News Archive January 16-31, 2013

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS, EU parliaments hold talks on visa regime, Mali crisis
The Guardian (Nigeria), Jan 31, 2013 – “A visa free regime between both economic blocs have become imperative in order to facilitate greater socio-economic and political co-operation between the EU and ECOWAS member-states….A situation where important ECOWAS government officials and business persons with genuine reasons to visit the EU countries for legitimate businesses are denied visas is no longer acceptable … ”

GCC:
Leading Economist Calls for Middle Eastern Infrastructure Bank
DesignBuild Source (Australia), Jan 31, 2013 – Reconstruction of Arab nations…would be best expedited by the creation of a regional bank for the Arab world….funded by the budget surplus of the Gulf Cooperation Council….

AFRICAN UNION:
Africa is becoming more peaceful, despite the war in Mali
The continent is stereotyped as being violent and increasingly unstable, but a closer look suggests that conflict is declining
By Scott Straus, The Guardian (London), Jan 30, 2013 – Regional bodies such as the African Union, Eccowas, Eccas, IGAD, and SADC are quite active in most conflict situations.
[Local gang leaders and rogue dictators are creating the chaos being used as a pretext by the continental oligarchy — backed by international finance and the military industrial complex — to systematically eliminate all dissent and form a centrally planned (i.e., “fascist”) African Union.]

SAARC
SAARC co-operation in energy, hydro-power stressed
Energy Bangla, Jan 30, 2013 – The two sessions of the conference on the second day on January 28 dealt with the role of the media in SAARC countries, regional connectivity, strengthening police cooperation among the SAARC countries, the need for a single SAARC currency on the EU model, climate change and challenges in South Asia….

EURASIAN UNION:
Belarus to focus on inter-parliamentary cooperation in post-Soviet space in 2013
Belarusian Telegraph Agency, Jan 30, 2013 – The issue of forming the Eurasian Economic Union will be high on the agenda as well.
Georgian parliamentary minority initiates bill on country’s unchanged policy
Trend News Agency (Azerbaijan), Jan 30, 2013 – The third component is that Georgia will not join the CIS, the Eurasian Union and other post-Soviet associations where Russia is a major force, as well as unions, which threaten Georgia’s sovereignty and freedom.

GCC:
GCC States Learn Lessons From the Eurozone Crisis
Al-Monitor, Jan 29, 2013 – The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was expected to benefit from the European experience and study the requirements of each of its stages…..Gulf leaders have, however, indicated in their statements that while the Euro’s situation might delay the single Gulf currency, it will not cancel it.

NORTH AMERICA:
Immigration reform plan leaves questions, raises concerns
Denver Post, Jan 29, 2013 – Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, called the plan “a copy and paste” from former President George W. Bush’s amnesty plan of five years ago. “The Democrats have succeeded in getting a certain number of Republicans to back their plans for amnesty,” he said. “This is a Democrat proposal they’re trying to get Republicans to buy.”
[Unless Americans concerned with border security see amnesty as another means to amalgamate North America into a geopolitical region, this amnesty agenda will not be defeated.]
The biometric solution(s) – By Robert Pastor, Los Angeles Times, Jan 29, 2013 – The solution to the problem is for Democrats to accept that voter IDs are important, and for Republicans to accept that all eligible voters should receive free national biometric cards, which would have unique identifiers for each person based on fingerprints or an iris scan.
[Robert A. Pastor is a professor of international relations at American University and the author of “The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future.” Pastor, who as a foreign policy official in the Carter administration is believed to have been the mastermind of the Panama Canal giveaway, is an unabashed proponent of North American integration, and a follower of the incremental “Monnet Method” as a means to achieve a North American Union. Pastor is a deceiver, and his idea for every American to abandon state sovereignty for a standardized biometric ID means that his ID would be standardized across all of North America.]

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab customs union by 2015 commended
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 29, 2013 – Arab leaders were keen on successfully implementing the Arab Customs Union on its planned date, pointing out that a special committee will regularly follow up.

EUROPEAN UNION:
SPIEGEL Interview with Tony Blair: ‘Leaving Europe Would Be Very Bad for Britain’
Spiegel, Jan 29, 2013 – It’s the reason why there is the ASEAN Group, the African Union, Latin American countries coming together. Regional groupings make sense today.

AFRICAN UNION:
Plan to integrate financial systems in EAC unveiled
The Standard Digital (Kenya), Jan 29, 2013 – In a statement, the ADB said the project is aligned to the Fourth EAC [East African Community] Development Strategy, and the EAC Common Market Protocol, which emphasises trade facilitation, establishment of a single market in financial services, establishment of the EAC Monetary Union, and integration of ICT into regional development initiatives, amongst others.
African Mali force to cost $460 mn, AU to fund $50 mn – AFP, Jan 28, 2013 – “For the first time in the history of the African Union the budget will be used to support a peace operation,” Ramtane Lamamra, AU’s Peace and Security Commissioner told reporters.

UNASUR:
Brazil: cohesion of the region also involves other integration agencies
El Confidencial (Spain), Jan 28, 2013 (Google Translate) – “Cohesion in Latin America and the Caribbean through the gradual strengthening of the CELAC, but also requires the upgrading of regional and subregional integration [to] achieve deeper integration in less time,” said [Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota]. In addition to CELAC, Brazil is part of Mercosur and Unasur [Union of South American Nations], while in the region abound other integration mechanisms….

SAARC:
Pakistan hampering trade with India: Afghanistan
Live Mint (India), Jan 28, 2013 – Referring to the South Asia Free Trade Area (Safta) pact that came into force in January 2006, Ahady said he was “quite unhappy” with Pakistan for restricting Indian goods from transiting through Pakistan, which he said was not in the spirit of the accord….Afghanistan joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or Saarc, in 2007.

AFRICAN UNION – East African Community:
EAC moves closer to monetary union
Sunday Times (Rwanda), Jan 27, 2013 – Sunday Times has learnt that the countries’ High Level Task Force negotiating a protocol to establish the East African Monetary Union might soon consult the Sectorial Council on East African Monetary Union to seek advice on how to fine-tune a monetary union protocol and a ten-year roadmap to establish the union….Several other monetary unions in other regions of the world have also been proposed, including the one for Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Arab League, and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
NORTH AMERICA:
Immigration reform plan leaves questions, raises concerns
Denver Post, Jan 29, 2013 – Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, called the plan “a copy and paste” from former President George W. Bush’s amnesty plan of five years ago. “The Democrats have succeeded in getting a certain number of Republicans to back their plans for amnesty,” he said. “This is a Democrat proposal they’re trying to get Republicans to buy.”
[Until Americans concerned with border security see amnesty as another means to amalgamate North America into a geopolitical region, they will not win this debate against the amnesty agenda .]
The biometric solution(s) – By Robert Pastor, Los Angeles Times, Jan 29, 2013 – The solution to the problem is for Democrats to accept that voter IDs are important, and for Republicans to accept that all eligible voters should receive free national biometric cards, which would have unique identifiers for each person based on fingerprints or an iris scan.
[Robert A. Pastor is a professor of international relations at American University and the author of "The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future." Pastor, who as a foreign policy official in the Carter administration is believed to have been the mastermind of the Panama Canal giveaway, is an unabashed proponent of North American integration, and a de facto proponent of the incremental "Monnet Method" as a means to achieve a North American Union. Pastor is a deceiver, and his idea for every American to abandon state sovereignty for a standardized biometric ID means that his ID will be standardized across all of North America.]

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab customs union by 2015 commended
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 29, 2013 – Arab leaders were keen on successfully implementing the Arab Customs Union on its planned date, pointing out that a special committee will regularly follow up.

EUROPEAN UNION:
SPIEGEL Interview with Tony Blair: ‘Leaving Europe Would Be Very Bad for Britain’
Spiegel, Jan 29, 2013 – It’s the reason why there is the ASEAN Group, the African Union, Latin American countries coming together. Regional groupings make sense today.

AFRICAN UNION:
Plan to integrate financial systems in EAC unveiled
The Standard Digital (Kenya), Jan 29, 2013 – In a statement, the ADB said the project is aligned to the Fourth EAC [East African Community] Development Strategy, and the EAC Common Market Protocol, which emphasises trade facilitation, establishment of a single market in financial services, establishment of the EAC Monetary Union, and integration of ICT into regional development initiatives, amongst others.
African Mali force to cost $460 mn, AU to fund $50 mn – AFP, Jan 28, 2013 – “For the first time in the history of the African Union the budget will be used to support a peace operation,” Ramtane Lamamra, AU’s Peace and Security Commissioner told reporters.

UNASUR:
Brazil: cohesion of the region also involves other integration agencies
El Confidencial (Spain), Jan 28, 2013 (Google Translate) – “Cohesion in Latin America and the Caribbean through the gradual strengthening of the CELAC, but also requires the upgrading of regional and subregional integration [to] achieve deeper integration in less time,” said [Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota]. In addition to CELAC, Brazil is part of Mercosur and Unasur [Union of South American Nations], while in the region abound other integration mechanisms….

SAARC:
Pakistan hampering trade with India: Afghanistan
Live Mint (India), Jan 28, 2013 – Referring to the South Asia Free Trade Area (Safta) pact that came into force in January 2006, Ahady said he was “quite unhappy” with Pakistan for restricting Indian goods from transiting through Pakistan, which he said was not in the spirit of the accord….Afghanistan joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or Saarc, in 2007.

AFRICAN UNION – East African Community:
EAC moves closer to monetary union
Sunday Times (Rwanda), Jan 27, 2013 – Sunday Times has learnt that the countries’ High Level Task Force negotiating a protocol to establish the East African Monetary Union might soon consult the Sectorial Council on East African Monetary Union to seek advice on how to fine-tune a monetary union protocol and a ten-year roadmap to establish the union….Several other monetary unions in other regions of the world have also been proposed, including the one for Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Arab League, and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

EUROPEAN UNION:
Europe: The world’s new superpower
National Post (Canada), Jan 28, 2013 – All told, the European Union has intervened militarily in more than two dozen conflicts. Not quite as much as the French since 1960, but getting there. A number of obstacles must be overcome before the European Union could become the world’s policeman. Although combined European military spending does make the EU the world’s second-largest military power, it still isn’t enough for a sustained conflict.

NORTH AMERICA:
Bipartisan group of 8 senators reaches deal on immigration changes
Fox News, Jan 28, 2013 – The deal, which will be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon, covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.

EURASIAN UNION:
Dealing With Two Russias
The FINANCIAL, Jan 28, 2013 – Two Russias are emerging — one seeking freedom and prosperity, the other focused on patriotism and populism. In the first, people can travel abroad, buy and sell their homes and keep money securely in banks. In the other Russia, President Vladimir Putin stifles dissent, alleges NATO missile defense threats, and seeks to ensnare former Soviet neighbors in an unequal Eurasian union. A new diplomacy that deals effectively with both Russias is essential.

UNASUR:
Seek greater integration in Latin America
El Peruano, Jan 27, 2013 (Google Translate) – The foreign ministers of Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador, countries chairing the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Andean Community (CAN), respectively, agreed on the need to move towards greater integration of these blocks.

AFRICAN UNION – An Opinion Piece By President Zuma:
Africa Is Rising
By Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, South African Government News Agency, Jan 27, 2013 – Under the auspices of the AU we have launched an ambitious programme towards continental integration. As a first step, we have made considerable progress in the Tripartite Initiative that draws together countries of Eastern and Southern Africa. By 2015 we expect to establish a free trade area amongst these countries, combining the markets of 26 countries with a population of nearly 600 million people and a combined GDP of US$1 trillion. Importantly, this will form the basis for an Africa-wide Free Trade Area, which could create a single market of US$2.6 trillion.
Amadi demands legislative power for pan-African parliament – Nigerian Tribune, Jan 27, 2013 – President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Bethel Amadi, has pushed for legislative and oversight functions for the parliament to enable it to provide a voice for millions of Africans and enhance the integration process of the continent.
Regional force to operate under UN mission to eliminate DR Congo rebel groups – NZweek, Jan 26, 2013 – The bulk of the special brigade is expected to come from SADC [Southern African Development Community] member countries. The two regions of the ICGLR and the SADC estimated late last year that more than 4,000 troops would be needed.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Britain’s European Union future elbows out euro woes at Davos
Indian Express | Reuters, Jan 26, 2013 – What a difference a year makes! At the last World Economic Forum in Davos there were frantic secret meetings on saving the euro and private straw polls on whether the euro zone would break up and how soon Greece would be forced out.

AFRICAN UNION:
Iran invited to attend African Union summit
Press TV, Jan 26, 2013 – The African Union (AU) has invited Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to attend the bloc’s upcoming summit in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, in late January.
Pan-African Parliament hopes its toothless days are about to end – Business Day (South Africa), Jan 25, 2013 – The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) sincerely seems to believe its Cinderella days could be drawing to an end. A decision on its long-delayed transition from talking-shop to continental legislature is finally on the agenda at an African summit.

AFRICAN UNION:
East African Community: Reliable data key to EA monetary union
IPPmedia (Tanzania), Jan 25, 2013 – At their 14th summit held on November 30, 2012, the EAC heads of state directed the Council of Ministers to expedite negotiations towards the conclusion of the Monetary Union Protocol and report progress at the 12th extraordinary summit, with a view to signing the protocol at the 15th ordinary summit expected to take place in November this year.
Zimbabwe: World Bank Partners Govt to Boost Trade – The Herald (Zimbabwe), Jan 25, 2013 – “Zimbabwe has indeed embraced regional integration recognising the inherent benefits of being part of a bigger community, be it Sadc, Comesa, African Union or World Trade Organisation,” he said.
South Africa: African Union to Attend SA’s Brics Summit – AllAfrica, Jan 24, 2013 – South Africa, in line with promoting regional integration, has for the first time, invited the African regional economies as well as the African Union to the fifth BRICS Summit. The summit of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of countries will take place in Durban, in March.
Africa ‘To Build On Its Gains’ – All Africa, Jan 24, 2013 – “We are also dealing with the economic issues,” Zuma said, referring to an agreement between the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC)….”We’ve just discussed and agreed to integrate three of [Africa's] five economic regions, creating a free trade area of more than half-a-billion people.”

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian integration largely determined by Russian-Kazakh coordination of efforts – Lavrov
The parties to the Moscow talks are also concentrated on setting up a Eurasian Economic Union by January 1st 2015.
Decision time for Central Asia: Russia or China?
Open Democracy Russia, Jan 24, 2013 – The way Central Asian states will turn — to Russia’s Eurasian Union or to China — is the test for influence in the

EURASIAN UNION:
Difficult choices lie ahead for Ukraine
Business New Europe, Jan 24, 2013 – In theory, Moscow could provide cheap energy and financing in abundance – but such support comes with strings attached. In the short term, Russia wants control of strategic assets in Ukraine, particularly pipelines and energy sector assets. Over the longer term, Moscow likely wants broader economic and political control over Ukraine, and one lever for this is perhaps its drive for Kyiv to join the Customs Union as a precursor to membership of the Eurasian Economic Union
Russia Has No Plans to Revive Soviet Union – Medvedev – RIA Novosti (Russia), Jan 23, 2013 – We have all [former Soviet republics] become different and are looking into the future and we have a clear-cut plan for strengthening cooperation on a mutually advantageous basis,” Medvedev told the World Economic forum at Davos.
MEP Laima Andrikiene expects the decision on free trade agreement to be reached till November – Armenpress, Jan 23, 2013 – Armenpress reports, INTA Standing Rapporteur on South Caucasus including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, concluded: “Joining the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community would be incompatible with the conclusion of the highly beneficial DCFTA with the European Union.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab leaders agree on FTA conditions
Japan Times, Jan 24, 2013 – “We stress our determination to complete all the prerequisites of (forming) the free-trade area before the end of this year,” Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said at the end of the third Arab Economic and Social Summit. The leaders, he added, were determined to clear obstacles to “achieve the Arab customs union fully by 2015.”

AFRICAN UNION:
African Leaders to Discuss Regional War Crimes Court
AllAfrica, Jan 23, 2013 – Ahead of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa this week, legal experts are urging caution over plans to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to allow it to try individuals for mass crimes.
African countries told to integrate, have bigger markets and utilize trade as tool for development – Ghana Business News, Jan 24, 2013 – Ms. Treasure Maphanga, Director, Trade and Industry of the AU said the organisation is pushing the Abuja Treaty with Regional Coordination Councils (RECs) for the integration of the continent….She said in seeking a common market for Africa, the AU is working at accelerating the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

AFRICAN UNION: The ‘United States Of Africa’: Mugabe Calls For Formation Of Continental Superstate
International Business Times, Jan 22, 2013 – While French military airplanes bomb militant targets in the deserts of northern Mali, the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has again asserted his long-held dream of a “United States of Africa.”….”Get them [African states] to get out of the regional shell and get into one continental shell,” Mugabe said in his capital, Harare, after a meeting with Thomas Boni Yayi, Benin’s president and the outgoing chairman of the African Union (AU), according to the Herald newspaper of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe calls for continental president
Legalbrief Today (South Africa), Jan 22, 2013 – A report on the News24 site notes that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe believes the forthcoming African Union summit should discuss the appointment of a president of Africa to foster unity among Africans.
['King of the South'?]

EUROPEAN UNION:
Cameron promises Britain straight choice on leaving European Union
Globe and Mail (Canada), Jan 23, 2013 – Under his plan, after the next election in 2015 the government would attempt to negotiate a new “settlement” for Britain in the EU and then put that new agreement to voters in a referendum.

UNASUR:
South Atlantic security
Americas Program of the Center for International Policy, Jan 22, 2013 – As is known, in recent years most of the South American countries have been building various areas of economic integration and coordination, political and military as the South Bank, UNASUR and the South American Defense Council (CDS). This process was accelerated by the global crisis and the discovery of large oil and gas reserves in Venezuela and Brazil Sea.

NORTH AMERICA:
Obama faces new pressure on Keystone pipeline
Nebraska governor’s OK was last hurdle
Washington Times, Jan 22, 2013 – It’s unclear when Mr. Obama will make a decision on the project….Asked about Nebraska’s decision to endorse a new route, White House spokesman Jay Carney deferred questions to the State Department.
Crises and opportunities around the globe. But first, put America’s house in order – Richard N. Haass, MSNBC, Jan 22, 2013 – Building NAFTA 2.0–tighter links among the United States, Canada, and Mexico not just in the energy sphere but also involving the movement of labor, climate change, infrastructure, security, trade, and more….
[Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations.]
Ottawa calls in Algerian envoy to clarify claim of Canadian link to al-Qaida – Global News (Canada), Jan 22, 2013 – The perimeter security deal, which will be phased in over several years, aims to smooth the passage of goods and people across the 49th parallel while bolstering defences along the continental border. Citizenship and Immigration is the lead department on 10 perimeter initiatives. The most controversial may be a plan to keep track of everyone entering and leaving the country, with the help of information from the U.S.

ASEAN:
ASEAN new chief’s pressing concern
ChannelNewsAsia (Singapore), Jan 23, 2013 – ASEAN’s newly-installed secretary-general has voiced concern over the slow progress towards building an ASEAN Community by 2015….”For example, the issue of removing trade barriers. While we are trying to establish a common market, a singe market for ASEAN, a single production base for ASEAN, this has to be overcome,” said Mr Minh.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab leaders renew economic unity pledge as summit comes to a close
MENAFN – Arab News, Jan 23, 2013 – Besides setting up the Arab Customs Union by 2015, the house also insisted that matters regarding the formation of the Greater Arab Free Trade should be finalized before the end of 2013.
Moussa: Customs union must for Arab common market
MENAFN | Arab News, Jan 22, 2013 – Amr Moussa, head of the Egyptian Congress Party and former secretary-general of the Arab League, predicted that the third Arab Economic Summit would boost Arab joint economic activity and will consequently lead to the establishment of a common Arab market in the near future.

EUROPEAN UNION:
European Union Report Proposes Stricter Media Regulation
Hollywood Reporter, Jan 22, 2013 – Proposals for such rules are part of a report by a EU body set up more than a year ago to ensure that media organizations do not abuse their power, the Financial Times reported.
Vatican criticises European religious freedom ruling – Digital Journal, Jan 22, 2013 – The European Court of Human Rights ruling ‘affirms employers’ right to limit the expression of religious beliefs in the workplace when it conflicts with equality laws.’ The ruling was not welcomed by the Vatican.
Government warned over pilot fatigue – The Telegraph (London), Jan 22, 2013 – The association says the proposals – which would mean existing British rules are replaced by new European Union regulations – will result in lower safety standards, with pilots being forced to fly and land an aircraft after being awake for 22 hours – four more than currently permitted.

ASEAN:
Japan’s ASEAN Charm Offensive
The Diplomat, Jan 22, 2013 – Southeast Asia watchers should add ASEAN-Japan relations to their list of things to keep an eye on for the rest of 2013.

NORTH AMERICA:
Strengthening cross-border trade with Canada
The Hill, Jan 21, 2012 – Under the new approach, cargo is screened only once, at its initial port of arrival, after which it is free to move across the U.S.-Canada border without the need for further inspections – embracing the principle of “screened once, accepted twice.”

AFRICAN UNION:
EAC: Kenyan drags Uganda to regional court
New Vision (Uganda), Jan 21, 2013 – A Kenyan man has sued Uganda in the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) alleging he was unfairly denied entry into the country at Entebbe International Airport in 2011….His lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi, submitted in the hearing on Friday that Mohochi as a resident of East Africa is entitled to free movement from one country to another in the region as provided for under Article 7 of the East African Community Common Market Protocol.
COMESA: Regional Integration Still a Challenge – AllAfrica, Jan 21, 2013 – “We are not yet ready for the Comesa currency. We haven’t even achieved the EAC Monetary Union that we have always been singing about,” he said.
ECOWAS: Once beaten, Algeria’s al-Qaida emerges from the Sahara to be a new regional terror threat – Edmonton Journal (Canada), Jan 20, 2013 – “I would think that the next attacks are going to target other countries. Mauritania could be an easy target, Morocco or any ECOWAS country or possibly in Libya.”

EUROPEAN UNION:
Farage Rejects Coalition With Cameron’s Conservatives
Atlantic Sentinel, Jan 20, 2013 – The premier, said Farage, who is a member of the European Parliament, has dismissed his United Kingdom Independence Party even if it now polls higher than Cameron’s coalition partners, the pro-European Liberal Democrats.Nigel Farage, MEP, UK Independence Party, European Parliament, Jan 17, 2013 – YouTube Video UK PM to deliver long-awaited EU speech this week
YAHOO! News | Reuters, Jan 20, 2013 – British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to deliver his hotly anticipated speech about his plans for Britain’s membership of the European Union this week, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.

ASEAN:
Japan vows to keep rule of law on seas
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Jan 20, 2012 – In partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan will strive to keep oceans controlled by law rather than by force, Abe said Friday. Japan and ASEAN will also welcome the involvement of the United States in the effort…

EURASIAN UNION:
President Vladimir Putin and the Eurasian Union
Today’s Zaman (Turkey), Jan 20, 2013 – The case concerned a major coal supplier no longer declaring its shipments of coal, basing this on a decision of the ECU [Eurasian Customs Union]. The court ruled in favor of the firm, upholding its decision to no longer submit customs forms. The true significance of this decision is its proclamation that the laws of the customs union are superior to national laws.
‘The world is in a state of financial war’ – Russian presidential advisor
Voice of Russia, Jan 18, 2013 – Vedomosti reports that Sergey Glaziev, the economic mastermind behind the Eurasian Union, sent an official report to the Kremlin….Western banks are accused of blocking their debtors in “debt traps”, with the ultimate goal of “obtaining political control” and “seizing the real assets” of the debtors. Sergey Glaziev considers that such a policy is actually a form of legalized aggression and that the world is in a state of financial war.
Eurasian Integration No ‘Reincarnation of USSR’ – Nazarbayev
RIA Novisti (Russia), Jan 18, 2013 – Former Soviet states’ involvement in Eurasian integration does not herald a return to the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Friday.

AFRICAN UNION:
Jonathan Tasks ECOWAS On Single Currency Treaty
Leadership Newspapers (Nigeria), Jan 19, 2013 – President Goodluck Jonathan has urged members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to promptly ratify and domesticate all relevant treaties and statutes which would lead to the successful launch of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) on January 1, 2015.
Opinion: Why Africa backs French in Mali
CNN, Jan 18, 2013 – It is not, after all, every day that you hear a senior official of the African Union (AU) refer to a former European colonial power in Africa as “a brotherly nation,” as Ambroise Niyonsaba, the African Union’s special representative in Ivory Coast, described France on 14 January, while hailing the European nation’s military strikes in Mali.
‘Monetary union requires hard work’  - Southern Times (South Africa) Jan 18, 2013 – A study conducted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at COMESA[Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa]’s request proposes a roadmap for fiscal convergence….“It should be noted that a monetary union is not an objective in itself but an instrument to achieve certain economic (and political) goals,” AfDB says.
AfDB – In support monetary union
Financial Mail (South Africa), Jan 17, 2013 – In spite of scepticism about the success of common currencies for regional blocs, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has come out in support of a monetary union for the Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (Comesa).
AfDB approves Sh2.1bn fund for EA Development Bank – Business Daily (Kenya), Jan 17, 2013 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved an equity investment of Sh2.1 billion ($24 million) in the East African Development Bank (EADB) to strengthen its balance sheet….to support regional economic development and enterprise in the four member states of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.
South Africa: African Blocs to Attend Brics Summit – AllAfrica, Jan 16, 2013 – The decision to invite the AU along with the various regional groupings, including the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), is in line with South Africa’s goal of promoting regional integration.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Euro will survive, says Siemens CEO
Arabian Business, Jan 17, 2013 – “Anybody who is betting against the euro doesn’t realise that the euro is a political project. This is the political integration project of Europe.”

EURASIAN UNION:
Ukraine shocks European and US leaders
Pravda (Russia), Jan 16, 2013 – In the last week of 2012 and in early 2013, Ukraine has noticeably stepped up talks about its relationship with the Customs Union (CU), whose current members are Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The discussion of forms of cooperation between Ukraine and the CU struck a chord even in those seemingly not involved.
S&P afms Eurasian Development Bank ‘BBB/A-2′ rtgs;outlk stable
The following statement was released by the rating agency:
Reuters, Jan 16, 2013 – ….On Jan. 16, 2013, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘BBB/A-2′ foreign currency issuer credit ratings on the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB). At the same time, we affirmed the Kazakhstan national scale rating at ‘kzAA+’ and the Russia national scale rating at ‘ruAAA’. The outlook is stable….EDB’s mandate extends throughout a number of countries in the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).

‘MADE IN ASEAN’
DRB-Hicom wants Proton top in making Asean cars
Malay Mail, Jan 16, 2013 – To achieve this ambition, he said Proton needs to collaborate with industry players in Asean countries such as Thailand and Indonesia to develop the Asean vehicle.

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