News Archive January 1-15, 2013

AFRICAN UNION:
Bank in push for a single monetary unit
Daily Nation (Kenya), Jan 15, 2013 – African Development Bank is stepping in to help East and South African region accelerate the push towards a common currency status….Comesa [Common Market for East and South Africa] countries have set 2018 as the deadline for the creation of a monetary union.
ECOWAS Member Countries Unable To Meet Criteria For Single Currency – Institute - Leadership Newspapers (Nigeria), Jan 14, 2013 – The region set January 2015 for the inauguration of the single currency union as long as member countries meet the four basic convergence criteria.
AU says working closely with ECOWAS to resolve Mali crisis – Global Times (China) / Xinhua, Jan 15, 2013 – The African Union (AU) is working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to find a solution to the Mali crisis, according to a senior official of the pan-African bloc.

GCC:
A People’s Agenda for Gulf Co-operation
Brookings, Jan 15, 2013 – Within the region, much of the discussion has revolved around the establishment of a “Gulf Union”. The Union likely would not entail the dissolution of any GCC member states or a common presidency or flag; rather, it would function as a confederation establishing common policy on economics, foreign relations, and defense.

UNASUR:
Global churches’ text on global economy delivered to Bolivia
Ekklesia, Jan 15, 2013 – The statement was jointly produced by the participants of a conference in 2012, promoted by the WCC, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission in Guarulhos, Brazil….The ambassador also received a copy of the regional ecumenical proposal for the establishment of an agency of cooperation under the Union of South American Nations.

ASEAN:
Zeti: Integration moving rapidly
Business Times (Malaysia),Jan 15, 2013. Financial integration in the Asean region is moving rapidly with an “integrated crisis management” framework taking shape soon, said Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian integration of Yerevan
Vestnik Kavkaza, Jan 15, 2013 – …”Would like you to see Armenia as part of the West or of the integration project following the example of the former USSR?”… But such a poll for obvious reasons is not carried out in Armenia; instead, press conferences are held with enviable frequency at which particular politicians or intellectuals speak “about the threats and obstacles to Armenia’s independence caused by the Eurasian Union.”

UNASUR:
What Hugo Chavez Built: The Legacy of Latin-American ‘Chavismo’
The Atlantic, Jan 14, 2013 – Nor, contrary to conventional wisdom advanced by some observers, has Chavez blown up UNASUR, an institution that has helped ward off conflict in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. With respect to South America, even despite his bombastic display at summits — the 2005 Mar de Plata circus comes to mind — the pressure was on Chavez to play by the neighborhood’s evolving rules, not the reverse.

ARAB LEAGUE, UNASUR:
State Minister for Electricity and Water Affairs to take part in ASPA
Bahrain News Agency, Jan 14, 2013 – The meeting will take place in cooperation between the Arab League and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and will feature leading representatives from the public and private sectors of 34 Arab and South American countries. It will provide a platform to discuss investment opportunities in mainly conventional and renewable energy sectors.

SAARC:
Growing insurgencies in Pakistan
Rising Kashmir, Jan 14, 2013 – European Union is the prime example, ASEAN is following the lead. SAARC would have to take lessons—sooner than later, taking cognizance of the fact that there are no exclusive solutions. Solutions in order to be effective need to be inclusive—inclusive of settling Afghan imbroglio and taking Afghanistan as full member of SAARC…is anyone listening?

GCC (‘GULF UNION’):
Minister of State for Information Affairs Stresses that the Dialogue is on its Way
The minister said that concerning the Gulf Union issue, Kingdom of Bahrain is fully supporting the Union, stressing that if they wanted to protect the region, they simply have to go for the Union…

PIF – PACIFIC ISLANDS:
Reconfiguring regionalism in the Pacific
Islands Business International (Fiji), Jan 14, 2013 – Last month, Sir Mekere Morauta launched a new website, calling for public submissions into his review of the Pacific Plan. Over the next eight months, the former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister will lead a team around the region to look at the plan, which is supposed to set priorities for key regional institutions—the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the other members of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP).

REGIONAL ECONOMIC BLOCS:
A New U.S. Grand Strategy
Foreign Policy, Jan 9, 2013, p 6 (Google link) – Working within existing norms of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, America will lead the partnership of major economies to refashion the global economic system around eight or nine economic blocs, each boasting the scale necessary to support mature industrial ecosystems. This will mean promoting and strengthening regional economic blocs such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Union of South American Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States [Eurasian Union], and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [Arab League]….While each region will have a unique starting point, global income convergence will unleash substantial trade opportunities as each region develops robust internal markets.
["Global income convergence" does not bode well for the American worker, who will continue to see declining income in this global leveling-out process. This "grand strategy" central planning is aimed at establishing a two-class global feudal system of oligarchs and serf workers.]

EUROPEAN UNION:
The Global Rise of a Regulatory Superstate in Europe
The Globalist, Jan 14, 2013 – U.S. regulators are mere bystanders in this process and are largely restricted to watching from the sidelines as their European counterparts build an empire of laws and regulations. And that empire is unlikely to crumble.
In hopes of gaining European Union membership, Serbia agrees to loosen grip over Kosovo
The Oregonian / Associated Press, Jan 13, 2013 – Kosovo, which is recognized by some 90 countries including the United States and most EU states, is considered by Serbian nationalist the medieval cradle of the Serbian state and the Orthodox religion — something like Jerusalem for the Jews — and they have pledged never to give it up. But, [Serbia Prime Minister Ivica Dacic] warned against “myths and fairytales” over Kosovo….

EURASIAN UNION:
Russian-Kazakh-Belarusian economic union in the making open to other countries – Lavrov
Voice of Russia, Jan 14, 2013 – Common Economic Space should prove quite important on the way to setting up a still greater integration alliance, – a Eurasian Economic Union.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Mursi calls for union of Arab states
Khaleej Times, Jan 13, 2013 – Egypt President Mohammed Mursi has called for a union of Arab states on par with the European Union — provided each Arab country maintains its privacy.
[And how much ‘privacy’ do European Union nations now have when they must submit their national budgets to an EU central finance authority for approval before they can implement them? States in the U.S. don’t even do that — yet. This is pure deception patterned after the European Union’s ‘Monnet Method.’]

EUROPEAN UNION:
EU ‘to propose’ peace plan after Israel vote
France 24 / AFP, Jan 13, 2013 – The European Union is drawing up a detailed new plan to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and expects to present it after this month’s Israeli general election, Yediot Aharonot reported Sunday.
Ken Clarke and Peter Mandelson join forces to fight Eurosceptics – The Guardian (London), Jan 12, 2013 – Tory grandee Ken Clarke is joining forces with Labour peer Lord Mandelson in a historic cross-party bid to to….fight back against the clamour for Britain to step back from the European Union or withdraw entirely.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS & the ‘Next Afghanistan’:
France bombs Mali rebels, African states ready troops
Reuters, Jan 12, 2013 – With Paris urging West African nations to send in their troops quickly, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, chairman of the regional bloc ECOWAS, kick-started a U.N.-mandated operation to deploy some 3,300 African soldiers. The mission had not been expected to start until September….”Things are accelerating…”
African Union calls on Member States to Extend Support to Malian Govt. – Tripoli Post, Jan 13, 2013 – Consultations are currently underway between the AU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to determine the best ways and means of expediting the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), as authorised by Security Council resolution 2085 (2012), and to further the implementation of other aspects of the said resolution.
West African bloc calls extraordinary summit on Mali - Reuters, Jan 13, 2013 – ECOWAS troops, scrambled at short notice after France intervened with airstrikes in Mali on Friday, would start arriving in Bamako on Sunday.
AFRICAN UNION – COMESA: AfDB now faults Comesa monetary union criteria
The East African, Jan 12, 2013 – The monetary union involving the use of one common currency in the region was expected to be launched in 2018 but has since been pushed to 2021 following different views among the bank governors that needs more time for consultations.
AFRICAN UNION – SADC: Southern Africa: SADC Urged to Commit to DRC Force
AllAfrica, Jan 12, 2013 – The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Troika organ on politics, defence and security has urged member states that have not committed to deploying troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo mission to do so as a matter of urgency.

SAARC:
Bilateral reconciliation should go on: Pakistani official
Oneindia, Jan 12, 2013 – Asked who was trying to sabotage the peace process between India and Pakistan, Anwar said, “Whoever is the beneficiary of this tension. They would like incidents like this … Best way is that the process of reconciliation should continue.”

EURASIAN UNION:
Russia upgrading, strengthening military
WND, Jan 12, 2013 – Moscow is strengthening its military as a way to underscore its influence over the region it intends to encompass in its customs-free Eurasian Union, and analysts say the move is aimed primarily at countries such as the United States which have their own interests in the region…

ASEAN:
Look beyond borders, PM tells children
Bangkok Post, Jan 12, 2013 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra….said earlier this week that children should prepare to be part of one community of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The Asean Economic Community in 2016 will create a single market and many more opportunities for citizens to travel and work throughout the region.

‘MULTIPOLAR SYSTEM’:
How the new world order is taking shape
China Daily, Jan 11, 2013 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus 3 (China, Japan and South Korea), will affirm its importance….Most EU citizens accept that by gradually transferring their sovereignties to a supranational entity, European countries will maintain a certain level of influence in a world of giants.

AFRICAN UNION:
West Africa’s ECOWAS to send troops to retake northern Mali
Reuters, Jan 12, 2013 – West African regional bloc ECOWAS will begin sending soldiers to Mali by Monday as part of a mission to drive al Qaeda-linked fighters from the country’s north, an Ivory Coast government official said on Saturday.
Terror crisis in Mali, desecration in Timbuktu and the suppression of millions: World shrugs
World Tribune, Jan 11, 2013 – Given the holiday season and the American “fiscal cliff” melodrama, few took notice, but when the African Union chairman, boldly called for a NATO style intervention as in Afghanistan to fight the Islamists, keen observers were jolted into reality.

EURASIAN UNION:
Foreign Ministry treating Russia’s Eurasian Union seriously
Lithuania Tribune, Jan 11, 2013 – Participants of the meeting of foreign and security policy experts in the Lithuanian town of Trakai said they were more waiting for Ukraine’s decision which path it would take – that of EU integration or integration into the structure being established by Russia.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Obama warns Britain: Stay in the European Union
Politics UK, Jan 10, 2013 – Britain risks damaging its relationship with the United States and being sidelined internationally if it leaves the European Union, the Obama administration has publicly warned.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab leaders seek to create 70 million jobs in 10 years
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 11, 2013 – Al-Mubti, in comments posted on the CSC website, stated that there was a need to enhance Arab trade including joint action such as the Arab Customs Union, the Arab Joint Market, and the Arab Free Trade Area.

EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION
Armenia’s European Integration Discussed in Brussels
Asbarez (Armenia), Jan 10, 2013 – Armenia’s integration with the European Union would only strengthen its traditionally close relations with Russia, a top EU official told Armenian parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian….The Armenian government appears to be facing growing pressure from Moscow to seek membership of the Russian-led trade bloc which President Vladimir Putin hopes will eventually grow into a closely-knit Eurasian Union…

EUROPEAN UNION, GCC:
European Socialist leader calls for closer cooperation with GCC
Kuwait News Agency, Jan 10, 2013 – “The Gulf Cooperation Council should play a bigger role in the future because this is a region where moderation, conciliation and mediation can take place….Therefore Europe would like to have the GCC as a real partner in the developing of the whole region”…

AFRICAN UNION:
Southern Africa: 2013 the Year of Regional Development
AllAfrica, Jan 10, 2013 – The year is also expected to witness the conclusion of the first phase of negotiations on the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) involving the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and SADC [Southern African Development Community]….COMESA-EAC-SADC are expected launch the single FTA by 2016.

AFRICAN UNION – COMESA
AfDB Report Recommends Generic Roadmap for Fiscal Convergence in Comesa Region
AllAfrica, Jan 9, 2013 – A new report by the African Development Bank makes concrete proposals for the establishment of a monetary union in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa region (COMESA).

SAARC
BB governor for exchange of information among SAARC central banks
Financial Express (Bangladesh), Jan 10, 2013 – Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman Wednesday laid emphasis on the importance of cooperation among the SAARC member countries, especially the SAARC central banks, through regular exchange of information from a common stronger platform, reports UNB.

GCC:
Inter-GCC rail to cost USD16bn
Zawya (Dubai, U.A.E.), Jan 10, 2013 – The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which control nearly 40 per cent of the world’s extractable oil deposits, will complete a feasibility study in the first quarter of 2014, after which the project will be launched, according to a GCC official.
Gulf rulers take sharper aim at Web dissent – Associated Press, Jan 9, 2013 – Arab Spring-inspired Islamist factions and others could threaten the ruling fraternities from Kuwait to Oman. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, anchored by Saudi Arabia, has pushed for increasing coordination on policies including intelligence and media rules….”With the Web, that means censorship.”

SAARC:
Kaira for creating South Asian Parliament
Associated Press of Pakistan, Jan 9, 2013 – Addressing the delegates of the 8th South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) annual meeting at a local hotel here, [Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira] said the creation of SAP would help form South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), South Asian currency, South Asian collective security and South Asian Union (SAU) on the pattern of the European Union.
Saarc should fix regional problems on EU pattern: CM
The Nation (Pakistan), Jan 9, 2013 – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries need to adopt European Union model to resolve their mutual issues.

EURASIAN UNION:
Invigorated Customs Union Presents Russia’s Neighbors With Stark Choice
Radio Free Europe, Jan 9, 2013 – Moscow seems to be growing frustrated with Ukraine’s efforts to pursue closer ties with the European Union while simultaneously seeking benefits reserved for members of the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union (ECU). “You cannot be a little bit pregnant,” Russian Foreign Ministry official Aleksandr Gorban said on January 1, referring to the choice facing Kyiv.

AFRICAN UNION – SADC
SA President Zuma leads delegation to SADC
Sowetan (South Africa), Jan 9, 2013 – “SADC [Southern African Development Community] continues to serve as the primary vehicle for South Africa’s foreign policy to achieve regional development and integration within Southern Africa”

NORTH AMERICA:
UPS Applauds Announcement of Bilateral Customs Harmonization for Low Value Shipments
Canada NewsWire, Jan 8, 2013 – The change represents the Canadian government’s successful implementation of a key item in the Beyond the Border Economic Action Plan, which aims to enhance trade through efficient movement of goods and regulation harmonization at the border.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
Special GCC Committee Examines Confederation of Six States
OmanNews.gov., Jan 7, 2013 – Dr. Mohammed bin Ahmed al-Rusheid told Oman News Agency (ONA) that article IV of the GCC Basic Law stipulates that Member States to begin coordination for integration and unity, adding that it’s time to consider moving to another level, provided that each State maintains its own sovereignty, indicating that unity would be on general matters, such as the European Union.
[And how much sovereignty do European Union nations now have when they must submit their national budgets to an EU central finance authority for approval before they can implement them? States in the U.S. don't even do that -- yet.]

EUROPEAN UNION:
Threat to euro overcome, says Commission President Barroso
BBC News, Jan 7, 2013 – Members states were still burdened with debts and moves to consolidate budgets were only just beginning, Mr Barroso told an audience….adding that political union was a “necessity”.

ASEAN:
Abe considers visit to Southeast Asia before U.S.
Asahi Shimbun (Japan), Jan 8, 2013 – [Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe] is pursuing stronger ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as the United States, in response to China’s growing influence.
Thais told not to fear single Asean community – Bangkok Post, Jan 8, 2013 – The Asean Community is based on three pillars of cooperation _ political security, economic, and socio-cultural. The focus has been on the economy, while most people have no idea about what kind of changes will be wrought by the political security and socio-cultural pillars…

SAARC:
India to consider multiple visas for SAARC journalists
Pakistan Today, Jan 8, 2013 – Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal….sought cooperation from SAFMA [South Asian Free Media Association] in setting up of a South Asian Economic and Parliamentary Union, which, he said, could lead to the formation of an ‘Asian Economic Union’ on the lines of the European Economic Union. In this context, India and Pakistan could play a leading role as some remarkable progress had already been made in this direction…Badal said.

NORTH AMERICA:
Canadian Military Would Need To Outsource F-35 Refueling
DefenseNews, Jan 7, 2013 – Critics and analysts say the decision raises key issues about Canadian sovereignty and military capabilities….NORAD officials did not comment about whether U.S. tankers would be available for Canadian needs.

ASEAN, SAARC:
A single market such as Europe for Southeast Asia
Following the strategy of ‘South-South Cooperation’ driven by United Nations
EuroXpress (Spain), Jan 7, 2013 (Google Translate) – ASEAN, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, aims to become an Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, while the SAARC, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan , India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are moving toward creating their own economic union by 2020.

GCC (‘GULF UNION’):
Special GCC panel examines confederation of member states
Kuwait News Agency, Jan 7, 2013 – “It is high time that we ponder moving to this (confederation) phase provided that each state retains its sovereignty,” he added, indicating that the council states were seeking unity identical to that bonding member states of the European Union.

ASEAN:
Bourses on road to pan-Asean exchange

Financial Times (London), Jan 6, 2013 (Google link) – The meeting will be the first in a series of “roadshows” in coming months designed to sell the merits of a concept long in the making but whose promise has often seemed doubtful: a regional stock market linking the main exchanges of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

EUORPEAN UNION:
US and EU printing money furiously to shift debt burden
People’s Daily (China), Jan 7, 2013 – The United States and the European Union have adopted the policy of quantitative easing, and kept their money-printing machines running around the clock over the past few years. This has increased the imported inflationary pressure facing China, and reduced the value of its huge foreign exchange reserves.

NORTH AMERICA:
TransCanada: Nebraska Evaluation Report on Keystone XL Re-Route Released
TransCanada notes the following important findings by the NDEQ: — The preferred route avoids the area that is defined as the Nebraska Sandhills. This area was defined by state and other agencies in 2001 – long before a pipeline was considered. — Construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to have “minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska.”

EURASIAN UNION:
CSTO, Uzbekistan and Integration of Eurasia
Strategic Culture Foundation, Dec 25, 2012 – The Eurasian Economic Community’s existence is nearing its end to give place to the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015

AFRICAN UNION:
AU mulls over standing army for Africa
Standard Digital News (Kenya), Jan 5, 2013 – The African Union plans to have standing army to intervene in increased conflicts on the continent. However, some African countries where the rule of law and democracy is a challenge are reluctant to endorse the proposal regarded as the preliminary building blocks to an African super-state.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Deeper EU integration needed as European crisis drags on
Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), Jan 5, 2013 – Efforts to deepen the integration of the eurozone must continue in order to solve its structural problem of having a single currency but different fiscal policies among member countries.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Barroso: EU states must sacrifice ‘sovereignty for influence’
Public Service Europe, Jan 3, 2013Speaking in Lisbon, Portugal, the commission’s president claimed that the “interdependence between European Union member states is very strong,” adding: “Power is currently shifting not only between states but also over and above those states.
EU Faces Tests on Foreign Policy – Wall Street Journal, Jan 3, 2013 – Some senior Brussels officials said they believe Ukraine’s leadership doesn’t deserve closer ties. Others say Ukraine is strategically crucial and want to avoid pushing Kiev toward Russia and the Moscow-dominated Eurasian Union customs bloc.

NORTH AMERICA:
Applicants for Canadian visas will be checked against U.S. databases
Globe and Mail (Canada), Jan 4, 2013 – Ms. Des Rosiers said the fundamental problem with the grand plan for a security perimeter is the absence of “strict transparency rules as to what [rejected applicants] can to do to challenge the U.S. assessment.”

EURASIAN UNION:
Ukraine considers joining Customs Union
Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), Jan 4, 2013 Ukraine wants European integration. Russia offers it to join the Customs Union in exchange for cheaper gas and other benefits.

ASEAN, SARRC:
Asia Leaps Forward in Regional Economic Integration
Inter Press Service, Jan 3, 2013 – The 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are taking the lead in an ambitious drive to strengthen trade and economic links in their respective regions. A new ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is planned for 2015, while SAARC is heading towards the establishment of its own economic union by 2020.

NORTH AMERICA:
It’s back: Texas in ‘Super Highway’ deal with Spain
By Jerome Corsi, WND, Dec 29, 2012 – TxDOT picked Cintra in 2005 to build what some critics called the “NAFTA Super Highway.”

EUORPEAN UNION:
European Union’s federalist agenda will not best serve Britain’s interests
The Telegraph (London), Jan 3, 2013 – For years, Eurosceptics have said that the ultimate aim of the European Union is for Brussels to become the government of a federation of (ex) nation states. Europhiles have responded by denying this federalist agenda, or claiming that Eurosceptics are racist xenophobes.

AFRICAN UNION:
Mali, America’s new Afghanistan
The Africa Report, Jan 2, 2013 – Events in Mali call for a greater security focus on Africa from Mali, ECOWAS, AU, UN and the US.
[A U.S. troop deployment to Mali would follow the pattern set out by globalist Thomas P.M. Barnett in his 2004 book, The Pentagon’s New Map.” Under recent globalist U.S. presidents of both political parties, U.S. forces have been used as the hammer to force nations who won’t cooperate to integrate into Barnett’s “Functioning Core” of globalization.]
Central African Republic Rebels: OK, We’ll Talk – Newser, Jan. 2, 2013 – The US, the EU, and France have been calling for negotiations, and members of the central African regional bloc ECCAS sent hundreds of troops last month to bolster the army.

GCC:
Security Comes First
The Majalla (UK, Saudi), Jan 3, 2013 – For years, the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Community] has struggled to make headway on big ticket issues such as monetary union and the move to a single currency, the full implementation of the common market, and the degree and pace of closer political integration….With this in mind, the ostensibly under-the-radar progress on internal security offers a powerful reminder that the GCC is, first and foremost, a security organization…

NORTH AMERICA – IRAN PRETEXT:
Ottawa working with Washington to counter an Iranian threat in the Americas
Globe and Mail (Canada), Jan 1, 2013 – Among other things, the law requires the State Department and Homeland Security to work with Canada and Mexico “to address resources, technology and infrastructure to create a secure United States border and strengthen the ability of the United States and its allies” to prevent Iranian-backed terrorists from entering the country.
Obama’s second term: Look for foreign policy initiatives – Chronicle Herald (Canada), Jan 2, 2013 – He will most assuredly move within his first year to approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast and ramp up implementation of the “Beyond the Border” perimeter security pact signed in late 2011.

GCC – REGION-BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE:
Iran ‘still poses a major threat’
Gulf Daily News (Bahrain), Jan 2, 2013 – Bahrain has two trump cards which rely on its Gulf neighbours; the strengthening of its defence capability as part of the GCC Peninsula Shield and integration into a Gulf Union.
Gulf rail revolution will need substantial steel imports – Steel Guru, Jan 2, 2013 – The investment is designed to facilitate movement of both cargo and passengers. Eventually all 6 countries of the GCC will be linked by rail, while connections to Jordan and Turkey are planned at a later stage.
GCC to provide $330m for Jordan’s renewable projects – Saudi Gazette, Jan 2, 2013 – According to Minister of Energy and Transportation Alaa Batayneh, some $300 million of a $5 billion grant from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been earmarked for a series of solar and wind energy projects in southern Jordan expected to produce over 125 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
[The rich Arab Gulf nations continue to prop up one of their fraternity of Arab kingdoms in an effort to quell the possibility of an "Arab Spring" uprising, as has occurred in many of the less resourced Arab nations. It is even possible that Jordan could be accepted as a member of the GCC.]

EUROPEAN UNION:
Ukraine ready for dialogue on all matters of integration into EU, says Yanukovych
Kyiv Post (Ukraine), Jan 2, 2013 – Ukraine is ready for a dialogue on all matters of integration with European Union, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has said…
Jacques Delors and the Union of European Federalists have finally said something sensible – The Telegraph (London), Jan 1, 2013 – Supporters of a United States of Europe know that they can’t fulfil that objective while Britain has a veto. They therefore propose to give Britain a looser form of association, which would see that veto power disappear.

ASEAN:
Column : China in a changing region – Financial Express (India), Jan 2, 2013 – China is part of all integration efforts involving ASEAN and other major Asian economies. These include the ASEAN+3 (China, Japan, Korea) and the East Asian Summit (EAS).
ASEAN Leader to Push Consensus on South China Sea Disputes – Voice of America, Jan 1, 2013 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has appointed its first secretary-general from Vietnam, a one-party communist state and one of four ASEAN members in conflict with China over territory in the South China Sea.

EURASIAN UNION:
Diplomat: Russia won’t lower gas price for Ukraine unless it joins Customs Union
Kyiv Post (Ukraine), Jan 1, 2013 – “Russia and Belarus are members of the Customs Union, and we are moving toward a common economic union,” Gorban said. Russia has invited Ukraine to join the Customs Union and receive gas at the same prices as Belarus does, he said.
Vladimir Putin sends New Year greetings to foreign heads of state and government – Voice of Russia, Dec 31, 2013 – He expressed his confidence that the gathering pace of Russia’s and Kazakhstan’s joint effort will benefit mutual multifaceted cooperation and partnership within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space and advance the creation of Eurasian Economic Union.

EUROPEAN UNION:
A step closer to European Union
Oman Daily Observer, Jan 1, 2013 – The new government took over from the pro-European reformers who led Serbia for more than a decade through its uneasy transition from a once pariah nation towards a candidate country to join the European Union.

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