NEWS ARCHIVE – August 2013
GCC visa expected in mid-2014
Schengen-style multiple-entry tourism visas for six member countries could be issued
Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE), August 25, 2013 – A unified visa for the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could become a reality in mid-2014, security sources have said. “The plan to have a GCC tourism visa, similar to the Schengen visa in Europe, is about to be implemented after obstacles have been cleared,” the sources told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Sunday.
Preparing for the Asean economic community in 2015
Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 25, 2013 - Let’s call a spade a spade: regional economic integration-envisioned to create one common market for the countries comprising ASEAN is fraught with as much risks as opportunities….But whether countries are prepared or not, regional economic integration is inevitable and in less than two years, Filipino firms will have to embrace all the possibilities that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will bring.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
Ukraine Leader Ignores Putin Warning on EU Path
Voice of America, August 24, 2013 – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Saturday re-affirmed his commitment to signing key agreements with the European Union, including on trade, despite a threat by Russia’s Vladimir Putin of possible retaliatory measures….[Putin] warned that members of the Eurasian Customs Union linking Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan might have to take “protective measures” to defend their markets.
‘Pak-India tensions unlikely to halt SAARC trade’
The Express Tribune (Pakistan), August 21, 2013 – “Any abnormal situation in any of Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) member country should not halt trade among and between the members,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the media here on Tuesday. He was responding to a question whether boiling Pak-India tensions over alleged violation of a ceasefire agreement would scupper plans to enhance economic cooperation among Saarc member states – a regional club of eight countries.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
EU rebukes Russia on Ukraine trade
EU Observer, August 21, 2013 – The European Commission has reprimanded Russia over its attempt to intimidate Ukraine on trade….to counter pro-EU moves with a view to Kiev signing up to Russia’s Customs Union by 2015.
South Africa: African Infrastructure Invite for Brics
AllAfrica, August 20, 2013 – In addition, the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) were working on creating free trade area that would join the markets of 26 countries with a combined population of nearly 600-million people and a GDP of US$1-trillion. This, Zuma said, “will form the basis for an Africa-wide free trade area, which could create a single market of 2.6-trillion US dollars.”
Euro-Skeptic Party Makes Election Waves in Germany
Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2013 – The party is adding a wrinkle to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s election plans by agitating for something virtually no mainstream politician has dared suggest: breaking up the euro zone by forcing financially troubled Southern European countries out.
AFRICAN UNION – SADC:
Regional bloc backs Mugabe’s election win
The Australian, August 19, 2013 – Wrapping up its annual summit, the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Sunday called for “the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe”, levelled against the veteran president and blacklisted firms and individuals….SADC chairwoman Banda told reporters the bloc was still waiting for final reports from its observers and from the African Union before it can declare the election “fair and credible”.
Peru will host the South American Council meeting against Transnational Crime
Andina (Peru), August 18, 2013(Google Translate) – Ministry of Justice and Human Rights announced that on Monday August 19 will be held in Lima, the First Meeting of the South American Council on Citizen Security, Justice and Coordination Actions Against Transnational Organized Crime, in the context of the actions promoted by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
ARAB LEAGUE – ‘ARAB SPRING’ & REGION-BUILDING
For a Union of Arab Democracies
Washington Post, August 16, 2013 – Although Arab nations have no interest in joining the European Union or NATO, the Arab world can draw on the model of Eastern European transition, with fledgling Arab democracies devising their own supra-national organization dedicated to advancing democracy. Like the E.U. in its infancy, this Union of Arab Democracies (UAD) could start with limited objectives and evolve toward ambitious goals, including, ultimately, pan-Arab political union.
Israel’s Peace Negotiator Eyes Arab World Alliance Shift – Voice of America, August 16, 2013 – The Arab League, Jordan and Egypt’s military-led government that deposed Muslim Brotherhood rulers last month have welcomed the resumption of peace talks, also with backing from the Arab League whose 2002 peace initiative remains on the table for possible recognition of Israel after the dispute is resolved.
NEW WORLD ORDER:
Rand Paul warns of Obama ‘fast track’ to global trade zone
WND, August 14, 2013 – If President Obama attempts to get “fast-track authority” to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, through Congress before attending the summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in October, he can anticipate strong opposition from Rand Paul as well as from the senator’s father, former Republican congressman Ron Paul of Texas. However, granting to the president fast-track authority violates the Constitution’s separation of powers, charges Washington-based attorney Bruce Fein, an adviser to Sen. Paul.
Russia tightens customs rules to force Ukraine into union
Reuters, August 15, 2013 – It began with chocolates but now Moscow has tightened checks on all imports from Ukraine in what some say is an attempt to dissuade its neighbour from turning towards Europe and away from its former Soviet ally. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pressed his idea of forming an economic union to reunite part of the Soviet Union, but Ukraine has resisted becoming a member of the Eurasian Union, preferring to keep the possibility of EU membership open.
ASEAN is key to ‘Asian century’
CNN, August 15, 2013 – While obviously far from integrated in the ways the European Union is, ASEAN now has a momentum that Europe’s regional project lacks. Despite their historical differences and rivalries, ASEAN countries have been pushing forward rapidly with cross-border investments, commercial integration, and intra-regional trade that has kept them growing fast — averaging more than 5% — even as the major export markets like Europe lose steam.
Germany, France pull euro zone out of recession
Reuters UK, August 14, 2013 – The German and French economies grew faster than the United States in the second quarter, pulling the euro zone out of its longest recession.
The North American energy scene keeps getting more interesting
Foreign Policy, August 13, 2013 – So yesterday Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto made some news, according to the Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed historic changes to this nation’s state-run energy sector Monday, cracking open the door for global oil giants such as Exxon Mobil and Shell to invest in Mexico’s lethargic 75-year-old state oil monopoly, Pemex, the eighth-largest oil company in the world and a symbol of deep nationalist pride.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
Obama’s Trade Africa Initiative to support EAC integration
IPP Media (Tanzania), August 13, 2013 – The US is forming a new partnership with Trade Mark East Africa, a multi-donor funded organisation dedicated to supporting greater East African Community regional integration by breaking down barriers at the border and facilitating trade.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
Russia worried as Ukraine creeps closer to EU
Times of India, August 13, 2013 – No announcement was forthcoming about Ukraine’s possible membership in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan which is seen as a plan by Putin to revive the links of the ex-USSR….The Association Agreement between Kiev and the European Union would likely include a free trade deal which would bury forever any prospect of Ukraine joining Putin’s Customs Union. Likewise, EU officials have stated clearly that a move by Kiev towards the Customs Union would contradict its ambition of joining the European Union.
British people will be branded EU citizens from “cradle to grave”, ministers warn
London Telegraph, August 10, 2013 – British people will be branded EU citizens from “cradle to grave” as the European Union introduces its own birth, marriage and death certificates, ministers have warned. Eric Pickles, the local government secretary, fears that the European Union flag could replace the royal crest on all the official documents within three years under EU regulations.
Jacksonville native next in line to be U.S. ambassador to the African Union
Florida Times-Union, August 9, 2013 – Parts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are 9,000 feet above sea level, so it seems an appropriate next stop in the skyrocketing career of Jacksonville native Reuben Brigety II. He and his family arrive there in October, where he will serve as U.S. ambassador to the African Union, a 54-nation group modeled after the European Union.
GCC & ISRAEL:
Israel and the Gulf states: It’s complicated
Times of Israel, August 9, 2013 – One thing is certain: Jerusalem is vocally advocating for stronger ties with the overwhelmingly Sunni Gulf states in the Gulf, hoping both for commercial opportunities and geo-strategic advantages. On July 18, the Israeli Foreign Ministry opened a Twitter channel exclusively “dedicated to promoting dialogue with the people of the GCC region.” The GCC, short for Cooperation Council of Arab States in the Gulf, includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait. (Never mind that Israel still officially considers Saudi Arabia an enemy state and prohibits its citizens from entering the country.)
Foreign Ministry official to hold ‘meeting’ in Israel’s virtual Persian Gulf embassy
Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2013 – It is no secret that Israel has various degrees of communication, commerce and cooperation with the Persian Gulf countries. It is also no secret that all this contact is usually held behind closed doors, far from the public eye. This will change Tuesday when Foreign Ministry director-general Rafi Barak is scheduled to hold a Twitter chat on the “official channel of the virtual Israeli embassy to GCC countries.”
Asean countries join forces to boost vocational education programmes
VietNamNet Bridge, August 6, 2013 – After all 10 ASEAN nations become a single market there will be a free flow of labour. Chaiprug also said that efforts to make the degrees of educational institutes in ASEAN countries valid in other parts of the region should involve all 10 ASEAN members.
UNASUR & THE NEW REGIONAL ORDER:
Crisis and Strategic Integration: Towards a world of blocks
Radio La Primerisima (Nicaragua), August 5, 2013 (Google Translate) – Given the crisis of traditional multilateralism emerges a new multilateralism that is strengthened in new expressions such as the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and integrative processes as occurring in Latin America, Eurasia, Asia and Africa. Strategic processes into a world of blocks, multipolar. UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) is one of the best examples of strategic integration process of new type.
Writer, journalist. Former Vice Chancellor of Ecuador. Uruguay currently Ambassador-to UNASUR, CELAC and ALBA.
Falklands, global espionage and multilateral organizations in CFK dialogue with Ban Ki-moon
MercoPress, August 5, 2013 – Argentine president Cristina Fernandez visited on Monday afternoon United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and called for a restructuring of multilateral organisations in order to improve performance, using as an example regional body Unasur (Union of South American Nations)….Representatives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the African Union and the Arab League have been invited to brief the council, Perceval said. Representatives of the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will also participate.
Looming ASEAN integration to be tackled at Minbizcon
Philippine Information Agency, August 6, 2013 – The anticipated ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration into one single market and its impact on the Mindanao economy will be tackled during the 22nd Mindanao Business Conference (Minbizcon) this August 8-10 at SMX Davao.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
East African countries move towards common tourist visa
eTurbo – Global Travel Industry News, August 4, 2013 – Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have taken steps to ensure that a common tourist visa among the three countries will be a reality by January 2014, as will unrestricted travel by using national identity cards….The two remaining EAC [East African Community] members, Burundi and Tanzania, can join when they are ready to join. The three will use trilateral agreements, outside the EAC protocols, to implement their decisions now, but those agreements can become part of protocol implementation when the others agree.
[This is precisely the purpose of overlapping free trade agreements outside the protocols of regional organizations: to lock individual nations into deeper integration while other nations lagging behind can be prodded along in a carrot and stick process.]
NEW REGIONAL ORDER:
Cristina Fernandez will chair Security Council debate on UN relations with regional organizations
MercoPress, August 3, 2013 – Argentine president Cristina Fernandez….is scheduled to arrive to New York on Monday in anticipation of the Security Council debate that will include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, the head of the African Union Haile Mariam Dessalegne; Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil al Arabi plus Foreign ministers from Mercosur and representatives from Unasur, Celac and other regional groupings.
Argentine president to chair UN Security Council – Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 3, 2013 – Representatives of the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will also participate.
REGION-BUILDING of SAARC:
SAFE to hold conference on regional financial integration in October
Business Recorder (Pakistan), August 2, 2013 – Ms Bushra Tahir, Project Manager SAFE [South Asian Federation of Exchanges]…. thanked the US Government for its assistance, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to work towards securing a self-sustaining economic future of Pakistan and Saarc nations by nurturing more efficient economic environment. “We believe that SAFE’s project shall serve as a landmark initiative to achieve economic growth, not only in Pakistan, but all across the South Asian region”, she said. The concept for this project, entitled, “Regional Financial Integration – Developing a Harmonised Regulatory Framework for the Capital Markets in Pakistan and South Asia”, has been developed under the specific needs identified by the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) Secretariat of facilitating regional financial integration.
A tally of thirteen is depicted over North America as Senator Dianne Feinstein describes NSA chart’s “events disrupted”: “…thirteen in the homeland, twenty five in Europe, five in Africa…”
Welcome to the Homeland, Mexico and Canada!
YAHOO! News, August 1, 2013 – You may notice, as we did, the odd use of “homeland” in this context. It’s a tired critique by now, noting how the adoption of this expression to refer to the United States echoes weird Communist rhetoric from the mid-20th century. Regardless: Isn’t “homeland” a weird term? But you may also be surprised to learn that our homeland now includes both Mexico and Canada, two areas that we understood to be autonomous nations that are not part of the United States.
‘NORTH AMERICAN PERIMETER‘
Surprise. Stephen Harper’s U.S. border deal does imperil Canadian sovereignty
Toronto Star, August 1, 2013 – The U.S. government wants American police agents working in Canada exempted from Canadian law. If this is a surprise, it shouldn’t be….Announced in 2011, the so-called North American perimeter security pact would give Washington the right to have its agents and police officers operate alongside their Canadian counterparts within Canada….Theoretically, Canadian agents could operate with similar powers in the U.S. in order to provide an appearance of reciprocity.