NEWS ARCHIVE – July 1-15, 2012

GCC flagArab League flagGCC: ARAB LEAGUE: Setting up Arab Human Rights Tribunal discussed  – Bahrain News Agency, July 15, 2012 – The Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for Regional and GCC Affairs hailed the outcome of the ministerial work team’s meetings, stressing the importance of follow-up and coordination with the Arab League’s Secretariat General regarding the implementation of the decision taken on March 10, 2012 which welcomed Bahrain’s initiative to host a conference to study the establishment of the Arab Human Rights Tribunal.
A Gulf Security Framework
  –  Yemen Post, July 15, 2012 – A gulf security framework that involves GCC member states, Iraq, Iran and Yemen would likely be welcomed by all; its success would depend on the goals, the contribution and the will of its members, the interaction between the members and the U.S. in connection with American presence and basing – regulated by bilateral agreements – and the mechanism applied to develop security institutions to improve regional security.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Japan targets ASEAN ties amid Chinese friction  – Japan Times, July 15, 2012 – A senior Japanese diplomat in charge of Asian affairs said that ASEAN’s [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] growing collective influence in shaping a new regional order can no longer be disregarded and that working closely with the bloc will become strategically important, particularly in dealing with China’s maritime assertiveness.      

GCC flagGCC (‘GULF UNION’): Qatar in Gulf unionist camp  – Gulf News (Dubai), July 15, 2012 – Qatar sought strength in both the GCC alliance as well as privileged ties with western powers like the US, Britain and France. Still, Doha wished to frankly address socio-economic reservations, fearing a more or less permanent loss of its cherished political independence….Qatar fielded a weak military when measured vis-à-vis its needs, which was why Doha essentially accepted to embark on the union bandwagon.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: S.African elected first female AU Commission head  – “Reuters, July 15, 2012 – “We made it!” a grinning Zimbabwean delegate shouted, reflecting the strong support Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy had received from fellow members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)….The appointment of South Africa’s 63-year-old home affairs minister, who previously served as minister of health and foreign affairs, will add to the global diplomatic clout of an African state which is already the continent’s largest economy.
East Africa: EAC Asks Court to Dismiss Case Challenging Political Federation – AllAfrica, July 15, 2012 – The EAC [East African Community] Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera on Friday asked the East African Court of Justice to dismiss with costs an application seeking an interim order to restrain the EAC Secretariat from executing a directive by the Summit of Heads of State to recommend a roadmap for the attainment of the East African Political Federation.
African Union Seeks Way Forward on Mali Crisis  – Voice of America, July 14, 2012 – The African Union is working with the western regional bloc ECOWAS to support Mali’s interim government, installed after a March 22 coup, and to discuss options for confronting the Islamist insurgency. ECOWAS is considering a military intervention by African forces, and is awaiting a formal request by the Malian government and official backing from the United Nations Security Council.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: For Illegal Immigrants, Greek Border Offers a Back Door to Europe – Jakarta Globe, July 15, 2012 (from the New York Times) – The 126-mile border between Turkey, which is not in the European Union, and Greece, which is, has become the back door to the European Union, making member countries ever more resentful as a tide of immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa continues to grow.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: U.S. Military Steps Up ‘Sustained Engagement’ With Africa – AllAfrica, July 13, 2012 – Ambassador Anthony Holmes, the deputy Africom commander for civilian-military activities, outlined what he describes as a ‘concerted’ American effort to strengthen the capacity of African militaries to handle their own security, using a ‘by, with and through’ approach’. Excerpts:….”This can’t be done overnight. Essentially what we are doing is building institutions at the national level, at the sub-regional level and at the continental level. So we work with the African Union, we work with the regional economic commissions to develop their peace and security architecture and to promote the cooperation of African countries among themselves.”
BUILDING REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE: Namibia: Ambitious Power Project in PipelineAllAfrica, July 13, 2012 – Once it sees the light of day the project will add a new western leg to north-south transmission links between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Energy Ministers from the four Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are also expected to sign agreements supporting the construction of a power line running from Zambia, through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to reinforce the SAPP power grid….The project is ranked as a Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) priority project and a flagship African Union regional integration initiative.
World Bank grants loan for Kenya-Ethiopia power line Sabahi, July 12, 2012 – This new Eastern Electricity Highway Project marks the first phase of $1.3-billion power integration project for East Africa, which will benefit 212 million people living in five countries.
The Sabahi web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Another EU to the East? – Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2012 – Currently, the group is effectively a customs union but by 2015, the goal is to create a regional free-trade zone with a Eurasian Economic Commission to oversee joint policies, and an independent court to judge rules breaches. Unified monetary, tax and macroeconomic policies are eventually supposed to follow.

ASEAN FlagPIF FlagASEAN, PACIFIC ISLANDS: U.S.-EU Statement on the Asia-Pacific Region – Press Release: US State Department –, July 13 2012 – Secretary Clinton and High Representative Ashton welcomed the progress being made in regional cooperation and integration in the Asia-Pacific. This enhances the capacity of the region to address complex trans-national issues, while contributing to strengthened governance. The United States and the European Union particularly welcome the central role played by ASEAN and its promotion of wider regional fora, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit….The United States and the European Union intend to continue engaging on key governance and development challenges with the Lower Mekong and Pacific Islands sub-regions, both bilaterally and through the Friends of the Lower Mekong Initiative and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Arab League flagARAB LEAGUE REGIONAL COURT: International Criminal Responsibility for Assad – Turkish Weekly, July 12, 2012 – A regional court established by the Arab League and backed by the U.N., U.S. and EU may also be easier to broker and may be more appealing in the eyes of the Syrian people. Such a court would both have the punitive ability to imprison Assad and at the same time speak to the hearts and minds of the Syrian people better than perhaps the International Criminal Court could.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION REGIONAL COURT: War Crimes Court for Africa? – AllAfrica, July 13, 2012 – The African Union’s Human Rights Commission seated in Banjul, The Gambia could be used as Africa’s War Crimes Court in trying those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on the continent.
Africa: Packed Agenda for AU Summit – AllAfrica, July 13, 2012 – SADC [Southern African Development Community] says the time for southern Africa to lead the AU Commission is now, since all other regions in Africa have had the opportunity to occupy the top post. However, there is an unwritten agreement among AU member states that leading nations on the continent such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa should not lead the AU Commission.

GCC flagGCC: Abu Dhabi Leads Gulf Nations With Oil Pipe to Avoid Iran – Bloomberg, July 13, 2012 – The $3.3 billion link across the United Arab Emirates to the port of Fujairah, to be inaugurated July 15, ensures that at least some Abu Dhabi crude will reach buyers if Iran shuts the waterway….In 2003, the six nations comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — began weighing a regional plan to build a pipeline from southern Iraq through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to Oman. The Arab group decided in 2007 not to proceed
Eurozone and the GCC – Kipp Report, July 13, 2012 – BRIC countries seem to be hurt, as the European Union is a major trading part­ner for all the BRIC nations. So it would be a rather safe assumption then that the Gulf Cooperation Council economies would also be hurt by the Eurozone cri­sis. So how badly is it impacted by the developments in Athens, Berlin, Madrid or Paris?

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to integrate joint air defense system – Pravda (Russia), July 12, 2012 – Kazakhstan and Russia along with Belarus are going to integrate the joint air defense system by 2013….Now, according to the CSTO agreement, the joint air defense system is active in five countries of the CIS. It is noteworthy that this list includes Ukraine, even though on a bilateral basis. Games with the European Union are one thing, but so far Kyiv prefers to trust its own safety to Moscow.
Putin makes a breakthrough in the Russian-Ukraine relations – PressTV, July 13, 2012 – Experts say the vital Black Sea region’s compromise separation, which however was not officially revealed, was failure to Ukraine’s President as experts say Russia is eager to deprive Ukraine of its sovereignty. Experts stress that Putin tempts Kyiv to support and join his Customs and Eurasian Union projects, but refusing any concessions, particularly on gas prices.
State Duma deputies in the foreign policy – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), July 12, 2012 – Yesterday Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, held a press conference and spoke on the main challenges of Russian foreign policy relevant for the legislative authorities….”The Customs Union of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Community are the most important priorities for our country. We consider them as important steps towards a full-fledged Eurasian Union, an economic organization, perhaps with a broader perspective in the future.”

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Venezuela and Argentina sign agreement on defense – TV (Venezuela), July 12, 2012 – “This visit is part of that openness that we have the integration of South America and allows us to realize many programs,” said Rangel Silva. For his part, [Argentina Defense Minister Arthur Puricelli] highlighted the efforts [of the] Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to strive for peace in the region and, thus integrating the 12 member countries to defend the property of the continent.
Attorney and U.S. Ambassador reaffirm commitment to fight drug trafficking – RTU News (Ecuador), July 12, 2012 (Google Translation) – [Ecuador Attorney General Galo Chiriboga] talked about the interest that Ecuador has to move forward with the Treaty of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which will help its members combat the international organizations that offend: “States should have the ability to face international response in the police investigation and prosecution of these investigations,” said Chiriboga.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: European Commission president urges Israel not to neglect Palestinian peace process despite Iran threat – Haaretz (Israel), July 13, 2012 (Google link) – But Barroso goes much farther. He may be said to lack vision, but he forecasts that the current storm will end with a rainbow, whether it is called a “European federation” or “political union” or any other term that reflects a supra-national utopia: the dream of realizing a “United States of Europe.”
“Paradoxically,” Barroso says, “the crisis is leading to the strengthening of the integration movement in Europe. No one is discussing the discarding of the euro, but the opposite. We are discussing the establishment of a fiscal union and a banking union, which will have a common overseer. Those moves will complete the economic and monetary union which already exists and ultimately lead to the establishment of true political union.”

ASEAN FlagASEAN: ASEAN Fails to Reach Common Ground on China Row – ABC News | Associated Press, July 13, 2012 – The failure to issue a customary statement following the meeting of foreign ministers underscores deep divisions within the 10-member bloc amid conflicting territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea involving four of its members plus China and Taiwan.
Asean economies poised for growth despite global difficulties – Yahoo! News Philippines, July 13, 2012 – Despite the weaker external environment, growth in Southeast Asia is expected to remain robust, supported by strong domestic demand and reconstruction in flood-affected areas, the Asian Development Outlook Supplement released yesterday said.

PIF FlagSOUTH PACIFIC: New Zealand rotates troops in Solomon Islands mission – Xinhua (China), July 13, 2012 – New Zealand, which holds the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum this year, agreed to commit troops to the RAMSI, when the forum governments established the mission to restore order after a period of civil unrest and violence in 2003. New Zealand originally contributed 50 troops to the mission, which includes personnel from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Mexico’s Election: A Vote for Peace, a Plan for War – The Nation, July 11, 2012 – For the first time…the CIA and US military personnel are working side by side to plan operations, which are “devised to get around Mexican laws that prohibit foreign military and police from operating on its soil.” The Obama administration is sending aerial drones deep into Mexican territory to track the traffickers and coordinate de facto counterterrorism efforts. One US official at the Northern Command says, “the military is trying to take what it did in Afghanistan and do the same in Mexico.” This isn’t hyperbole; the US ambassador to Mexico is Earl Anthony Wayne, who was America’s deputy ambassador in Kabul from 2009 through 2011.
Notes detail Canada-U.S. plan to track refugees, travellers
– BC News (Canada), July 11, 2012 – The perimeter security deal — to 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. The February 2012 briefing notes, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, provide fresh details about how the two countries will co-operate more closely on documenting and controlling the movement of citizens and visitors.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Asean talks: US and China pledge to co-operate on Asia – BBC News, July 12, 2012 – Meanwhile, Asean is seeking China’s agreement on a code of conduct on disputes in the potentially oil-rich South China Sea…Foreign ministers of the 10-nation bloc are meeting in the Cambodian capital with counterparts from the region including China, and Mrs Clinton and European Union representative Catherine Ashton.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Africa ‘could save $172bn’ by developing transport infrastructure – Business Day (South Africa), July 11, 2012 – Citing figures from the African Union’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Mr van Tonder, speaking as part of an expert panel at the Infrastructure Africa conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, said savings of up to $172bn could be achieved through a properly implemented African regional transport network.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Is Canadian sovereignty at risk with cross-border policing? – NORTH AMERICA: CBC News (Canada), July 11, 2012 – When the Conservative government passed its controversial omnibus budget bill last month, it included new powers for certain U.S. law enforcement agents that critics say could have ramifications for Canadian sovereignty. The Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act now makes it possible for American officers to cross the border into Canada where, as the act states, they have “the same power to enforce an act of Parliament as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” This means they’ll be armed and have the powers to arrest suspects in Canadian territory.
Beyond Energy Independence: US Could Become Exporter – Aol Energy, July 10, 2012 – For the US, aspiring to be merely energy independent is “too modest,” says Manhattan Institute Adjunct Fellow Mark Mills. Instead, the US should collaborate with Canada and Mexico to not only fulfill domestic needs but make North America the world’s largest energy supplier, Mills says in a new report, “Unleashing the North American Energy Colossus.”
This is the argument that will be heard increasingly to persuade economically stressed Americans to compromise U.S. sovereignty and accept greater integration of the North American continent. In reality, if the U.S. would simply develop its own resources, it would be an “energy powerhouse” without Canada and Mexico or continental infrastructure projects such as the Keystone Pipeline.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: No trade with Israel – By Stuart Reigeluth | Special to Gulf News (Dubai, U.A.E.), July 11, 2012 – The EU needs to place conditions on its trade relations with Israel if it wants to see any progress towards resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict….European Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, clarified the legal question posed by Members of the European Parliament, Brok and Moreira, by reiterating the official European position in Brussels that recognition of the EU-Israel ACCA will be granted “only on the basis that the territory covered by the Responsible Authority does not include territories brought under Israeli administration in 1967.”
Israel in EU and NATO? It’s Not So Crazy, Says Former Bulgarian FM – Turkish Weekly, July 10, 2012 – Israel should more assertively seek to join NATO and the European Union, Bulgaria’s former foreign minister has told The Times of Israel. If anybody is qualified to give Israel such advice, it’s likely Solomon Passy, who spearheaded the former Warsaw Pact member state’s successful membership bids to both unions.
[Is this carrot-and-stick approach by the European Union toward Israel a possibility? Full membership in the EU and NATO would be about the only “security” option that would prompt Israel to give up more land, even though it would place Jerusalem under EU dictates. – Daniel 9: 27; Isaiah 31:1 ]

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: African FTA ‘ambitious but achievable’ –, July 10, 2012 – At an AU [African Union] summit earlier this year, African leaders endorsed the plan, expected to be operational by the end of 2017. It envisages a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$875-billion from 26 countries. The East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have already begun negotiations to merge, which is a precursor to a single trade area across the continent.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Lavrov: Russia ‘prepared to step up integration process’ – Voice of Russia, July 10, 2012 – The Russian Foreign Minister pointed out that the EU and the processes that Moscow has been advancing via the Single Economic Area with CIS countries, as well as prospects for setting up a Eurasian Economic Union are not at variance with each other.
President Putin’s address at the meeting of Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives – BSR Russia, July 10, 2012 – …”Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus gives us a common market of around 170 million consumers, but adding Ukraine would take us to 210-220 million consumers. The synergy effect would be tremendous. But we fully realise of course that matters such as integration and joining integration organisations are the sovereign choice of Ukraine’s people and Ukraine’s state headed by the current leadership.”

ASEAN FlagASEAN: ASEAN nations agree on code of conduct for South China Sea, seek China’s OK – |Associated Press, July 9, 2012 – The agreement was reached at a meeting of foreign ministers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to which China does not belong. The issue of contending maritime claims is the major topic of the talks held in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, in large part because tensions over the sea have escalated in recent months.
East Asian Regionalism: End Of ASEAN Centrality? – Analysis – Eurasia Review, July 9, 2012 – China has announced that China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to begin negotiations in November on a Free Trade Agreement. The proposed pact, when concluded, will create one of the world’s biggest free trade areas as the three countries together account for 20 percent of world GDP and 19 percent of exports. The goal of an East Asia FTA (EAFTA) has long been mired in historical mistrust amongst the three former enemies, notwithstanding their growing ties. Their agreement to start formal talks for an FTA is a psychological breakthrough. Chinese analysts described it as a “milestone development”. How will this EAFTA affect Southeast Asia and should ASEAN be concerned?

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Unlikely Path of Integration – The Observer (Uruguay), July 9, 2012 (Google Translation) – The usefulness of President Mujica’s idea of eventually Mercosur and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in a single regional organization depends on essential principles such as freedom of trade and coexistence of different political tendencies….The role model is the integration process which culminated in the creation of the European Union, even with all the problems it has had and has. Set a goal, initially limited to the economic field and then extended to the political field, which was unchanged over more than six decades as state policies, despite governments of varying ideological persuasions…

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Russia makes case for Eurasian Union – EurActiv, July 9, 2012 – Vasiliy Boitsov, EEC director for technical regulation, said any country wishing to join the Eurasian Union would have to meet the common requirements, including safety and sanitary standards, for example. Newcomers would also be required to adopt the EEC’s entire legislation and ensure that national laws do not conflict with those those of the union.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: AU in final push to take over ICC cases – Kenya Broadcasting Corp., July 9, 2012 – The meeting will be a crucial one as it seeks to approve amendments to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice designed to facilitate the take-over of cases facing top African leaders at The Hague-based Court.Majority of the ICC’s [International Criminal Court] active cases are international crimes committed in African states of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Libya and Kenya.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Report: EU’s boycott of settlement trade legal – Ynet News (Israel), July 9, 2012 – A recent legal brief compiled by James Crawford, professor of international law at Britain’s Cambridge University, has ruled that European governments “Are fully within their rights to ban trade with Israeli settlements” in the West Bank.
PM Netanyahu meets with European Commission President Barroso – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (press release), July 9, 2012 – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday, 9 July 2012), in his office, met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The two discussed the importance of expanding cooperation between Israel and Europe in all areas, Iran’s effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons and the resumption of the peace talks with the Palestinians. Following the meeting, Israel and the European Union signed a cooperation agreement on research and development in the fields of energy and water.
Barroso calls for resumption of Middle East peace talks – PublicServiceEurope, July 9, 2012 – The European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinians, providing €4bn of aid between 2000 and 2011. “Our commitment is clear,” Barroso said. “The truth is that through our overall political and financial support we are laying the foundations of a future democratic and viable Palestinian state – its institutions and its infrastructure.”
Two-thirds of voters want an EU referendum – London Telegraph, July 9, 2012 – If given a choice today, nearly half, 48 per cent, would favour British withdrawal from the EU compared to 31 per cent who want to remain within the Union.

GCC flagGCC: GCC share of global oil reserves likely to rise to 70% – MENAFN, July 8, 2012 – Share of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to the world oil reserves is predicted to rise from the current 45 percent to 70 percent during the first decades of the current century, according to the latest report by the Kuwait-based Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies (DCSS).

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: EU Losing Global Attraction Due to Financial Crisis – Kuwait News Agency, July 8, 2012 – The world had been keenly observing Europe’s integration process to be adopted as a model. Regional organisations such as the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the African Union saw in the economic success with the creation of a Single Market of the European Union a paradigm to be followed.
Germany, France urge closer European unity – Seattle Times | Associated Press, July 8, 2012 – The conservative Merkel and Socialist Hollande disagree on some key issues raised in seeking solutions to the crisis, including sharing debts across the eurozone. “The economic union … appears not to be strong enough,” Merkel said, urging Europeans to “complete the economic and monetary union on a political level.”

UNASUR FlagUNASUR & CENTRAL AMERICA: Nicaragua Launches Plan to Create Canal – InfoNews, (Argentina), July 8, 2012 (Google Translation – The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, on Saturday passed legislative decree that creates the legal status and authority of the Grand Canal Interoceanic by Nicaragua, which enables negotiations with countries interested in participating in the work. He assured that there are international conditions for the construction of the canal in reference to advances in integration processes in Latin America from Mercosur, UNASUR, SICA and the Community of American States and Caribbean (ECLAC).
The most corrupt Parliament of the Americas – Vanguard Journal (Paraguay), July 7, 2012 (Google Translation) – All countries of both MERCOSUR and UNASUR, unanimously understood that here was a parliamentary coup, so they decided to suspend our country. And they wonder “how to make commitments to medium and long term with presidential regimes whose parliament can impeach a President of the Republic in two days.”….Now that, besides being a landlocked country, we are isolated politically and economically, the parliamentarian “heroes of national sovereignty” blame Chavez for our misfortune.
The Paraguayan Coup: How agribusiness, landowning and media elite, and the U.S. are paving a way for regional destabilization – ZNet, July 7, 2012 – They are the powers behind this unbelievably sordid coup, an event that appears to have been merely a step toward fulfilling longstanding agreements made between the Paraguayan oligarchy, multinational agribusiness interests, and the United States….[Ousted President Lugo’s] willingness toward regional cooperation in bodies such as UNASUR and Mercosur — from which Paraguay has now been expelled — was also endangering the security of these moneyed and military interests….It is in essence a deeply feudal country….According to Paraguayan investigative journalist Idilio Mendez Grimaldi, one of the reasons behind Lugo’s removal was his cabinet’s unfavorable stance toward the release of Monsanto’s transgenic cotton seed into the country.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: ASEAN opens up after rights pact secrecy outcry – Agence France-Presse, July 8,2012 – ASEAN said Sunday, July 8, it would release “key elements” of a proposed human rights declaration after international rights watchdogs slammed secrecy surrounding the document. The decision was reached after Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers met with members of the bloc’s human rights commission, which is drafting the declaration, a senior diplomat said in Phnom Penh.
Global watchdogs slam Asean secrecy on rights pact – Sin Chew (Malaysia), July 8, 2012 – International rights watchdogs on Sunday slammed ASEAN for a lack of consultation on a proposed human rights declaration, warning that commitments could fall below global standards as a result. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups voiced concern in a letter to the 10 foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)…

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Moscow calls Azerbaijan to Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) – Contact (Azerbaijan), July 7, 2012 – According to the journalists of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Leonid Slutsky, the issue of the Eurasian Economic Union was one of the issues discussed at the first joint meeting of the committee in Baku. He is convinced that Azerbaijan’s joning the EEC, would be “extremely serious step” for this project. “We know that Azerbaijan pays great attention to the Eurasian project. Azerbaijan’s joinng it would be a very serious step for a single economic space and the EEU,” said Slutsky.

SAARC FlagSAARC: Ties to improve if Pak stops giving safe haven to terrorists: Advani – Times of India, July 8, 2012 – In the wake of 26/11 handler Abu Jundal’s extradition from Saudi Arabia, BJP leader L K Advani on Sunday said India’s relations with Pakistan would improve considerably if it stopped providing a safe haven to terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and handed them over to New Delhi.

ASEAN FlagASEAN & ‘REGIONAL HEALTHCARE’: Universal healthcare essential, Asean+3 health ministers say – The Nation (Thailand), July 7, 2012 – Asean and its key partners Japan, South Korea and China yesterday jointly decided to make universal health coverage an essential provision for the more than 2 billion people living in the region….All participating health ministers said they were committed to establishing an Asean+3 network on universal health coverage, as well as to share and collectively build a national as well as regional capacity to assess and manage an efficient health system that supports universal health coverage.
[ASEAN’s regional approach to universal healthcare is consistent with its statist participants such as China and Vietnam. It is also consistent with efforts in all of the geopolitical regions to harmonize regulations and infrastructure throughout their respective member nations to accommodate deeper regional integration. In this context, Obama’s government healthcare system would more easily integrate with Canada’s.]
Constructing the Asean community – Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 6, 2012 – Colonial rule divided, by artificial national boundaries, communities bound together by blood, language, religion, and common cultural practices, including dance forms and music. The nation-states that emerged during the postwar, postcolonial period used these cultural markers to help build their respective national identities. Asean now seeks to project an Asean identity that will help secure long-term regional goals over short-term national interests.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Southern Africa: SADC Infrastructure Plan Ready for Approval – AllAfrica, July 6, 2012 – If endorsed by the southern African leaders, the master plan would guide development in key infrastructure such as road, rail and ports, and would also act as a framework for planning and cooperation with development partners and the private sector….It is also in line with the African Union’s Programme for Infrastructure Development of Africa (PIDA) and will constitute a key input into the proposed tripartite Free Trade Area made up of SADC [Southern African Development Community], the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC)

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: MERCOSUR and UNASUR, One Thing – La Gaceta (The Gazette – Argentina), July 6, 2012 (Google Translation) – The president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica is in favor of merging the Mercosur with UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) to expand regional integration, and explained his idea and his counterparts from Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, Argentina, Cristina Fernández, Peru, Ollanta Humala, and Chile, Sebastián Piñera. “We have to think 20 years ahead. Transform Mercosur into UNASUR or vice versa, in one.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Azerbaijan Interested in Joining Formation of Eurasian Economic Union – Azerbaijan Business Center, July 6, 2012 – In the course of the meeting Chairman of the Committee for CIS Issues and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutskiy has reported that Azerbaijani and Russia lawmakers discuss opportunity for Azerbaijan’s joining formation of new Eurasian architecture. ” Azerbaijan can participate in this project only providing that the country participates in Eurasian Economic Union,” L. Slutskiy said.

GCC flagGCC (‘GULF UNION’): Bahrain favours Gulf union – GulfNews, July 7, 2012 – Unlike Omani representatives, Bahraini officials welcomed Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz’s call to update the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance into a full-fledged union, perceiving that only such an evolutionary mechanism may preserve the monarchy in the island kingdom.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Ghana receives EUR 24 million as general budget support from the European Union – StarAfrica, July 6, 2012 – General budget support to Ghana is part of a broader EU aid portfolio of a total of more than € 420 million (about GHS 900 million) for the period 2008-2014. Other sectors of intervention include Transport & Interconnectivity, Governance, and non focal areas such as trade facilitation, regional integration and support to Economic Partnership Agreement; natural resources management and migration, security and Diaspora.
European Commission President to Visit Palestine – European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to visit Palestine on Sunday where he will meet President Mahmoud Abbas and WAFA – Palestine News Agency, July 7, 2012 – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, according to an EC press release….Fayyad and Barroso will also sign a new €20 million financing agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority in support of the PA efforts to promote the rule of law and democracy.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: China and Argentina sign military cooperation agreements – (China), July 5, 2012 – In his visit to Beijing, the defense minister of Argentina, Arturo Puricelli, met with his Chinese counterpart, General Liang Guanglie, who signed on 3 July a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation between two countries, Puricelli said during a news conference….Puricelli denied that the cooperation between China and Argentina on defense can be a cause of concern for its South American neighbors, as Argentina calls for integration of the region and construction of UNASUR as an area of peace.
Chavez: Venezuela to Buy Tanks from China – Miami Herald | Associated Press, July 3, 2012 – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government will buy amphibious tanks from China for its military.

SAARC FlagSAARC: Kalam hopes to see an integrated South Asian region – The Hindu, July 5, 2012 – The former President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has hoped that despite rivalry between the two nuclear nations, South Asia emerges as an integrated region on the lines of European Union in next 10 years. “I think South Asia will emerge as an integrated region in next 10 years discarding their rivalry following footsteps of the EU and ASEAN nations,” the visiting nuclear scientist and former president of India, said at a news briefing on Thursday.
Unwanted Then, He Gets the Red Carpet Now – The Hindu, July 6, 2012 – Less than a decade ago, the Indian government had declared him persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. He was Pakistan’s senior-most diplomat in New Delhi then. Two days ago, when Jalil Abbas Jilani arrived back in the Indian capital, this time as the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, that nasty episode in India-Pakistan relations was a dim memory on the red carpet that was rolled out for him.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Cold Peace: Putin’s Pole of Power Challenges Europe – Ukrainian Week, July 5, 2012 – Putin’s concept of a Eurasian Union will be central to his efforts to forge a legacy as a gatherer of post-Soviet lands….Washington has curtailed, if not completely discarded, its campaign to enlarge NATO and secure the post-Soviet neighbourhood within Western structures. This has left the post-Soviet states more exposed and vulnerable to Moscow’s pressure and integrationist maneuvers. Moreover, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine are not priority interests for the current American government.
EurAsEC to Grow Towards Ever Closer Integration – NewEurope, July 5, 2012 – The process of integration between the three ex-Soviet countries resembles in many ways the initial stages of the European project, leading to the creation of the EU. EurAsEC started in late 1990s as a customs union and the ambition of the leaders is to have an economic union by year 2015.
GCC: Iran Says It’s Time For The US And Israel To ‘Disappear From The World’ – Business Insider, July 5, 2012 – The U.S. has been seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — through joint mine countermeasure exercises and purchases of American-made air defense systems and weaponry. The UAE and Bahrain announced on Sunday that they would be performing “several days” of joint air force exercises this week.
Iran: Escalation Guaranteed – Defense Professionals (DefPro), July 5, 2012 – There is a powerful rationale for Iran to go nuclear….Sunni sects have also successfully radicalised Iran’s periphery in effect creating a Sunni ring of encirclement. Added to this is that Iran’s neighbours are either nuclear, have alliances with nuclear powers or host deployments from nuclear powers – exacerbating a deeply skewed conventional imbalance. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for example have well over 500 modern combat aircraft while Iran fields obsolescent models at best, all of doubtful serviceability.
Gulf banks to escape eurozone turmoil, says S&P
ArabianBusiness, July 6, 2012 – “We believe the trend of declining loan loss provisions will continue for most of the banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council, resulting in further recovery in reported net profits despite adverse conditions in the eurozone and international banking markets,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Timucin Engin.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: S. Korean FM to attend ASEAN forum in Cambodia – Yonhap News Agency (South Korea), July 6, 2012 – South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan will attend next week’s regional security talks in Cambodia hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a senior official said Friday….”As far as I know, the North Korean foreign minister Pak is also scheduled to attend the ARF,” the official said. The official said no plan has been set to hold a bilateral meeting with North Korea during the forum, but left the door open for possible inter-Korean contact organized by an “unofficial channel.”
Wary Neighbors Turn Into Partners in a Quickly Developing Southeast Asia – New York Times, July 5, 2012 (Google link) – But the integration of Southeast Asia has taken on a life of its own. It more closely resembles the European Economic Community, an early predecessor to the European Union, than it does the current European bloc, which is struggling to reconcile its plans for a common monetary policy with its lack of fiscal and political unity.

PIF FlagPIF – SOUTH PACIFIC: Lessons to be learnt – Fiji Times, July 6, 2012 – There was also discussion on the PACER-Plus, where the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat director of economic governance, Shiu Raj said that the region had taken long to implement the trade agreements. Former regional trade negotiator, Mr Tavola said that even though cabinets approved trade agreements, legal provisions still needed to be made to implement the agreements and this had proven to be a problem for governments.

SAARC FlagSAARC: Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks over, Pak offers joint probe in 26/11 carnage – CNN-IBNLive (India), July 5, 20212 – The Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks ended on Thursday morning with Pakistan proposing a joint investigation into the 26/11 Mumbai carnage and categorically stating that Pakistan has not been involved in any terror act in India. Addressing a press conference after the talks, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Jilani said, ….”We are both victims of terrorism. We should not blame one another. India and Pakistan are not only neighbours but partners in SAARC. We must make sincere and serious efforts to build trust.”

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: EAC countries move to ease currency convertibility – Standard Digital News (Kenya), July 4, 2012 – Once concluded, the East African Community member states should have a single currency and single central bank. A deal on a regional currency is yet to be hammered, despite the deadline for the formation of the East African Monetary Union being too close.
African presidents in final bid to stop ICC
– Standard Digital News, July 4, 2012 – Africa’s final assault on International Criminal Court is scheduled next week at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and on it rests hopes for referral of cases against four Kenyans. Heads of State are expected to approve amendments to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice designed to facilitate the take over of cases facing top African leaders at The Hague-based court.
East Africa: EAC Court’s Jurisdiction to Be Extended – AllAfrica, July 5, 2012 – The Council of Ministers of the East African Community have tasked the EAC secretariat to devise a policy that extends the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice, during their just concluded meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. The court would also be empowered to handle cases forwarded from national courts.
ECOWAS Records 6.4% Economic Growth – Liberian Observer, July 4, 2012 – While most economic blocs of the world continued to suffer from the slow recovery of the global economy, West African [ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States] leaders have welcomed the region’s positive economic growth of 6.4 percent in 2011 and the bright prospects for 2012. They, however, reaffirmed the need to deepen the regional integration process in order to alleviate the negative impacts of shocks and to provide better prospects for development.
Tripartite Free Trade Area to Reduce Trading Costs – AllAfrica, July 4, 2012 – The TFTA is a grouping of 27 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) states.

GCC flagGCC (‘GULF UNION’): SWOT analysis of a GCC Union – Kuwait Times, July 5, 2012 – The over reliance on oil has benefited the region, now is the time to clearly set the foundation of the post-oil era. The linking of the GCC power grid, the proposed inter-GCC railway, amidst an ever expanding global air-link via growing national carriers, along with existing and proposed seaports will continue to ensure the regions global relevance.
Regime change in Syria: A true story – Asia Times, July 5, 2012 – Therefore, the US, al-Qaeda, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are all on the same side in this conflict – trying to enforce a regime change in Syria without any thought on what will happen after Bashar al-Assad has been ousted.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Kyrgyzstan has to flee to the Customs Union but not for dear life rather with bag of preferences – Ednan Karabaev – News Agency 24 (Kyrgyzstan), July 5, 2012 – “The country faces medieval and traditional things. Kyrgyzstan divides not by ethnic groups but by clans and tribes. Probably, this integration will help save unity of the country the more so as hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyzstanis work in the Eurasian Union,” he said.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: German Economists to Launch Protest Against Latest EU Agreements – Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2012 – Leading economic figures in Germany called on politicians and citizens to block a banking union and other decisions that were taken during the European Union summit in Brussels. At the summit last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel caved in to pressure from other euro-zone countries to allow the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone’s permanent bailout fund, to directly boost the capital of struggling banks instead of restricting it to lending only to euro-zone governments.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Sending US spy planes to Shoal part of Asean protocols, says Biazon – Inquirer (Philippines), July 5, 2012 – [Philippine] Representative Rodolfo Biazon said the sending of United States (US) spy planes to the disputed Scarborough Shoal [South China Sea] was part of “exchange of information” under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional protocol.

PIF FlagSOUTH PACIFIC: Economic growth a hot topic for Hayes – Hawke’s Bay Today (New Zealand), July 5, 2012 – Wairarapa MP John Hayes has been at the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Tarawa, Kiribati, which looked at ideas on how to increase economic growth in the Pacific.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Paraguay ups diplomatic pressure on Venezuela – Boston Globe, July 4, 2012 – Paraguay’s new president, Francisco Franco, and other politicians are furious over allegations that Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chavez, tried to persuade Paraguayan military leaders to rise up in support of the leftist Lugo during his impeachment and ouster….Both the Mercosur trade group and the Unasur political and defense union of South American nations suspended Paraguay until it holds a presidential election, now scheduled for April 2013
UNASUR: A Latin American success story – Pravda (Russia), July 5, 2012 – In spite of the global economic crisis, UNASUR member countries have done remarkably well. The region’s economy is growing at a 4.5 percent annual rate, their USD reserves total 600 billion.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA – ‘BEYOND THE BORDER’ & REGULATORY ALIGNMENT: Cuomo joins push for pre-clearance program at Peace Bridge – Buffalo News, July 4, 2012 – The plan calls for truck cargo to be initially screened in Fort Erie, Ont. Cuomo said 90 percent of truck traffic is expected to be cleared at the initial check, with any additional inspection on the remaining cargo conducted on the Canadian side. Over the years, Canadian officials have raised concerns about having armed U.S. police on Canadian land.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Asean Wants E Asian Part – The Nation (Thailand), July 4, 2012 – Asean foreign ministers will explore the idea of bringing China, Japan and South Korea into the group’s connectivity scheme when they hold their annual meeting in Phnom Penh next week, the chief of Thailand’s Asean Department said yesterday. The regional grouping has developed a connectivity master plan to enhance integration, and wants the three East Asian powerhouses to play a bigger role in it, Asean Department chief Arthayudh Srisamoot said.
Can diverse Asean nations form a community by 2015? – Malaysia Star, July 4, 2012 – Translation: the free movement of goods and services; and an even freer movement of capital and talents among the 10 member states. Fast-forward six years and questions remain. In 2012 we see concerns over the eurozone and the future of European Community. Folks now question the viability of the Asean Economic Community (AEC). Is the AEC a good idea after all?

Eurasian Economic Union mulls the ‘Rurozone’ – Business New Europe, July 4, 2012 – In June, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for the introduction of a common currency for the Eurasian Union of former Soviet countries as a hedge against growing volatility in global financial markets. Given the mess the Eurozone is in, why would Russia even contemplate the idea of linking its ruble to currencies like the Belarusian ruble or the Kazakh tenge?

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION & DE FACTO GOVERNMENT-CERTIFIED MEDIA: West Africa: AU, ECOWAS Certify Journalists – AllAfrica, July 3, 2012 – Over 14 journalists from Ecowas member states were last Friday certificated at the Senegalese Capital Dakar after successfully completing the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction joint media training….It was against this background that the African Union Commission, Ecowas and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction organised the three-day synergy to enhance the capacities of journalists in covering disaster-related issues in a manner that does not cause panic but rather engenders information dissemination…
Minister Calls for Control of Africa’s Mines – Business Day (South Africa), July 4, 2012 – Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has upped the ante in the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) controversial plans for mining, telling African policy makers yesterday that it was time to “take control” of Africa’s mineral wealth.Ms Dlamini-Zuma’s fighting talk at a conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) also came as Southern African Development Community (Sadc ) leaders were due to meet in Pretoria to discuss lobbying to get her elected as chairwoman of the African Union (AU) on July 17.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: A Banking Union Baby Step – BusinessWorld, July 3, 2012 – Economic (and political) logic requires that the eurozone will soon also need a common bank rescue fund. Officially, this has not yet been acknowledged. But that is often the way that European integration proceeds: an incomplete step in one area later requires further steps in related areas. This incremental approach has worked well in the past; indeed, today’s European Union resulted from it.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: 8 Things the U.S. Election System Could Learn from Mexico’s – By Robert A. Pastor, Special to CNN, July 2, 2012 – The U.S. could and the U.S. should establish an independent national nonpartisan election administration with a national biometric ID, a single national (or inter-operable) registration list, restrictions on private funding, public financing for short campaigns, poll workers that are recruited by lot and well-trained, disincentives for negative advertising, independent electoral courts, and international and domestic observers. There is much work for us to do before we can catch up to Mexico.
[Pastor, globalist professor and author of The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future, likes the “efficiency” of integrated big government, so the idea of the states’ constitutional autonomy to establish their own election rules without interference from federal and international observers does not sit well with him. Pastor was also co-chair of the 2005 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) master plan, Building a North American Community. That report advocated the very North American security perimeter that is the objective of the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border agenda signed by Harper and Obama last December.]

ASEAN FlagASEAN: ASEAN senior officials meet in Cambodia to discuss bloc’s energy security – Philippine Star, July 3, 2012 – The meeting is also to follow up the ASEAN Plan of Actions for Energy Cooperation (2010-2015), which is focused on ASEAN Power Grid, Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline, Coal and Clean Coal Technologies, New and Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, and Civilian Nuclear Energy.
Steering the Asean ship toward 2015: Is Vietnam’s man up to the task? – Bangkok Post, July 2, 2012 – Everybody seems to be looking forward to Jan 1, 2015 when the Asean Economic Community is formed — or worrying that they won’t be ready. With the AEC less than two-and-a-half years away, a strong driver to push the cause forward is what the region needs most. That makes the position of the secretary-general of Asean very important, especially now that the Asean Charter is in place.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Washington’s road to Iran goes through Syria – RT (Russia), July 2, 2012 – Syria’s fall will speed up American’s relentless push across the Middle East into the Caucasus and Central Asia, consolidating its infrastructure on Russia’s southern military front and putting a definitive end to the prospects of the Eurasian Union.
Eurasian Union should become national project – State Duma deputy – Itar-Tass News Agency (Russia), July 1, 2012 – The Eurasian Union should stop being the idea of political elites and gain the status of a national project, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky said….Only 48% of Russians supported integration on the post-Soviet space, and 10% of them knew about the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union, the lawmaker said.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Africa: US And NATO Build Neo-Colonial Proxy Forces – Analysis – Eurasia Review, July 2, 2012 – By training, modernizing, arming and integrating the armed forces of the 54-nation African Union (in the case of Egypt through U.S. Central Command and NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue), the U.S. and its main NATO allies are developing regional proxy forces – most notably the African Standby Force – for armed interventions against nations whose governments are not to the West’s liking. Hence the talk of a joint brigade from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the foundation for a projected West African Standby Force, intervening in Ivory Coast last year and Mali this.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Peru has to lead advances in integration, security and democracy in UNASUR – Andina (Peru), July 2, 2012 (Google Translation) – Peru, to receive the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), should take the lead in advancing security, disarmament and integration, today said former Foreign Minister José Antonio García Belaunde….He mentioned that one of the issues that registers an important advance in the framework of UNASUR is the Security Council of Peace, a mechanism which seeks to strengthen the friendship and harmony in the region.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Iran: EU oil embargo easily manageable – UPI, July 3, 2012 – Iran said over the weekend it can easily replace the European Union as a customer for its oil as EU sanctions over its nuclear program took effect, Ahmad Qalebani, Iran’s deputy oil minister and managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co., told state-owned PressTV Iran’s oil industry won’t be harmed by the EU oil embargo, which went into effect Sunday. “Due to the policy of reducing the European share of Iranian oil exports in recent months, the volume of oil imports by the European countries has now reached a level that new substitutes can be easily found for them,” Qalebani said Sunday.
Iranians feel the pain as West tightens sanctions – Reuters, July 2, 2012 – On Sunday, a European Union embargo on Iranian crude oil took full effect in a joint effort with the United States to force Tehran to curb nuclear activities that the Western powers say pose a military threat, despite Iranian denials. Already reeling from the preliminary phase of the embargo and tough measures imposed on Iran’s central bank since the beginning of the year, the measures look set to deepen economic woe, through spiraling prices and mounting job losses.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM: New Zealand to put Pacific case for strong UN treaty on illegal arms trade – Global Times, July 2, 2012 – New Zealand will present a Pacific-wide appeal for a comprehensive United Nations treaty to stop the illegal arms trade, the government announced Monday. As current Pacific Islands Forum Chair, New Zealand would present the common regional position on the treaty during negotiations at the United Nations in New York this week…

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Removal of Lugo, U.S. political maneuvering – La Jornada (Mexico), July 1, 2012 – While performing the express impeachment against democratically elected president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, on June 22, considered illegal by neighboring countries, Paraguayan deputies met with U.S. military to negotiate installation of a military in the Chaco, and depopulated vast territory of the South American country.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Choice of ‘Asian values’ or universal human rights? – Korea Herald, July 1, 2012 – As the ASEAN Charter retains the principle of non-interference, its human rights body is not expected to be given a mandate to investigate alleged human rights violations by member nations. Regardless, ASEAN is expected to approve a human rights declaration in November ― a momentous step in the association’s 45-year-old history.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Ecuador Proposes to Create Unasur Training School and Military Police – Xinhua (China), July 1, 2012 (Google Translation) – Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa announced today that it will propose to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the creation of a training school for military and police of the region based on respect for human rights….Correa made the announcement after signing a decree which official the decision of his government not to send more soldiers and police to the School of the Americas in the U.S., an entity belonging to the Southern Command, where they trained Latin American officers linked to human rights violations.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: European Union Formally Begins Accession Talks with Montenegro – China Post, July 1, 2012 – The EU formally opened accession talks Friday with tiny Montenegro, a move meant to reassure other countries that the 27-nation bloc remains open for enlargement despite its deep economic crisis. Despite the continent’s debt woes, EU membership remains the goal of all Balkan nations that have not yet joined.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Al-Qaeda Threatens ECOWAS Nations – PM News (Nigeria), July 1, 2012 – The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, is considering sending a military force of 3,300 troops to Mali. AQIM stems from a group started in the late 1990s by radical Algerian Islamists, who in 2007 formally subscribed to Al-Qaeda’s ideology.
Prospects of Region’s Single Market – The Citizen (Tanzania), July 1, 2012 – This evolved into the current EAC [East African Community], which has made major strides moving from a free trade area, to a customs union, to a common market. The EAC is now poised, albeit prematurely, to become a monetary union….The common market extends the customs union by allowing free movement of factors of production, labour and capital, within the bloc. This is the level of integration the EAC is currently striving to make a reality.
[This is the same level of integration that North America is pursuing with the Canada/U.S. “Beyond the Border” agreement, and is the real context for the lax U.S. border security.]

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