News Archive September 16 – 30, 2012

AFRICAN UNION:
Regional blocs seek to remove trade barriers
The Standard (Zimbabwe), September 30, 2012 – The establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was endorsed by African Union leaders at a summit in January to boost intra-Africa trade. Sadc [Southern African Development Community], Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC) have combined forces to establish a tripartite FTA by 2014.
ECOWAS, World Bank to deepen cooperation – Afriquejet, September 30, 2012 – Overall, the Bank is supporting ECOWAS through the Implementation Action Plan of the Regional Integration Assistance Strategy (RIAS) under a cross-cutting theme – Connecting Regional and National Planning – anchored on three pillars: development of regional infrastructure, institutional cooperation for economic integration and coordinated intervention to private regional public goods.
Kaberuka urges EA countries to join $22 billion infrastructure bond – IPP Media (Tanzania), September 30, 2012 – The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Donald Kaberuka, has asked the five partner states of the East African Community to join the bank’s proposed $22billion Africa infrastructure bond.

UNASUR, ARAB LEAGUE:
ASPA Summit to strenghten Unasur, Arab League relation
Andina (Peru), September 30, 2012 – The Third Summit of South American and Arab Countries (ASPA), to be held in Peru on 1 and 2 October, will be an opportunity for “a new approach” between South American and Arab leaders, the Brazilian government said Saturday.

EUROPEAN UNION, ARAB LEAGUE:
Report: Arab League, EU envoys to meet in Cairo – Ma’an News Agency, September 30, 2012 – The summit, to be held at the League’s headquarters, will discuss relations between the two regions, newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm said.

UNASUR:
Chavez rattled by heart-throb rival
The Independent (London), September 30, 2012 – Opposition activists claim, without offering evidence, that Chavez would do anything to stay in power, from vote-rigging to sending armed supporters into the streets….Unasur group of South American nations is sending observers.

NORTH AMERICA:
Canada and the United States Announce Phase I Pilot Project to Enhance Border Security at Land Ports of Entry
U.S. Politics Today, September29, 2012 – “The sharing of entry and exit information will facilitate the legitimate flow of traffic between the U.S. and Canada while strengthening border security,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner, David V. Aguilar. “This pilot is an important step forward in the shared perimeter vision.”

UNASUR:
At UN debate, Latin American ministers call for Security Council reform, veto limits
UN News Centre, February 28, 2012 – Chile’s Foreign Minister, Alfredo Moreno Charme….reiterated his country’s support for expanding the Council with both permanent and non-permanent seats so that it ensures due regional representation…
Paraguay never accept the intervention of foreign powers in its internal affairs – La Nacion (Paraguay), September 29, 2012 (Google translation) – “Paraguay is in a difficult international situation created by neighbors, members of MERCOSUR and UNASUR….In violation of international treaties, these countries have tried to establish itself as guardians of democracy in Paraguay, leaving aside the principle of nonintervention…”

GCC:
US pushing Gulf nations to develop missile defense
The Daily Star (Lebanon), September 29, 2012 – “It’s the United States’ goal, to encourage the GCC countries to develop this missile defense architecture, because… to truly protect the region by missile defense, it requires a regional approach,” a senior US official said ahead of talks with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.
Welcome Iraq into the Neighborhood
The National Interest, September 29, 2012 – U.S. military assistance to Iraq should be part of a broader regional security-cooperation strategy that aims to incorporate Iraq into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

SAARC:
Malik proposes SAARC Bank to promote regional trade
Pakistan Observer, September 29, 2012 – The SAARC member states need to develop a Bank to enhance mutual cooperation and provide facility for letter of credit on fast track for the businessmen, Minister for Interior, Rehman Malik proposed.

ARAB LEAGUE:
A war is raging against free speech
CNN, September 28, 2012 – In the view of some Arab and Muslim leaders, the time has come to draft new international rules limiting free expression for the sake of preventing insults to religions. The head of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, called for “criminaliz(ing) acts that insult or cause offense to religions.”

EUROPEAN UNION:
European Union moves step closer to non-Russia gas link-up
Gulf Times (Qatar), September 29, 2012 – Europe moved a step closer to loosening Russia’s grip on European Union energy supplies after Italy, Albania and Greece signed an agreement supporting the construction of a pipeline to deliver gas from Azerbaijan.

ASEAN:
Yingluck calls for regional unity in UN speech
The Nation (Thailand), September 29, 2012 – Yingluck met with Myanmar President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week to discuss ways to bring about the Dawei Special Economic Zone in Myanmar to promote connectivity and development in Asean.

EURASIAN UNION:
Kiev signs CIS free trade agreement
Press TV, September 28, 2012 – Russia’s officials may consider Ukraine’s joining to the CIS Tree trade deal as a sign of the state’s readiness to join the Russia’s Customs Union and Eurasian Union.

NORTH AMERICA – ‘BEYOND THE BORDER’ AGREEMENT GOES SOUTH:
U.S., Mexico Strengthen Trade Ties to Support Growth
According to the Commerce Department, the proposed framework is designed to enhance economic competitiveness while augmenting security and public safety by increasing border capacity; expanding trusted traveler and shipper programs; and exploring opportunities for pre-clearance, pre-inspection and pre-screening processes for commercial goods and travelers.

EUROPEAN UNION OR EURASIAN UNION?
More reform, more support: EU allocates more money to Armenia in exchange for democratic reforms
ArmeniaNow, September 28, 2012 – Against the background of Armenia’s activating its European integration processes and Russia’s increasingly demanding Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Union, Brussels has decided to move from promises to action.

SAARC:
Malik urges SAARC countries for legislation to stop blasphemous acts
Associated Press of Pakistan, September 27, 2012 – Minister for Interior, Abdul Rehman Malik on Wednesday urged the SAARC countries to make legislation to stop blasphemous acts against each other religion and their prophets/ holy personalities.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League calls for criminalisation of blasphemy
Khaleej Times (UAE), September 27, 2012 – The head of the Arab League called on Wednesday for the international community to criminalise blasphemy, warning that insults to religion pose a serious threat to global peace and security.
World Powers Urge Syria Opposition to Unite – ABC News, September 27, 2012 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hosting talks among the Friends of Syria — a coalition which includes the United States, the European Union and the Arab League — on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, seeking to encourage better cooperation among groups which oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad.

GCC:
U.S., Gulf countries agree to strengthen trade ties
“This important trade and investment agreement will help to grow and strengthen our economic ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a key strategic U.S. partner in the Middle East and North Africa region,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said….The new regional forum will complement the existing bilateral pacts, USTR said.

ASEAN:
Philippines supports unified ASEAN visa
Rappler, September 27, 2012 – To entice more tourists to visit the Philippines, the Department of Tourism is supporting the move for a unified visa for foreigners traveling to countries that are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Asean law makers support ‘Asean Community’ target in 2015 – Philippine Information Agency, September 27, 2012 – Law makers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have affirmed their support for the attainment of One Asean Community in 2015.

GCC:
Meet adopts tech aspects of GCC railway project – Oman Daily Observer, Septemer 16, 2012 – The meeting adopted the technical specifications booklet of the GCC railway project, which links the capitals of the GCC countries from Kuwait to Muscat

ARAB LEAGUE:
Clinton, Secretary General Elaraby On U.S.-Arab League Agreement
AllAfrica, September 26, 2012 – SECRETARY CLINTON: “….I believe in the potential of multilateral organizations, and as Secretary of State, I have made it a priority to deepen our engagement with regional organizations that are playing a growing role in world events, from the African Union to ASEAN to the Arab League.”
Arab League urges criminalization of blasphemy – Washington Post, September 26, 2012 – The head of the Arab League called Wednesday for the international community to criminalize blasphemy, warning that insults to religion pose a serious threat to global peace and security.

EUROPEAN UNION, AFRICAN UNION
European Union donates 82 million euros to AMISOM
Sabahi, September 26, 2012 – The European Union pledged 82 million euros ($105.6 million) on Tuesday (September 25th) in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
[The Sabahi web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command.]
COMESA mulls 1 bln USD infrastructure fund – Daily Monitor (Uganda) | Xinhua (China), September 26, 2012 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says the funds to be raised would help meet infrastructure challenges faced by countries in the economic bloc…

EURASIAN UNION
Putin’s Advance Team Preps Tajikistan for Customs Union
EurasiaNet, September 26, 2012 – Putin has touted the Customs Union as the backbone of his proposed Eurasian Union, a sort of Soviet Union-lite, to start in 2015.

SAARC:
Malik for joint efforts of SAARC countries to eliminate terrorism
Online News (Pakistan), September 26, 2012 – Interior Minister A Rehman Malik has tressed the need for joint efforts of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to eliminate terrorism.
Pakistani envoy seeks to improve country’s perception abroad
Business Recorder (Pakistan), September 26, 2012 – Pakistan, due to its geo-strategic location, could act as trade corridor between Middle East, African, Central Asian Republics and Saarc countries.

AFRICAN UNION – INFRASTRUCTURE:
Africa aims to implement 15 cross-border energy projects worth $40.5bn by 2020
Engineering News, September 25, 2012 – The project portfolio, which has been identified and selected partly on the basis of the projects’ ability to enhance cross-border energy-market development, embraces nine hydroelectricity generation developments, four transmission corridors and two pipelines, one for oil and the other for gas.

UNASUR:
Argentina, Venezuela to build trainer jet
UPI, September 25, 2012 – Argentina and Venezuela will collaborate to build a trainer jet for deployment in member countries of the Union of South American States, officials said.

NORTH AMERICA:
Trade corridors need protection from protectionism
Winnipeg Free Press, September 25, 2012 – Improving transportation for the flow of people and movement of goods is the focus of this week’s meeting in Winnipeg of the North American Corridor Coalition (NASCO), the tri-national association of heartland states and provinces, cities and business that support more than a trillion dollars in continental commerce.The infrastructure that serves our production chains — our roads and rail lines, our sea and airports, our power grids and pipelines that fuel our factories and offices — must link seamlessly.
[NASCO was one of the original point organizations pushing the North American Highway system, as shown in their illustration from a few years ago. At that time, the idea of a North American Highway was derided as a "conspiracy theory," and many politicians denied the plan's existence, but it is now is admitted and openly advocated by globalists. The highway is part of a North American infrastructure plan that includes railroads, pipelines and utility grids. The Keystone XL pipeline is part of the network.]

 

 

EUROPEAN UNION:
Euro Zone Considers Central Budget to Fix Cracks
Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2012 – Debate has now shifted to a centralized budget for the euro zone that could be financed by rerouting a slice of national taxes, such as corporate tax or value-added tax, to Brussels, rather than issuing euro bonds, according to European officials.

EURASIAN UNION:
Lukashenko demands GRP growth by 8.5% and inflation by 12%
Telegraf.by (Belarus), September 25, 2012 – President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko approved the most crucial forecast factors for the social and economic development of the Republic of Belarus for 2013….Next year a set of measures for integration of banking systems of Belarus and Russia, member countries of the Eurasian Economic Community and other CIS countries is being provided.

GCC, ARAB LEAGUE:
France praises GCC, Arab League role in helping with crisis resolution
Kuwait News Agency, September 25, 2012 – He said the “general theme” of the meeting Wednesday was under “Chapter VIII” of the UN charter which governs “the role of regional organisations in international peace and security” and the inclusion of these organisations was “one of the objectives of the United Nations Charter.”
Annual U.S.-Arab League Dialogue Launched – RTT News, September 26, 2012 – US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and League of Arab States Secretary General Nabil Elaraby on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a framework for future dialogue and technical cooperation between the United States and the Arab League.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Summit plans to lobby for religious insults ban
Daily Star (Lebanon), September 25, 2012 – A spiritual summit of Lebanese Christian and Muslims leaders decided Monday to form a committee to lobby the United Nations and Arab League to pass resolutions protecting monotheistic religions in the wake of the anti-Islam movie that sparked protests in dozens of countries.

EUROPEAN UNION:
EU in Final Phase of Destroying Democracy, Czech President Warns
The New American, September 24, 2012 – As European Union bosses now openly push for the complete elimination of national sovereignty in favor of a so-called “federation” with its own army, liberty-minded Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus warned that the destruction of democracy and the nation-state within the EU has entered its final phases.
An Elected European President?
Project Syndicate, September 24, 2012 – If the European Parliament serves as a quasi-electoral college that determines the presidential appointment, voters might care more about Europe – and support further integration.

UNASUR:
Paraguay To Expose Dispute With Mercosur Before UN General Assembly
Bernama (Malaysia), September 25, 2012 – Franco said he will state that Paraguay was “illegally and illegitimately” suspended by Mercosur and Unasur (Union of South American Nations) when addressing the UN General Assembly next Thursday.

EURASIAN UNION:
Russia’s Eurasian Union: A Bid For Hegemony? – Analysis
Eurasia Review, September 24, 2012 – Russia’s Eurasian Union is a manifest bid for the establishment of Russia as the only Eurasian superpower whose influence equally stretches to the West and to the East.

AFRICAN UNION:
Africa Must Pursue Comprehensive Regional Trade Policies – Ethiopian Industry Minister
African Union (AU) Commission Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwencha said….there was a need for Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to present Action Plans which could contribute towards the Road Map establishing the continental free trade area (CFTA) by 2017.
Al Shabaab rebels surrender to AU troops
South African Broadcasting Corporation, September 24, 2012 – The African Union (AU) expects more militants to give themselves up. Some have already turned against their group.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Chairperson-Elect in New York
StarAfrica, September 24, 2012 – The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, and the Chairperson-Elect, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are in New York. They will both participate in a series of meetings and activities on the margins of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

EUROPEAN UNION:
First Swansea UKIP branch to target energy fears
South Wales Evening Post, September 24, 2012 – The UK Independence Party has taken its first stride into Swansea by forming a city branch….Newly-appointed branch secretary Andrew Woods said: “Ultimately, we are against being dictated to by the European Union, but our goal is to focus on local, community issues….”

World Leaders Rally for Blasphemy Laws
FrontPage Magazine, September 24, 2012 – [Arab League Secretary General Nabil] al-Araby, EU [European Union] High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and AU [African Union] Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra issued a joint statement on the eve of Muslim Friday prayers….“While fully recognizing freedom of expression,” the statement stressed the “importance of respecting all prophets, regardless of which religion they belong to.”

EUROPEAN UNION:
Major new drive to claw back powers from EU ‘superstate’
The Telegraph (London), September 22, 2012 – Last week Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, set the middle of 2014 as a target for achieving plans to turn the EU into a “federation of nation states” – a move which would be likely to see such sweeping transfers of sovereignty that it would trigger a referendum in Britain under new laws passed by the coalition.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League revitalized by Arab Spring revolts
Boston Herald | Associated Press, September 22, 2012 – “Will there ever be an effective Arab security council? An Arab court of justice? Genuine economic integration?”

UNASUR:
Ali Rodriguez Araque: The Unasur is the search for identity latinoméricana
TeleSUR TV, September 22, 2012 (Google translation) – Unasur is the result of a long process….not [to] constitute separate nations by themselves but, as expected Bolivar Spanish America, [to] form a single nation. [Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Ali Rodriguez Araque]

EUROPEAN UNION:
China vows ongoing support to resolve euro crisis
Botswana Gazette, September 22, 2012 – Premier Wen Jiabao told EU and Chinese business leaders that Beijing had continued purchases of European government bonds in recent months and discussed cooperation with the new eurozone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

REGION-BUILDING THE AFRICAN UNION:
U.S. Supports Development of Peacekeeping Capacity in Africa
The assistant secretary said the centerpiece of the U.S. effort is the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program….Through ACOTA, the U.S. government has contributed more than $355 million to support the African Union mission in Somalia…
East Africa: Regional Communications Body Sets Up Secretariat in Kigali – All-Africa, September 21, 2012 – EACO is a regional body that brings together regulatory, postal, telecommunications and broadcasting organisations in the East African Community (EAC).
UN Security Council says it will consider backing West African intervention force in Mali – Washington Post | Associated Press, September 21, 2012 – The Economic Community of West African States, known as ECOWAS, has planned the force for months but had been told by the Security Council that it had to wait for a formal request from Mali’s interim government before submitting a proposal.

UNASUR:
Argentina unveils new coin commemorating 30th anniversary of its Falklands invasion
Daily Mail (London), September 21, 2012 – The reverse of the coin also features the crest of Unasur, the Union of South American Nations, over a map of the Falkland Islands with the two dates above and below.

SAARC – TRADE & INFRASTRUCTURE:
India, Pakistan frame long-term plan to boost economic ties
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has also offered to work with Pakistan in setting up 500-2,000 megawatts (MW) capacity in coal, hydro or gas power plants. India has also indicated its willingness to cooperate with Pakistan in areas of wind and solar energy and offered to supply as many as 100 locomotives to Pakistan Railways.

EURASIAN UNION:
Putin Lauds Armenia’s ‘Achievements’
Armenia Liberty, September 21, 2012 – Yerevan had reportedly faced growing Russian pressure to pledge support for what Kremlin critics claim is an attempt to recreate much of the ex-USSR.

ARAB LEAGUE:
UN hosts conference on Jewish refugees
Ynet News (Israel), September 21, 2012 – A first-of-its-kind event focusing on Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries was launched Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York, despite strong Arab pressure.

NORTH AMERICA:
A pan-Canadian pipeline? No, thanks.
iPolitics (Canada), September 21, 2012 – North American energy independence, in addition to the perimeter security deal currently being implemented, would be the perfect precondition for joint North American foreign policy ventures….

EUROPEAN UNION:
Ukraine calls on EU to anchor it to the West
EurActiv, September 21, 2012 – Ukraine’s envoy to the European Union pleaded for the EU to sign an Association Agreement to anchor his country to the West if next month’s parliamentary elections are shown to be free and fair….“If we sign the Association Agreement, we will stop the discussion whether Ukraine is going East or West….”

EURASIAN UNION:
Ukraine must choose beween West or Russia: Polish leader
The Financial (Ukraine), September 21, 2012 – Ukraine’s Soviet-era master Russia has been pushing for closer ties, hoping Kiev could one day join a so-called Eurasian Union, a project championed by Moscow ‘s President Vladimir Putin.
Moldova — At the crossroads between Russia and the European Union – Digital Journal, September 20, 2012 – Russia has significant strategic interests in Moldova. Russia has already outlined its aims to create a Eurasian Union, an economic and political entity comprising many of the members of the former Soviet Union and centered around Moscow.
News Flash for the Pentagon: U.S.–Russian “Reset” Failed – The Foundary (Heritage Foundation), September 20, 2012 – Putin is now further deeping and expanding the Russian sphere of influence, pursuing a political contraption called the Eurasian Union. It would institutionalize Moscow’s clout over its neighbors.
Russia bolsters influence in Kyrgyzstan as US nears airbase exit – Christian Science Monitor, September 20, 2012 – Growing Russian influence tracks well with Putin’s aim of creating a Eurasian Union of former Soviet states to offset US influence and restore some of the economic and strategic synergies that Russia lost when the USSR was disbanded two decades ago.
Russia resumes cooperation with world’s most isolated country – Pravda (Russia), September 20, 2012 – Russia made it clear that it was ready for partnership. But will the courage of Moscow return North Korea into the ranks of the allies?

ASEAN:
Korea’s first envoy to ASEAN vows to deepen cooperation
Korea Times, September 21, 2012 – Korea’s first ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said Friday that he will spare no effort to deepen bilateral cooperation with the 10-member regional bloc, hoping it will help ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

SAARC:
Saarc CCI hails Indo-Pak gestures
Business Recorder (Pakistan), September 21, 2012 – Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President Saarc CCI said that implementation of the agreements related to customs co-operation, mutual recognition of required standards and the mechanism to address grievances will help boost trade between the two countries manifold and new Visa Policy will help deepen socio-economic integration.

GCC:
Parliamentary team from GCC meets EU chiefs
Khaleej Times, September 21, 2012 – A number of issues relating to the setting up of the AGCC Union and the latest developments in the Arab region were discussed in the meetings. Other topics discussed include the blasphemous film on Prophet Muhammad

AFRICAN UNION:
Ghanaian Heads African Court In Tanzania
GhanaWeb, September 20, 2012 – The court is made up of eleven judges drawn from countries which are member states of the African Union.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League eyes blasphemy bill, Syria solution
Egypt Independent, September 19, 2012 – Arab League chief Nabil al-Araby said Wednesday that the league, along with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the European Union and the African Union are close to formulating an international agreement penalizing blasphemy and insults to religious figures.
Innocence of Muslims Protests: Hezbollah and Arab League Demand Global Blasphemy Ban – International Business Times, September 20, 2012
EUROPEAN UNION, GCC:
EU Parliament President : For us relations with GCC of highest importance – Kuwait News Agency, September 19, 2012 – …President of the European Parliament, Marin Schulz,…discussed political, economic and parliamentary relations between the two sides….”We agreed about the necessary condemnation of the blasphemous and humiliating anti Islam movie….”

AFRICAN UNION:
World Bank: Africa Must Integrate to Promote Food Security
This Day (Nigeria), September 19, 2012 – “This is not as easy as it sounds–it took decades for Europe to do it. But it is beginning to happen–keep an eye on the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).”
African Union takes over hunt for elusive rebel Joseph Kony
AFP, September 19, 2012 – Olum said that the Ugandan military on Tuesday handed over command of some 2,000 troops to the AU at a ceremony at their base in Nzara, South Sudan.
‘I go as a servant of Africa’ – Independent (South Africa), September 19, 2012 – Dlamini Zuma said her priorities would include resolving conflicts, promoting education and women’s rights, and integrating trade and infrastructure across Africa. She has in recent weeks voiced support for giving the Pan-African Parliament legislative powers.
Regional integration: ECOWAS stresses importance of citizen participation – Afriquejet, September 20, 2012 – “We are strongly convinced that with enlightened, mobilised, proactive and engaged citizens interacting in our 15 member states, in a sustainable manner, our collective goal of regional integration will be achieved,” he said, adding that this was in line with the transformation from “an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples.” Saying ECOWAS Vision 2020 is clear in its intention, Dr. McIntosh noted: “Together, we want to create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region.”

EURASIAN UNION:
Bishkek hands Putin Kyrgyz independence
Asia Times (Hong Kong), September 20, 2012 – Its leaders’ freedom of action and sovereignty will be increasingly limited by a “big-brother” sitting miles away in Moscow, just as in former Soviet times. After all, that is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s idea of creating a Eurasian Union if not to restore the former Soviet Union.
International and interregional aspects of Eurasian integration – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), September 20, 2012 – Are Russia and Kazakhstan ready to pay for integration processes in the post-Soviet space? I.e. to play the role of Germany and France in support of our Greeces. It is a serious question, and it is difficult to answer it.
Belarus aims for productive relations with Russia – Law.by (Belarus), September 19, 2012 – In late November a joint session of the boards of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Foreign Ministry will take place in line with the program of concerted actions in the area of foreign policy of the Customs Union member states.

NORTH AMERICA:
Consumer Groups Ask USDA to Halt Pilot Program to Lessen Canadian Border Inspection
Food Safety News, September 19, 2012 – Some members of the Safe Food Coalition are voicing concerns about a pilot program that would eliminate traditional border inspection of certain meat products coming from Canada….Food & Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America, and the National Consumers League said they were surprised and concerned to learn that the Beyond the Border Action Plan — a joint declaration by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to enhance trade between the U.S. and Canada — included a pilot program that impacted food safety.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Rail Companies in Mad Rush to Meet Demand for Domestic Crude Oil – Daily Finance (AOL), September 18, 2012 – [Kansas City Southern's] 2005 acquisition of Mexico’s largest railroad, Grupo Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana, created a NAFTA railway that linked commercial and industrial centers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

EUROPEAN UNION – GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
Landmark EU-GCC parliamentary meeting
Kuwait News Agency, September 18, 2012 – A parliamentary delegation from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold its first ever meeting with the Parliament of the 27-member European Union in Brussels on Wednesday to strengthen the partnerships between the two regional blocs.
GCC countries coordinate to unify stocks, bonds listing – QCB chief – Kuwait News Agency, September 18, 2012 – Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al-Thani, in the first session of the 2012 Capital Markets Conference, said authorities supervising stock markets in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were working to unify and organize the listing in the common Gulf market.

NATO, GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL & ISRAEL:
NATO: secret mission in Syria

Voice of Russia, September 18, 2012 – Rick Rozoff spoke to the Voice of Russia’s John Robles regarding the recent “quiet” of NATO….
At the same time another NATO official talked about closer cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council….I read somewhere that someone was calling for Israel to join NATO. Is that realistic do you think?
There was an article…in Haaretz, the leading Israeli daily newspaper, calling for just that – for the formal inclusion of Israel into the NATO vis-à-vis the confrontation with Iran which would inevitably then pull the entire NATO alliance…

ASEAN:
INFRASTRUCTURE: B2 trillion bill close to consideration
Bangkok Post, September 19, 2012 – Dr Somchai said 60% would be allocated for the rail network that will link mainland Asean, and the rest will power generation and upgrade of IT customs systems at border checkpoints to enable shipping in advance of the Asean Economic Community.

AFRICAN UNION:
$10bn Earmarked For ECOWAS I’ntl Market
Leadership Newspapers (Nigeria), September 19, 2012 – In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, it stated that in the spirit of ECOWAS protocol and convention to facilitate trade and commerce among the West African communities, the 15 state member countries had ratified the implementation of free movement of persons and goods among the communities.
ECOWAS MEMBER STATES URGED TO REVOLUTIONIZE CRIME CONTROL – Ms. Elizabeth Kuteesa, Director, National Central Bureaus and Regional Police Services, INTERPOL….called for a review of the traditional crime fighting strategies and the need to “look beyond our individual institutions and national jurisdictions when responding to the evolving challenges.”

PIF:
Preparations Underway for Pacific Plan Review
Solomon Times (Solomon Islands), September 17, 2012 – Work is now underway at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to prepare for a review of the Pacific Plan. The Review was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their annual meeting held last month in the Cook Islands.
[As a “living document,” the Pacific Plan is taylor-made for revision to accommodate deeper integration and incremental erosion of national sovereignty as PIF regional jurisdiction increases.]

EURASIAN UNION:
Russia’s ‘big bang’ in Central Asia
Asia Times (Hong Kong), September 18, 2012 – Evidently, the expectation is to create a broad-based political platform that brings together the political elites on a regular basis on the pattern of the European Parliament for harmonizing various national interests and formulating common positions and policies. Russia has thoughtfully mooted Astana as the seat of the proposed Eurasian Parliament.
Must we choose between gas and the EU?- Presseurop (France), September 17, 2012 – Moldova faces a cruel dilemma. Moscow is putting increasing pressure on the former Soviet Republic to withdraw from an energy cooperation agreement signed in 2011 with the EU. In exchange, it is proposing a 30% rebate on Russian-supplied gas….Moscow appears to be pushing Chisinau to turn towards the Eurasian Union promoted by Russian President Vladimir Putin rather than towards the EU.
Speech by Minister-Counselor Dmitry Borodin (meeting with Dutch businessmen) – Embassy of Russia, September 17, 2012 – “By 1 January 2015 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan intend to create the Eurasian Economic Union which will be the next step in economic integration between them. It will include agreements on a balanced macroeconomic, fiscal and competition policy, structural reforms of the labour, capital, goods and services markets, creation of Eurasian energy, transport and telecommunications networks.”

NORTH AMERICA:
PTDI benefits from harmonized regulations
Commercial Carrier Journal, September 17, 2012 – “Today, I see PTDI [Professional Truck Driver Institute] certification as even more relevant for us as a Canadian school with the increasing competition, the changes in regulation and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which means there’s a lot more harmonization of standards between the two countries. Our students are prepared to cross over the border and drive in the states because our program covers all the U.S. requirements and regulations.”

AFRICAN UNION:
East Africa: Single Customs Territory Delayed
AllAfrica, September 17, 2012 – …East Africa should start thinking as a region and not country since it is crucial to the attainment of a single customs territory….”Regional integration in general and the realization of a single customs territory in particular, will be achieved when the states and the elected leaders show leadership often against fierce domestic resistance.”
Region Needs U.S. $175 Million for Infrastructure – AllAfrica, September 17, 2012 – The East African Community has presented a budget of U.S. $175m to the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a possibility of funding for selected infrastructure projects in the region….”Cross-border infrastructure is one of the biggest non tariff barriers,” Amb. Sezibera remarked, adding, it is a big challenge for EAC, COMESA and IGAD that they plan to address collectively.

UNASUR:
Spain Dumps Paraguay From Ibero-American Summit
Bernama (Malaysia), September 18, 2012 – Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America, Jesus Garcia arrived last Wednesday to Asunción to try and convince Paraguay not to attend the Cadiz summit, November 16/17, since his presence would be rejected by several presidents….Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur until April next year, a decision also supported by the Union of South American Nations, Unasur…

REGION-BUILDING THE AFRICAN UNION:
Assessing U.S. Policy on Peacekeeping Operations in Africa
StarAfrica|African Press Organization, September 16, 2012 – Testemony of Johnnie Carson. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, Washington, DC, September 13, 2012 – Our joint support is not restricted to just AMISOM, however. We are heavily engaged in building African peacekeeping capacity at three different levels: at the level of the AU’s headquarters, at the level of sub-regional organizations, and at the level of individual member states.
DRC force ready in three months – The Southern Times (Namibia), September 17, 2012 – An International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) meeting in Uganda last week has called on regional defence ministers to work towards the deployment of a peacekeeping force to the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] within the next three months….In a statement released after the meeting, the ICGLR said the international force would be “deployed under the mandate of the African Union and the United Nations”.

EURASIAN UNION:
Vice PM of Russia: Ukraine will get cheap gas, if joins the Customs Union
ForUm (Ukraine), September 17, 2012 – “….If Ukraine wants profitable (gas) relations with Russia, perhaps it needs to join the Customs Union.”

EUROPEAN UNION:
EU Urges Gazprom to Comply With Its Rules
Moscow Times, September 16, 2012 – Russia must abide by the European Union ‘s internal market rules and stop offering widely varying prices to its member states, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League customs commitee meetings kick off
Kuwait News Agency, September 16, 2012 – The two-day meetings will implement development mechansisms in the framework of the Arab Customs Union and issues of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA)

EURASIAN UNION & THE RUSSIAN PIVOT TO PACIFIC:
A tale of two pivots to Asia-Pacific
China Daily, September 15, 2012 – Obama’s empty chair in Vladivostok is a “nyet” to the coming out party of Russia’s new, and old, president, who is determined, as much as Obama, to pivot to Asia-Pacific….Before Vladivostok, Putin launched the “Custom Union” in 2010 and its fuller format, the Eurasian Economic Space, in early 2012. The final stage of these steps will be the Eurasian Union by 2015.
Moscow to Host 3 Summits in One Day – RIA Novosti (Russia), September 15, 2012 – The groups are the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Dmitry Peskov said.

ASEAN:
Xi Jinping to attend Asean meet to dispel health rumours
Times of India, September 16, 2012 – Xi’s health and his skills will be tested at the conference as China-ASEAN meeting has turned out to be a tricky affair for Beijing because of the South China Sea disputes between China and a number of Asean members like Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Towards a federation of nation states
Times of Malta, September 15, 2012 – If we want economic and monetary union to succeed we must take parallel action for a political union….This is best achieved by a strengthening of the European Parliament and the emergence of real European political parties.

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