – Ynetnews , July 29, 2012 – However, despite the recognition of these “violations” by the EU, the Association Council’s statement also indicates that the EU will significantly enhance joint economic activities with Israel: Sixty concrete activities in over 15 specific fields.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Report is ‘good news’ for Canadian ports, depending on who you ask – Montreal Gazette | Canadian Press, July 27, 2012 – Prince Rupert, Dye also noted, is a key player in the Canada-U.S. Beyond The Border initiative. “The Beyond the Border Action Plan … selected Prince Rupert [Canada] for a pilot project for a Cargo Targeting Initiative, which will involve perimeter vetting and examination of inbound marine cargo at the port and destined for Chicago by rail.”

GCC flagGCC: Gulf states should not fall in the same hole – Kipp Report, July 28, 2012 – “We have six countries that are homogeneous almost in all domains. They share similar production structures, which mean that they are all subject to symmetric shocks….Therefore … the GCC countries are better qualified to satisfy the optimum currency area criteria, and therefore to establish a monetary union, than the euro zone.”

SAARC FlagSAARC: BDT and NPR to turn readily convertible  – Bangladesh News 24, July 27, 2012 – Regional currency conversion is under consideration at the regional forum of SAARC but Dhaka and Kathmandu could proceed bilaterally too, a foreign ministry official told bdnews24.com….Bangladesh is working with Nepal bilaterally and sub-regionally on hydro-electricity cooperation and exploring possibilities of importing power.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: East Africa: EAC Common Currency Agreement to Be Designed Soon – AllAfrica, July 27, 2012 – Leaders of East African Community (EAC) remark that an agreement for using one currency might be signed towards the end of 2012 as they are working hard to implement the plans made.

GCC flagGCC: Gulf Arabs shouldn’t delay single currency: Qatar bank official – Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), July 27, 2012 – A Gulf official has told Reuters that the countries taking part in the single currency project are still dealing with organizing the institutions and there was no decision yet on any program or timings.
Qatar Central Bank Official: GCC Should Pursue Monetary Union -Reuters – Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2012 – Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council “should benefit from the euro experience and continue with the GCC monetary union project without a delay,” an official of Qatar’s central bank said, Reuters reports on its website Thursday.
‘GCC threatened by Muslim fundamentalists’ – Emirates 24/7, July 27, 2012 – Dubai’s police chief has accused Muslim fundamentalists of seeking to topple regimes in Gulf oil producers, urging regional nations to remain vigilant against such attempts and warning the opponents they would be defeated.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: East Africa: EAC Single Currency Talks ‘Near Completion’ – AllAfrica, July 26, 2012 – Experts on the monetary union are optimistic that by end of this year, all technical negotiations to establish a single currency for the East African Community (EAC) will be complete, Dr Frank Kigabo, the Rwandan chief negotiator, has said.
African human rights institutions meet – China Daily, July 27, 2012 – The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights held on Thursday their first joint annual meeting in Algiers to strengthen bilateral cooperation in a bid to promote and protect human rights in the African continent.
Dynamic emerging powers and Africa offer opportunities for both sides – Creamer Media’s Engineering News, July 27, 2012 – “…The African Free Trade Agreement covering, as it does, three regional economic communities, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community, presents an ideal opportunity for innovative South African and, indeed, African entrepreneurial leaders to start looking into how they can tap into this extraordinary growth, export and trading opportunity.”
In Libya, U.N. Finds New Model for Postconflict Engagement – World Politics Review, July 26, 2012 – The recent elections also featured monitors from the African Union, the Arab League and the EU, among other organizations.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM: Regional Integration Should be Intensified – SG Slade  – Solomon Times, July 27, 2012 – Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, has called on the Pacific region to intensify and accelerate its efforts towards regional integration.
Fiji, NZ and Australia to hold democracy talks – Radio Australia, July 27, 2012 – Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr says he doesn’t believe Fiji should be allowed back into the Pacific Islands Forum just yet.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Chavez Announces “Immediate” Withdrawal from Inter-American Court of Human Rights – Venezuelanalysis, July 26, 2012 – The Venezuelan government’s withdrawal from the Inter-American human rights organisation has sparked criticism in the international press, as well as renewed debate over whether US dominated institutions such as the OAS are still relevant to Latin America’s changing political dynamic….Venezuela has also called for organisations such as the CELAC and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) to set up their own regional human rights institutions which reflect the “Latin American experience”.
Spanish Foreign Minister: ‘It is for UNASUR to decide complex situation in Paraguay’ – LaRepublica (Peru), July 26, 2012 (Google translation) – The Foreign Minister of Spain Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, said today [it is for] the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) [to] decide on the complex political situation in Paraguay, and said the country may not participate in the Iberoamerican Summit , in November.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: The Race for Eastern Europe: Russia vs. the EU – Atlantic-Community.org, July 26, 2012 – Although skeptics argue that this union does not have a future given that Russia’s current economic capabilities largely fall behind its ambitions, several weeks ago the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine gathered in Moscow and declared 2015 as the year of the union’s birth.
Ukrainian Communists support integration with Customs Union, Common Economic Space, Eurasian Economic Community – Interfax (Ukraine), July 26, 2012 – “We support joining the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Community, while developing good-neighborly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries, based on the mutual renunciation of all forms of economic, political or ideological dictatorship,” Ukrainian Communist Party Leader Petro Symonenko said…

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: U.S. agency questions Canadian port security – CBC (Canada), July 26, 2012 – CSI is an acronym for the Container Security Initiative, a program implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Control to pre-screen more than 86 per cent of U.S.-bound container cargo. “Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax are CSI ports; Prince Rupert is not,” reads the report….Prince Rupert is the West Coast pilot site for streamlining security measures under the much-heralded Beyond The Border initiative between Canada and the U.S.
“The End of the Beginning”: Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation On The Move – Politics, Law and Policy Blog, July 26, 2012 -Earlier today, two members of the Board of the Canadian American Business Council along with officials from the federal governments of Canada and the U.S. addressed a Wilson Center Canada Institute audience on the progress to date of the bilateral Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) process.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: American-backed initiative to create Unasur defense agency – CRI (China Radio International), July 26, 2012 (Google translation from Spanish) – The commander of U.S. Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser, said Wednesday that his country supported Argentina’s initiative to create a new joint defense body under the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which is in charge of dealing with transnational crime in the region.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Arab League allows PA to seek statehood via UN – Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2012 – The Palestinian Authority has received a green light from the Arab League to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, PA officials said Wednesday.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: East Africa: EAC States Meet Over Monetary Union Plans – AllAfrica, July 25, 2012 – This is the third step for the integration after agreeing on a Customs Union and Common Market. The next step that is planned after the Monetary Union is a Political federation.
The EAC Treaty has the force of law in Uganda – New Vision (Uganda), July 25, 2012 – First, the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community provides for general undertaking as to implementation. In particular, Article 8(4) provides that Community organs, institutions and laws shall take precedence over similar national ones on matters pertaining to the implementation of this treaty.
Can U.N. help itself from underwriting human rights abuses? – CNN, July 24,2012 – In Somalia, the United Nations is still funneling millions of dollars to AMISOM, the African Union force, which has allegedly routinely disregarded civilian lives in its fight against Somali insurgents, with almost complete impunity. U.N. money is pouring into various programs in South Sudan, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire or Guinea, with little guarantee that some of it won’t end up benefiting the often abusive security forces of these countries. Part of the problem is that the United Nations isn’t properly applying to its own blue helmets the new policy it seeks to impose on others…
ECOWAS to improve regional protocol on free movement – Daily Times (Nigeria), July 24, 2012 – The President of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Kadre Ouedraogo, has pledged to work for the rigorous implementation of the regional protocol on free movement of persons….The protocol was signed in May 1979 and entitles citizens of member states to visa-free intra-community travel, as well as the right of residence and establishment.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: ASEAN: Chartering human rights – Jakarta Post, July 25, 2012 – The inherent absurdity that a document can simultaneously be open for consultation but cannot be seen in full until it is no longer possible to change it appears to be lost on ASEAN. The most likely explanation of this chronic allergy to transparency is that there are some regressive elements in the declaration.
REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE: East Asia energy geography: Where does Indonesia stand? – Jakarta Post, July 25, 2012 – ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) was established in 1976, a forum to realize the ASEAN Power Grid was formed among Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities (HAPUA) in 1981. A task force to develop a Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline was established in 1999.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: A new Arab order in the making – MENAFN | Arab News, July 25, 2012 – In an unprecedented development, the Arab League emergency meeting called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, vowing safe exit for him and his family, and on the opposition to form a transitional government. It also called on the United Nations to change the terms of reference of Kofi Annan’s mission.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Russian-Armenian cooperation in Eurasian Union discussed in Yerevan  – PanArmenian, July 24, 2012 – As a part of his official visit to Armenia, Russian State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin held discussions with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and MPs on cooperation in the framework of the Eurasian Union.
Moscow Supports Kyrgyzstan Customs Union Bid – RIA Novosti, July 24, 2012 – In November 2011, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents signed a declaration on Eurasian economic integration, aimed at eventually creating the Eurasian Economic Union, which will be based on the Customs Union and common economic space among the three countries.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Lat Am Unasur Bloc Gives Conditions For Paraguay’s Return To Membership – Bernama (Malaysia), July 25, 2012 – Paraguay must comply with democratic and transparent elections if it “pretends to again” become a member of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). The 12-nation Latin regional block said this following meetings held in Lima, Peru’s capital.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: African central bank governors meet August to consider continental apex bank – WorldStage, July 23, 2012 – While noting that the institution of a Common Currency was symbol of autonomy of Africa, as the African Union (AU) and ACB governors have agreed to get experts to come up with draft document, he stated that endorsement of the of the draft by the African leaders would translate the long cherished dream for a continental Central Bank and common currency a reality.
EAC single currency talks resume in Tanzania – China Daily, July 24, 2012 – The task force negotiating the draft East African monetary union protocol has been urged to use the latest round of negotiations to resolve outstanding issues and to move with greater speed to ensure an agreement is reached before the end of this year, a statement by the bloc’s secretariat said on Monday.
East Africa: EA Advised to Form Political Federation Before Monetary Union – AllAfrica, July 23, 2012 – The East African partner states have been advised not to rush into a Monetary Union before establishing a clear political landscape if they are to avoid a scenario similar to the Euro zone crisis.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Think Again: The Eurocrisis
Foreign Policy, July 23, 2012 – But before writing the euro’s obituary, let’s remember: The driving force behind a European currency union was never purely or even principally financial. It was political — and these binding forces remain strong.

GCC flagGCC: Gulf states are inches from customs union – Al-Bawaba (Jordan), July 24, 2012 – The incident underlined the difficulties faced by the six rich oil exporting countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as they edge toward closer economic integration….Projects already underway or under study include a customs union, a joint value-added tax and even the introduction of single currency.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Costly Canadian border bottlenecks frustrate Minn. businesses – Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 23, 2012 – All this would be moot under proposals from the U.S. and Canadian governments to streamline the border, something called the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The idea is to push security outward, to a shared perimeter, while opening the U.S.-Canada border for business.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Arab League chief: Assad’s regime cannot continue – The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE) | Reuters, July 24, 2012 – Speaking after an Arab League meeting which called on Mr Assad to step down, Nabil ElAraby, the League’s secretary general, also said the time for talking about political reform was over. “There is now no talk about political reform, but a transfer of power,” he said.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Eduardo Fabre, president of CITEDEF: We are developing the Gradicom III, a more powerful rocket – Infodefensa (Spain), July 23, 2012 (Google translation) – The development and construction of this rocket, do you continue to be one hundred percent nationally? Yes, in this sense, we are also ready to integrate into the project of the Space Agency of the UNASUR, presented by our minister of defense during a meeting of defense ministers of UNASUR last November after being accepted, is now functionally linking the Agency and the idea is to start working together, obviously our country [Argentina] and Brazil, are those who hold relatively more developed in this field, at regional level.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: EU to strengthen ties with Israel despite criticism – Business Recorder (Pakistan), July 23, 2012 – The European Union looks poised to strengthen ties with Israel by approving 60 new cooperation activities, despite its recent denunciation of Israeli policy, diplomats have told AFP.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Gov’t eyes Asean power projects – Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 23, 2012 – The Philippine government has started preliminary talks with its neighbors on plans to participate in a regional energy integration through two significant projects in the pipeline—the Asean Power Grid and the Trans-Asean Pipeline Project.
Regulatory reforms needed toward 2015 ASEAN economic bloc — PHL Trade chief – GMA News (Philippines), July 23, 2012 – Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. On Monday said member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should institute reforms in their regulatory regimes in order to realize the organization’s goal of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: New era for ties with Africa – China Daily, July 23, 2012 – Both sides agree to work together to promote common development and a just global governance mechanism….China will also strengthen its cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in Africa, and continue to provide humanitarian assistance in collaboration with the international community.
EAC single currency talks resume today – IPP Media | The Guardian (Tanzania), July 23, 2012 – The East African Community’s pursuit of a single currency continues today as negotiations for the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) Protocol enter the eighth round.
East Africa: Case Challenging East African Political Federation Dismissed – AllAfrica, July 22, 2012 – The First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Thursday dismissed a case seeking to block the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat from carrying out activities geared towards the realisation of the East African Political Federation, The Sunday Times has learnt.
Africa to use CFTA to boost intra-regional trade – AllGhanaNews, July 23, 2012 – “The ground-breaking tripartite initiative established by SADC, COMESA and the EAC is an encouraging sign – it is a springboard for achieving the CFTA [Continental Free Trade Area] with its sizable population of half a billion people, with a combined GDP of $630 billion,” he said.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: New bridge called crucial to economy – The Windsor Star, July 23, 2012 – Anderson concludes there must remain a government focus on both sides of the border to make customs at the Canada-U.S. crossing more efficient, move much of the paperwork away from the crossings themselves, continue to push for increased harmonization between Canada and U.S. security rules and roll out introduction of more scanning technology, including biometrics.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Arab League to offer ‘safe exit’ if Syrian president al-Assad resigns  – CNN, July 23, 2012 – The Arab League will offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a safe exit” if he resigns quickly and leaves the country, a senior Arab League official said…
Arab League Backs Bid for UN Nod to Palestine – ABC News, July 22, 2012 – The Arab League on Sunday backed a Palestinian plan to ask the U.N. General Assembly to recognize a state of Palestine, but stopped short of setting a date for the bid, Palestinian officials said.

SAARC FlagSAARC: ANP senator disowns confederation proposal with India – The News International (Pakistan), July 23, 2012 – The nationalist leader said other contentious issues would also be resolved when member countries are able to develop strong economic ties and become inter-dependent in trade and commerce….He felt SAARC should work on the lines of the European Union (EU), which also provides economic bailouts to the member countries in time of economic crisis.

Eurasec FlagEURASEC (‘EURASIAN UNION’): Russian parliamentary speaker to visit Armenia – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), July 23, 2012 – They will discuss development of inter-parliamentary ties, humanitarian cooperation, dialogue within the framework of the EurAsEC, Eurasian construction and its parliamentary dimension.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: CAN Secretary General considered beneficial convergence with Mercosur – Andina (Peru), July 22, 2012 (Google Translation) – According to Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo, integration within the framework of UNASUR must cover a broad program of work, including safety aspects and defense, infrastructure, education, health, among others. “The important thing is that we have political will to achieve convergence,” said Contreras.

EU-flagEurasec FlagEU or EAU? Moldova to choose between European Union and Eurasian Union – Moldova.org, July 21, 2012 – The Eurasian Union is a proposed political and economic union between former USSR republics which is due to be established by 2015. It is still a project which will be signed between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus when all the regulations will be set. The union will ensure a single customs territory after the model of the Schengen zone. Moldova is invited to join, but the society is split. Some say they want to ‘relive the former Soviet era’ by joining this community, while others think that the European Union is Moldova’s new direction.
Customs Union could solve problem with gas price for Ukraine, says Communist Party leader – Interfax (Ukraine), July 21, 2012 – The entry into the Customs Union will give Ukraine significant benefits, in particular, elimination of export and import restrictions and reduction of customs duties, Communist Party Leader Petro Symonenko considers….”It’s really profitable for us, and in the future we should speak not only about a single economic space but also joining the Eurasian Economic Community… ‘

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Euro crisis will be felt in the region  – LaPrensa (Honduras), July 21, 2012 (Google Translation) – “…[It] is more important than ever for Latin America [to] “further progress on a new international financial architecture alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.” In this line is the South Bank, which will be operational in the coming months with a clear priority: “To be the financial arm of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations)…”
UNASUR group to meet Paraguay in Peru- elNuevoEmpresario (Ecuador), July 22, 2012 (Google Translation) – The High Level Group of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) for the monitoring and evaluation of the situation in Paraguay will meet next Monday in the Peruvian capital, the Foreign Ministry announced….The group was created to monitor the situation after the Paraguayan parliamentary coup nearly a month [ago] toppled President Fernando Lugo, and led to the suspension of Paraguay [from] UNASUR and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).

SAARC FlagSAARC: Non tariff barriers between SAARC countries, an obstacle – Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), July 21, 2012 – Non tariff barriers between countries in the SAARC region is the main obstacle for regional development said the Immediate Past President of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SAARC CCI) Annisul Huq….Countries in the region should resolve bilateral trade issues and take these solutions to a multilateral level.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Long route to uniting Africa through trade – Aljazeera, July 22, 2012 – …African leaders, some of whom might have the know-how to boost trade and real economic integration within Africa, are not willing to commit themselves to achieve it because most of them are stooges of Western powers and multinational organisations, some of which are not dedicated to Africa’s economic liberation and development….Africa may need to extract some wisdom from the European Union and take some lessons from its integration process.

GCC flagGCC (‘GULF UNION’): Kuwait opts for Gulf union initiative – Zawya, July 22, 2012 – In the aftermath of the 1991 War for Kuwait, which saw a full-scale GCC deployment alongside UN-sanctioned US-led armies that ousted occupying forces from the country, the Kuwait defence minister…insisted that talks with Iraq — for the return of some 600 people held in Iraqi prisons be conducted through the GCC umbrella. In other words, by refusing to hold bilateral talks with Iraq and, more importantly, by insisting that such negotiations be conducted under regional and international legitimising institutions, Kuwait empowered the GCC further.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION, ASEAN & U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: The Realist Prism: Putting Out Mideast Fires Will Delay U.S. Asia Pivot – World Politics Review, July 20, 2012 – Certainly, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s timetable for getting his vaunted Eurasian Union off the ground is geared to expectations that U.S. involvement in the greater Middle East will continue for the next several years. And China’s ability to exercise pressure to block the mention of territorial disputes in the South China Sea in the final communiqué of the ASEAN summit last week suggests that for now, at least, Beijing continues to see the American pivot as more rhetorical than real.

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
China pledges to work with ASEAN to safeguard peace in South China Sea
Xinhua (China), July 21, 2012 – In the statement issued earlier on Friday, the ASEAN members reaffirmed their commitment to the “peaceful resolution of disputes” in the South China Sea. Analysts said the six-point principles were reached to make up for the lack of a customary communique after a foreign ministers’ meeting last week.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:

VIDEO: UKIP”s Nigel Farage, European Parliament, Strasbourg, 7-3-12                                                              Will Britain Ever Leave the European Union? - A small political party that wants to break ties with the European Union may be gaining attention in a nation where European integration never fired enthusiasm.
New York Times, July 20, 2012 – (Google link) – Though the United Kingdom Independence Party has no representatives in the British Parliament, it does have a dozen members in the European Parliament. And that entitles it to a small space at 32 Smith Square, the London base of two institutions of the European Union that U.K.I.P. wants to leave.
European Jewish Union hails Barroso’s dedication to strengthening EU-Israel partnership – European Jewish Press, July 20, 2012 – The European Jewish Union (EJU) lauded EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s dedication in strengthening the partnership between the European Union and Israel…. “The future of Israel depends on educational efforts, progress on innovation and research and its relationship with the European Union which is supported by trade. These are the pillars which bear peaceful cooperation and improve the lives of the citizens”.
PACIFIC ISLANDS: US Must Send Right Signals at Pacific Islands Forum – Scoop (New Zealand), July 21, 2012 – Is the United States upping its diplomatic engagement in the Pacific? One would think given rumors that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering heading to the Cook Islands for next month’s Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The problem: Her attendance could send the wrong message to regional partners; thereby undermining U.S. influence in the Pacific. Last year, the United States sent its largest and highest-level delegation ever to the PIF.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: The “untimely” entry of Venezuela into Mercosur – TelesurTV, July 21, 2012 (Google Translation) – [Former Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva] was the architect of UNASUR and CELAC, for the first time in the history of Latin America up to all countries without the guidance of the United States and Canada, confirming a will opposed to the Monroe Doctrine, whose top may be that “Latin America for Latin Americans.” The creation of the South American Defense Council, which includes twelve armed forces of the region, is coordinating the construction of weapons between countries, which will build medium-term military autonomy….The entry of Venezuela into Mercosur is a signal to the White House that the region does not remain backyard.
Brazil mulls review of Paraguay ties – UPI, July 20, 2012 – At stake are Brazil’s lucrative trade and energy relations with landlocked Paraguay…[Uruguay President Jose] Mujica has further muddied the waters by calling for a merger of Mercosur and Unasur. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in one of the first statements after Venezuela’s admission to Mercosur, declared plans to galvanize Mercosur member countries into a defense pact.
MEPs arrived in Paraguay after the fall of Lugo – Minutouno, July17, 2012 (Google Translation) – A delegation of European Parliament (EP) met on Monday with Paraguayan President Federico Franco, and his dismissed predecessor, Fernando Lugo….European delegates “were struck by” Mercosur and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) temporarily [suspending Paraguay] following the dismissal of Lugo on June 22 without giving the new authorities of the country ” right to defense. ”

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: AU court seeks to expand jurisdiction – Zimbabwe Independent, July 20, 2012 – The African Union’s African Court on Human and People’s Rights judge president Gerard Niyungeko has revealed that the institution wants to expand its jurisdiction to criminal matters in a manner similar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to address its challenges.
US urges Mali to accept African force – Daily Times (Pakistan), July 21, 2012 – The United States has called on Mali’s authorities to accept offers by African states to send a military force to stabilise the country…West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc has said for months it wants to send a 3,000-strong force to tackle instability but it has so far not received backing from the United Nations and met resistance from politicians and soldiers in Mali.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE & SYRIA: Assad Accepts Need for ‘Civilized’ Exit, Russian Envoy Says – Bloomberg, July 20, 2012 – The comments may signal a shift for Russia, which blocked last month’s deal from demanding Assad’s ouster. The statement negotiated by foreign ministers of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members — China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. — as well as Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the European Union, the Arab League and Iraq called for a process leading to a political transition in the country.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Using Environmental Protection as a Tool for North American Deep Integration – Pacific Free Press, July 19, 2012 – President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue (CED) in 2009 to promote new ways to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change. The CED Action Plan II released last month, outlines the next phase of activities both countries will undertake. This includes continued work on carbon capture and storage, as well as integrating the electricity grid….Whether real or exaggerated, environmental issues are also advancing North American integration.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Environmentalist Integration: Signing of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Agreement – AllAfrica, July 19, 2012 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed the Tripartite Agreement for the Implementation of the Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Eastern and Southern Africa on 15th July 2012
Hu vows more aid for African countries – China Daily, July 20, 2012 – China will provide financial support for the AU peacekeeping missions and the development of the African Standby Force, and train more officials in peace and security affairs and peacekeepers for the AU, [Hu] said. China will support the African integration process, and….provide a $20 billion credit line to African countries over the next three years.
SADC lawyers urge reopening of Tribunal - Legalbrief Today (South Africa), July 20, 2012 – The SADC Lawyers’ Association has congratulated the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the election of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as the first woman and SADC citizen to chair the African Union Commission and urged SADC leaders to work together to re-open the SADC Tribunal….It added that as the SADC steps out to lead the continent, ‘the legal profession hopes that the regional leaders will learn from the developments in other parts of Africa’ including the East African Community and the Economic Community of West African States which have strong, functional and efficient regional courts.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Putin’s problem: marrying multiracial empire with ethnic nationalism – VirtuePolitics, July 20, 2012 – Ultimately the Eurasian Union will not be built unless the Kazakhs, Turkmens, Uzbeks and others feel that they have a stake in it. But Putin needs nationalism as a force to drive it. His challenge is to make that nationalism civic, not ethnic.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: 4 ASEAN nations ready for economic integration – Jakarta Post, July 20, 2012 – Representatives from four ASEAN nations – Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Indonesia – vowed that rules and regulations are being improved to embrace an investment flow in light of the activation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
ASEAN to claim “common ground” on South China Sea, but no communiqué – Reuters, July 20, 2012 – Southeast Asian states have reached a “common position” on the disputed South China Sea, but will not resurrect a joint communiqué aborted after unprecedented discord over the issue at a summit last week, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister said on Friday.
Will ASEAN be the new Euro? – Phuket News, July 19, 2012 – ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan’s recent comments extolling the virtues of the positives of an ASEAN community assume a more sinister aspect when one considers his background as a fellow of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, his post at the American University in Washington, and his connection to the US Congress.
ASEAN near consensus on sea row: Indonesia – Yahoo!7News, July 19, 2012 – Natalegawa said he was working to identify “basic ASEAN positions on the South China Sea”, which would dispel the perception that the 10-member group is divided. “We are now on the cusp of formalising this consensus,” Natalegawa said.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Israeli president calls for Arab League peacekeeping force in Syria – People’s Daily|Xinhua (China), July19, 2012 – Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday called to send an Arab League peacekeeping force to Syria to end the country’s deepening crisis.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: In Spite of Keystone XL, U.S.-Canada Relations on track – Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Canada), July 19, 2012 – [Canada's Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer] did say there are still some minor “irritants” that the two countries need to work on. First and foremost is President Barack Obama’s delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oilsands bitumen from Alberta through several states to Texas for refining.
[Although there is nothing wrong with pipelines per se, the Keystone pipeline must be seen in its context as part of the North American regional infrastructure project, just as is occurring in all the other geopolitical regions of the world, including: the African Union, ASEAN, GCC, SAARC, and UNASUR. Obama, like Romney, is a true globalist and is only posturing for the environmentalist vote, just as he did for the antiwar vote during his first campaign. He will reverse course on the pipeline completion if he is reelected.]

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Banking union is a priority, says IMF
- Financial Times (London), July 19, 2012 (Google link) – The International Monetary Fund has called on the eurozone to make banking union its priority….“The immediate priority for the eurozone is to establish a banking union and move toward more fiscal integration,” said Mahmood Pradhan, a deputy director in the IMF’s European department and mission chief for the euro area.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: African Union’s Dlamini-Zuma calls for political and economic unity – London Guardian, July 18, 2012 – In a call for unity she invoked the founders of the Organisation of African Unity – the AU’s predecessor, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year – saying those “heroes and heroines who were pan-Africans held a vision of a united economically and politically emancipated continent at peace with itself and the world”.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Tsarukian’s Party Backs Armenian Accession To ‘Eurasian Union’ – ArmenianLiberty.org, July 19, 2012 – Armenia’s second most important parliamentary party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian said on Wednesday that it supports, in principle, the country’s accession to a Russian-led “Eurasian Union” of former Soviet republics.

GCC flagisrael-flagGCC & ISRAEL?: New Alliance For A New Middle East – The Jewish Week Interviews Ephraim Sneh – Jewish Week, July 17, 2012 – This alliance of Jordan-Israel-Palestine, the Gulf Cooperation Council states [Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates] would form a new axis in the region from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. They share a concern of Iran and radical Islam, and they have a commitment to the Middle East based on peace, economic development and their friendship with Western democracies.
Ephraim Sneh, a retired general in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), served as a deputy minister of defense. A physician, Sneh, 67, was also elected to the Knesset in 1992 as a member of the Labor Party and later served both as minister of health and transportation.
Privatizing the Gulf – Project Syndicate, July17, 2012 – If Gulf leaders are serious about avoiding social unrest, they should take advantage of gains from today’s high oil prices to finance labor-market and intellectual-property reforms, thereby encouraging private-sector growth and providing greater opportunity for all.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Observers decry Canada-US plan to allow personal info to be sent abroad
- Embassy (Canada), July 18, 2012 – A chorus of criticism is building against Canada over its deal with the United States to permit the sharing of personal information gathered at the border with third countries—in some cases without informing the other government until after the fact.
Trade relations still in good shape – Regina Leader-Post, July 18, 2012 – Initiatives, such as the Smart Border and Beyond the Border strategy, which seek to streamline crossborder trade and traffic, while improving security perimeter around the two countries, will only enhance that relationship…

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: European Commission Proposes Sweeping Human Drug Clinical Research Reform – Virtual-Strategy Magazine, July 18, 2012 – The proposed legislation will replace the ”Clinical Trials Directive” of 2001, and will take the form of a Regulation, which under European law is the equivalent of a federal statute that preempts state laws….Trials run across several countries have faced particular problems, often having to go face differing bureaucratic hurdles for approval at the national level…
US model for Europe?- MENAFN – Khaleej Times, July 17, 2012 – Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is not the only European convinced that the European crisis, now a political as well as economic crisis, can only be solved by pressing forward – ever forward! – to an ever more closely unified European Union, with ever-strengthened institutions of federalism and centralised authority.
ASEAN: No, fear of China isn’t what’s driving U.S. policy in Asia  – CNN, July 17, 2012 – China characterizes U.S. involvement in the South China Seas disputes – or any other regional problem in which it has a stake – as part of a strategy to contain China. The illogic of that claim, given tens of billions of dollars of U.S. investment and hundreds of billions of U.S. trade, doesn’t register.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: Arab League urges int”l probe over Arafat”s death- Kuwait News Agency, July 17, 2012- The Arab League Council called here Tuesday for an independent and neutral UN committee to look into the death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Group says streamlining border could save billions – Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (Canada), July 16, 2012 – Border delays, duplicate inspections and loads of paper work at the U.S.-Canada border could be costing Canadians more than $16 billion per year, according to representatives from Beyond the Border, an agreement aimed at aligning Canadian and U.S. regulations in order to facilitate the flow of cross-border goods and services.
["Efficiency" is the bottom line for today's international business interests that have been heavily lobbying for a breakdown of national borders for decades. They need a refresher course in human nature and civics: National borders sacrifice a certain amount of business "efficiency" for national security, as the nation-state is the ultimate check against an "efficient" consolidation of power.]
Integrated cross border security threatens independent sovereignty OurWindsor.ca (Ontario), July 16, 2012 – Yes, you did read that right. While this is restricted to Canadian waters, United States officials will be able to cross the border, while armed, with the power to arrest suspects in Canadian territory. It should be noted that the converse to the situation also applies: RCMP officers have the ability to be stationed with U.S. officers on patrol, with the ability to pursue suspects into American territory.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE: ICC warns against Israeli incursions into the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque - Bahrain News Agency, July 17, 2012 – The [Islamic-Christian Commission] demanded from the Pontiff of the Vatican, all Arab and Islamic countries, all concerned organizations, including the United Nations, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the Arab League, to immediately intervene in order to stop the incursion of the Israeli-occupation authorities and to salvage the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: SA will need to build bridges at the African Union  – Mail & Guardian (South Africa), July 17, 2012 – “There is a misconception as we embrace this national celebratory mood. We over-exaggerate,” said Shadrack Gutto, professor of African Renaissance Studies at Unisa. “This is a SADC [Southern African Development Community] nominee … this is an elected person who is now the servant of all Africans.”
South Africa: AU – Dr Dlamini-Zuma Must Repair Regional Rifts – AllAfrica, July 16, 2012 – Dr Dlamini-Zuma will be at the helm of an organisation that has been deeply divided by the race for its top job in a global arena where regionalism is fast overtaking continentalism as a basis for multilateral action. She will have to bring her considerable diplomatic skills to bear to repair regional rifts whilst quashing fears of South African hegemony from rising African powers such as Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt.
African Leaders Vow to Improve Trade Ties with China – China Radio International, July 17, 2012 – African leaders said the African Union’s (AU) policy of improving the bloc’s international relations has contributed to the closer cooperation with China, and ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] would continue strengthening ties with Chinese investors through direct meetings.

GCC flagGCC – ‘GULF UNION’: GCC economies only make up 2% of world’s GDP  -  Al Bawaba (Jordan) July 16, 2012 – Dr Al Shaikh asserted that global and regional economic and security conditions make it imperative for countries of the Gulf region to surmount formalities such as bickering about hosting of the Gulf Union’s head offices.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: How attractive is Asean to S Korea?  – The Nation (Thailand), July 17, 2012 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has maintained a steady share of South Korea’s trade, backed by strong economic growth and common strategic interests. In turn, Korea has cooperated closely with Asean, attending the Asean+3 Summit and signing a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the bloc.
Closer ASEAN ties will boost our clout - The Australian, July 17, 2012 – ASEAN may well be the answer: the regional organisation that is code for Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the other Southeast Asian countries that are our nearest Asian neighbours. We hear too little of ASEAN these days, but it is significant – a combined population of 613 million (India has just under 1.2 billion) and a total GDP of $US2.1 trillion ($2 trillion). India’s is $US1.8 trillion.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: US Marines teach riot control techniques to West African nations – defenceWeb, July 16, 2012 – All the nations participating in Western Accord 2012 belong to the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] — a united front of African nations that have banded together for common economic benefit.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Africa Seeks Expanded Cooperation with China in Infrastructure, Energy, Says COMESA – People’s Daily (China), July 16, 2012 – Africa plans to build a trans-continent highway and railroad network, and hopes China will actively take part in some of the projects, said [Sindiso Ngwenya, secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa]…

SAARC FlagSAARC: GL calls for removal of non tariff barriers within SAARC region  – The Island (Sri Lanka), July 16, 2012 – External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris on Friday implored the SAARC Chamber of Commerce to help remove non tariff barriers within the SAARC region….Prof. Peiris also attributed the barriers as high customs duties, total lack of uniformity on customs classifications, a plethora of conflicting practices in licensing, registration and health requirements, laboratories for testing, quality standards which today were very cumbersome, the lack of uniformity of the banking procedures, transport, cargo clearance and boundaries to the dismal trade performance within the region.
India, Pakistan explore ways to boost petroleum trade
  – The Hindu, July 16, 2012 – It was decided that before operationalising a formal trade in petroleum products, harmonisation and recognition of standards/procedures and regulatory framework in vogue need to be examined in detail.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE:Iran Offers To Host Syria Talks  – KERO23 | CNN, July16, 2012 – [Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi] emphasized that Iran supports the six-point plan proposed by Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Asian businesses seek closer regional integration – China Post, July 16, 2012 – Leading Asian businesspeople called for deepening integration in finance, trade and investment among East Asian countries to combat the European sovereign debt crisis and financial uncertainty, which is casting a shadow over the world econom

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