News Archive May 1-15, 2013

GCC:
GCC secretary-general ‘hopeful’ of wider Gulf Union
Al Arabiya, May 15, 2013 – The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is ‘hopeful’ that member countries will form a wider union, which could include a monetary pact and shared currency.

UNASUR:
South American Council of Science and Technology of UNASUR met in Cusco
Andina (Peru), May 15, 2013 (Google Translate) – The aim of the South American Council, created in November 2012, is the coordination of policies, consultations, dialogues and exchanges of information between Member States of UNASUR for the promotion and development of programs and projects in science, technology and innovation.
Prepare the meeting of foreign ministers of UNASUR end of the month – UPI Espanol, May 15, 2013 (Google Translation) – The regional agency representative also said that the meeting also aims to aware ”of forests, waters, lands, demographic studies of population distribution and physical integration of the whole region.” Added to this, will address the development of technological institutes.

SAARC:
A possible shot in arm for Indo-Pakistani fence-mending
The Island (Sri Lanka), May 15, 2013 – Pakistan’s Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif is on record that he would be working towards ‘a peaceful and prosperous South Asia’….Whereas it is true that…Sri Lanka is in no position to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude towards her neighbours on this score, since we too have been winking at the gradual undermining of democratic institutions in our midst, enhanced and expanded cooperation between India and Pakistan in efforts to manage ‘terror’ could have the happy spill-over effect of strengthening regional cooperation and SAARC.

SAARC REGION-BUILDING:
Regional meet on Afghanistan kicks off
Republica (Nepal), May 14, 2013 – KATHMANDU: A two-day regional conference on Afghanistan in SAARC: Towards Deeper Engagement kicked off in capital Tuesday to discuss how the war-torn country can play an important role in the SAARC region….The conference also discussed the possibility of deploying SAARC regional peace keeping force under the UN auspices after the NATO forces will be pulled out of Afghanistan.
Hello, Mr Prime Minister! – The Frontier Post (Pakistan), May 15, 2013 – In case of India, Pakistan should be prepared for Modi or Rahul led weak coalitions, both shall play to the public gallery and are likely to remain hostage to populist anti-Pakistan sentiment….Nevertheless, Pakistan should play effective role in all regional organizations like SAARC, SCO, ECO etc, to offset various bilateral pressures.

GCC:
GCC secretary-general ‘hopeful’ of wider Gulf Union
Al Arabiya, May 15, 2013 – The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is ‘hopeful’ that member countries will form a wider union, which could include a monetary pact and shared currency.

UNASUR:
South American Council of Science and Technology of UNASUR met in Cusco – Andina (Peru), May 15, 2013 (Google Translate) – The aim of the South American Council, created in November 2012, is the coordination of policies, consultations, dialogues and exchanges of information between Member States of UNASUR for the promotion and development of programs and projects in science, technology and innovation.
Prepare the meeting of foreign ministers of UNASUR end of the month – UPI Espanol, May 15, 2013 (Google Translation) – The regional agency representative also said that the meeting also aims to aware ”of forests, waters, lands, demographic studies of population distribution and physical integration of the whole region.” Added to this, will address the development of technological institutes.

SAARC:
A possible shot in arm for Indo-Pakistani fence-mending
The Island (Sri Lanka), May 15, 2013 – Pakistan’s Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif is on record that he would be working towards ‘a peaceful and prosperous South Asia’….Whereas it is true that…Sri Lanka is in no position to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude towards her neighbours on this score, since we too have been winking at the gradual undermining of democratic institutions in our midst, enhanced and expanded cooperation between India and Pakistan in efforts to manage ‘terror’ could have the happy spill-over effect of strengthening regional cooperation and SAARC.

SAARC REGION-BUILDING:
Regional meet on Afghanistan kicks off
Republica (Nepal), May 14, 2013 – KATHMANDU: A two-day regional conference on Afghanistan in SAARC: Towards Deeper Engagement kicked off in capital Tuesday to discuss how the war-torn country can play an important role in the SAARC region….The conference also discussed the possibility of deploying SAARC regional peace keeping force under the UN auspices after the NATO forces will be pulled out of Afghanistan.
Hello, Mr Prime Minister! – The Frontier Post (Pakistan), May 15, 2013 – In case of India, Pakistan should be prepared for Modi or Rahul led weak coalitions, both shall play to the public gallery and are likely to remain hostage to populist anti-Pakistan sentiment….Nevertheless, Pakistan should play effective role in all regional organizations like SAARC, SCO, ECO etc, to offset various bilateral pressures.

ASEAN – ASIA-PACIFIC
RCEP’s first round ‘sets foundations’ for further talks
Jakarta Post, May 14, 2013 – Trade officials from 16 Asia-Pacific nations on Monday concluded the first round of talks on a trade pact that will further integrate the region and form one of the world’s biggest economic blocs by 2015….It involves six major trading partners of the 10-member ASEAN: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, all of which have already signed separate free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Southeast Asian grouping.

NORTH AMERICA:
REPORT: North America Is Setting Off An Oil Supply Shock That Is Rippling Throughout The World
Business Insider, May 14, 2013 – The boom in North American energy (primarily related to shale in the US and oil sands in Canada) is one of the biggest stories in the global economy.
Canada and the United States Report Progress on the Entry/Exit Initiative – Marketwired | Canada Border Services Agency (Press Release) May 13, 2013 – As part of Phase I, the CBSA and DHS [U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security] exchanged routine biographic entry information – collected between September 30, 2012, and January 15, 2013 – of third-country nationals (those who are neither citizens of Canada nor of the U.S.), permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States at four land ports of entry in British Columbia/Washington State and in Ontario/New York. Phase I tested the concept of an Entry/Exit system for both countries through the exchange of information, such that a record of entry into one country becomes a record of exit from the other.

ASEAN-EUROPEAN UNION:
ASEAN–EU: Time for a strategic partnership
EurActiv, May 13, 2013 – The continuing financial crisis in Europe has corroborated existing and growing inter-dependencies between both regions: while the EU needs to tap into Asian growth, Asia realises the significant impact of falling European demand on its economies….It is necessary to build a new EU-ASEAN partnership that can strongly link the two regions economically and politically and steer the relationship towards more effective bilateral and global cooperation in a rapidly changing world order.

EU – GLOBALIST STRATEGY:
Go it alone and perish
Jamaica Gleaner, May 14, 2013 – Let us examine one instance of what happens to countries when they go it alone. They get bullied into signing Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with powerful blocs. This is what happened in the months leading up to 2008 when the European Union, with strategic divide-and-conquer precision, went from one Caribbean country to another forcing EPAs down our individual ‘national throats’, rather than engaging a collective ACP or CARIFORUM or CARICOM [Caribbean Community sub-region].

GCC:
Wealth gap between Gulf states, turmoil-hit Arab countries on the rise: IIF
Global Times, May 14, 2013 – When presenting the IIF’s annual assessment of the of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, Abed said they would grow by 3.8 percent in 2013.

UNASUR:
Under Brazilian suggestion, Maduro says he is prepared for political dialogue with Capriles
Merco Press, May 14, 2013 – Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro….underlined that “I don’t care if the United States elite does not recognize me, to a certain point it is rewarding. For me what matters is that Brazil, Mercosur, Unasur, Celac, the African Union recognize and respect my government”.

AFRICAN UNION:
Iran foreign minister stresses Mali sovereignty, territorial integrity
PressTV, May 13, 2013 – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi has expressed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali, urging the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to employ its potentials to settle the crisis in the African country….He also praised efforts by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to solve the issue.
Strategic plan of SADC’s defence organ to serve as guide – Angola Press, May 14, 2013 – The Angolan Defence minister, Cândido Pereira Van-Dúnem,….explained that this is an instrument that was created with the objective of facilitating the implementation of SADC’s protocol on co-operating in the areas of politics, defence and security.

ASEAN:
Asean looks beyond the economy
As the realisation of the Asean community draws closer in 2015, member states are putting the finishing touches on years of preparations for integration within a new regional context. Their focus has been mainly on building stronger economic relations through closer transport, trade and investment ties, with an eye to gaining from the free flow of goods and labour. But amid all the AEC hype, little attention has been paid to how educational and cultural institutions are responding to regional integration.

SAARC:
SAARC CCI Chief Vikramjit congratulates Nawaz
Pakistan Today, May 12, 2013 – SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Virkamjit Singh Sahney on Sunday congratulated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif on his party’s landslide victory in the elections and urged for policy initiatives for durable future economic trade relations among SAARC member countries, especially between India and Pakistan. – See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/05/12/city/lahore/saarc-cci-chief-vikramjit-congratulates-nawaz/#sthash.Q7OHxoDi.dpuf

EUROPEAN UNION:
The rise of the Fourth Reich
Cyprus Mail, May3, 2013 – The economic backbone of the Fourth Reich is cheap production in the Slavic east and solid engineering in the German West. Most parts of the cars and other machinery the Reich sells to the rest of the world are produced somewhere in the east with wage levels five times lower than those in France or in England. This matchless cheap supply chain gives the Fourth Reich its competitive advantage on the world markets.

GCC:
Bridging the Gulf: where Kuwait stands on the GCC Union
Al Arabiya, May 12, 2013 – This new prism through which a Gulf Union is perceived will mean that for the Kuwaiti state to benefit from stronger security cooperation among the union’s member states, it would have to compromise on its political liberalism and constitutional exceptionalism in the Gulf….Just in the past year, several former parliamentarians and activists were arrested and tried over charges of “offending the emir.”

AFRICAN UNION:
World Bank says regional integration is key to Africa’s future competitiveness
Newstime Africa, May 11, 2013 – Jointly produced by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, the report identifies closer regional integration as an important driver for enhancing competitiveness.

UNASUR:
Unasur is a powerful regional group in the world, according to Lerner Ghitis
Andina (Peru), May 11, 2013 – “The Unasur has been a critical step in that South American countries may have an integration, not only in the business aspect but also in the union through infrastructure and common policies on education, health, defense, energy and natural resources,” said Andina news agency.

GCC:
Why energy is the key to a better Gulf Union
Al Arabiya, May 11, 2013 - Energy is clearly the basic building block for closer GCC integration and will ultimately serve as a catalyst for further economic, political and military collaboration, and possibly, union. Still, the crowning achievement of Gulf cooperation has been the development of the Gulf Cooperation Interconnection Project (GCCIP). The GCCIP is essentially a pan-Gulf power grid that connects the GCC member states.
Justin Dargin….was a former Research Fellow with The Dubai Initiative/Harvard University, where he won a Harvard award for his research with the region, and he is a Fulbright Scholar of the Middle East. He is a specialist in international law and energy law…

NORTH AMERICA:
Obama courts Hispanic support using ‘jobs’ pretext, Leaders skeptical
Washington Times, May 10, 2013 – President Obama has repeatedly supported measures to match U.S. regulatory policy with that of our neighbors through the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and his executive order to create a North American Security Perimeter with President Harper of Canada.

UNASUR:
Peru promoting Unasur summit to address Venezuela’s political situation
Merco Press, May 10, 2013 – Peru which currently holds the chair of Unasur, Union of South American Nations is promoting a new meeting of country members’ heads of state to address the political situation in Venezuela, Foreign minister Rafael Roncagliolo said on Thursday.

MIDDLE EAST (ARAB LEAGUE):
For Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, there is is a peaceful solution
London Guardian, May 6, 2013 – The Middle East, on the brink of sectarian disaster, can revive its ancient spirit of co-existence in an economic union.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Washington tries to persuade Arab League to recognize Israel

Following the Arab League announcement that it accepts the principle of land swap based on the 1967′s borders, media reports have revealed that the US administration is working to convince members of the League to declare recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
EU impressed by EA single currency initiative
The European Union (EU) Delegation to Tanzania has said it is impressed by the efforts of East African Community member states to create a single currency union and has encouraged them to implement it.
African Officials Meet for Bigger Trading Bloc
AllAfrica, May 9, 2013 – Officials from 26 African countries are meeting in Kigali, to discuss a planned common market between countries in the three trading blocs of East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

EUROPEAN UNION:
Federal Europe will be ‘a reality in a few years’, says Jose Manuel Barroso
London Telegraph, May 7, 2013 – A fully fledged federal Europe may seem like “political science fiction” today but will soon become reality for all European Union countries whether inside or outside the euro, Jose Manuel Barroso has said.
Tighter integration vital to EU’s survival, says Barroso
Irish Times, May 8, 2013 – Mr Barroso also called for greater political integration. “Europe’s economic interdependence, so strikingly highlighted by the financial crisis, calls for increased political integration,” he said, adding that there was no room for “half-integrated institutions”.

ASEAN:
Chinese defense minister holds bilateral talks with ASEAN counterparts on ties
Xinhua (China), May 8, 2013 – Chang noted that China would continue the momentum of deepening the defense and strategic consultation and dialogue with relevant countries, expanding practical cooperation, enhancing multilateral defense coordination and cooperation so as to play an active role in advancing China’s relations with other countries.

UNASUR:
Discussion Unasur creating South American Defense College
Xinhua | Spanish.China.org.cn, May 8, 2013 (Google Translate) – Delegates from the defense ministries of the member countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Quito today began a meeting to consolidate the proposed creation of the South American Defense College (Esude).

SAARC:
Indo-Pak ties: Bilateral trade termed passageway to peace
Express Tribune (Pakistan), May 8, 2013 – The participants pointed out that South Asian regional integration was held hostage by India and Pakistan by not moving forward on crucial bilateral issues. It was observed that bilateral trade among the states was ranked extremely low in priorities of South Asian governments including Pakistan.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Modified Arab League stance offers peace chance – Jerusalem Post, May 6, 2013 – Recent news of an endorsement by the Arab League of the idea of an Israeli-Palestinian two state solution based on “comparable” and “minor” land swaps represents a rare window of hope vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli peace process.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Tories struggling over Ukip: Clegg
Cambridge News, May 7, 2013 – Former chancellor Lord Lawson’s call for Britain to quit the European Union exposes fresh Tory anguish over Brussels in the face of the increased threat from the UK Independence Party, Nick Clegg said….Ukip leader Nigel Farage claimed the Tory peer’s comments legitimised his party’s anti-EU position…

GCC:
GCC Union would thwart regional security threats, says Bahraini PM
Al Arabiya, May 7, 2013 – The formation of a Gulf Union would thwart foreign and domestic threats and greater ensure security and stability for Gulf states, the Bahraini prime minister said on Tuesday.
Oman benefitting from common GCC power grid – Electric Light & Power, May 7, 2013 – Eng Al Shahrani said the advantages of the common GCC grid include reduction in generating capacity in each system as a result of sharing power reserves and sharing spinning reserves to cover emergency conditions….The GCC power grid came online in 2009 and originally connected Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

AFRICAN UNION:
Give more powers to African Union – Mahama
GhanaWeb, May 7,2013 – President John Dramani Mahama has called for more powers for the African Union (AU) for it to integrate the people of the continent for accelerated socio-economic growth of Africa….“Now is the time for the Pan-African Parliament to make its own transition, from that of a deliberative body to that of a legislative one.
Zuma wants African stability force – Times Live (South Africa), May 7, 2013 – The African Union needs a stronger military capacity to respond to instability on the continent, notably in central Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

UNASUR:
Venezuela to Obama: “Please Get Informed”
Venezuelanalysis.com, May 6, 2013 – The Venezuelan government hit back at a series of what it describes as “false and “interventionist” statements made by U.S. President Barack Obama over the weekend.

PIF:
South Pacific Defence Ministers call for greater co-operation in regional security
Matangi Tonga, May 6, 2013 – Australia will also support regional maritime security by holding a regional aerial surveillance trial with Pacific Island countries and provide equipment to the Forum Fisheries Agency to strengthen the capacity of the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre in Honiara. The meeting, attended by Defence Ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga with representatives from France and Chile; and observers from the United Kingdom and the USA began on May 1

UNASUR:
Maduro accused Washington of being behind post-election violence
Digital Journal, May 5, 2013 – UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) has called an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss the situation in Venezuela. UNASUR members Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru have already recognized the election results.
Venezuela established action plan on education with Unasur
El Sol de Margarita (Venezuela), May 3, 2013 – This action plan aims to create a program of academic mobility between the UNASUR member nations, as well as designing a shared method for handling funds and contents of projects that already have approved resources for execution.
Sound like the Obama-Rubio “Dream Act” legislation to you?

GCC: “GULF UNION”:
Bridging the Gulf: what is there to gain from a GCC Union?
Al Arabiya, May 5, 2013 – The “Arab Spring” has created a sense of urgency in intensifying regional integration efforts. Within this context, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia put forward at the GCC summit in Dec. 2011 a proposal to transition the GCC from its cooperation phase to the union phase, as envisioned at its founding. Last December, member heads of state welcomed the proposal, and there is speculation that it could be agreed this year.
GCC makes strides in economic integration – Kuwait Finance Minister – MENAFN (Amman, Jordan), May 5, 2013 – The minister noted that the meeting has tackled key issues such as the latest developments pertaining to the GCC Customs Union, GCC Common Market, the GCC Monetary Union and the creation of a special GCC economic court as well as the GCC negotiations with other economic bodies.

ASEAN:
ASEAN, East Asia knit closer financial ties
Japan Times, May 5, 2013 – With the decision, the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), will be given the same status as the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. AMRO was established in April 2011 to oversee the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization currency swap agreement launched in 2010.

SAARC:
Least integrated South Asia –Kelegama
The Nation (Sri Lanka), May 5, 2013 – The South Asian Region is the least integrated in the world, specifically in terms of economic relations, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Dr. Saman Kelegama pointed out. Although countries are fast progressing as individual entities, the regional development as a whole is the need of the hour, he further stressed.

NORTH AMERICA:
Obama blames U.S. for Mexican gun violence
WND, May 3, 2013 – President Obama blamed the U.S. for Mexico’s gun violence during a speech at Mexico’s Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. Obama says, “Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States.”
Barack Obama calls for ‘new realities’ and improved US-Mexico relations
The Guardian (London), May 3, 2013 – President Barack Obama called for a positive re-evaluation of the US-Mexico relationship on Friday, in an emphatically upbeat speech in Mexico City. Obama expressed strong confidence that immigration reform in the US would become a reality before the end of the year.

GCC:
US committed to military ties to region
Gulfnews (Dubai), May 3, 2013 – In December a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council announced plans to set up a unified military command to tighten defence cooperation.

ASEAN:
Japan, Asean to shore up financial ties
Business Times (Malaysia), May 4, 2013 – To stave off a recurrence of financial crises in the region, Japan and the major Asean economies will consider enhancing bilateral swap arrangements to provide extra liquidity should their currencies come under attack.

AFRICAN UNION, EUROPEAN UNION:
African Union and EU to Strengthen Trade and Economic Links
AllAfrica, May 3, 2013 – …Commissioners on both sides looked at issues relating to trade, infrastructure, raw materials, good governance in taxation and regional integration. In all these sectors the objective is to strengthen the partnership at a time when Africa is becoming a region with one of the strongest economic growths in the world.

UNASUR:
Venezuela rejects statements by the Chancellor of Peru
Spanish.China.org.cn,May 4, 2013 (Google Translate) – During a press conference Roncagliolo said his country, which holds the presidency of the South American bloc, promotes among the countries of Unasur a statement that “asks the Maduro government tolerance and dialogue among Venezuelans”. Roncagliolo “can not fit in the internal affairs of Venezuela,” Maduro said….

EURASIAN UNION:
“Accession to the Eurasian Union is more profitable than European integration”
Vestnik Kavkaza, May 3, 2013 – Board member of the Social-Democratic Party “Hnchakyan”, former Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Vahan Shirkhanyan told VK about the prospects for the foreign policy of Armenia

NORTH AMERICA
US and Mexico agree closer economic ties
Financial Times (London), May 3, 2013 (Google Link)- The governments of Mexico and the US on Thursday agreed to form a group to deepen economic integration as part of efforts to broaden the bilateral relationship and boost North American competitiveness.

EURASIAN UNION:
Prospects for Eurasian Integration
Russia & India Report, May 3, 2013 – Recent developments indicate that the leaders of Central Asia, some of whom were groomed during the Soviet era, are increasingly realising the importance of coming together of the countries of the vast Eurasian space.

GCC:
U.S., GCC nations begin defense exercise
Fort Campbell Courier, May 2, 2013 – U.S. forces joined their Qatari hosts and Gulf Cooperation Council regional partners April 20 to begin Eagle Resolve, an annual multilateral naval, land and air exercise.

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