NEWS ARCHIVE – December 2013

Iran to Cooperate, Collaborate with Eurasian Customs Union
Iran to Russia: Iran respects Armenia’s decision to join Customs Union (Armenia), Dec 29, 2013 – “Tehran respects Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union and as a neighboring country hopes that the Union will be a success.” Ambassador Sanaei when speaking about the possibility of Iran’s accession to the Customs Union said: “There is no doubt; our country will cooperate with the CU. Currently Tehran works at the development of several projects of cooperation with the CU. At present Iran don’t intend to join the CU, but is ready to collaborate with all the countries of the region.”

New Pacts Ease Path Toward East African Single Currency
International Monetary Fund, Dec 30, 2013 – Moves toward deeper economic integration among the countries of the East African Community (EAC)—Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda—have gained new impetus from agreements sealed in recent weeks….
The IMF has supported the EAC regional integration process since its origins….Previous milestones in the EAC economic and financial integration agenda were a customs union protocol, established in 2005 with the introduction of a common external tariff and gradual elimination of internal tariffs; and a common market protocol signed in 2010, allowing free movement of goods, persons, labor, services, and capital.

European courts have too much power, says former Lord Chief Justice
The Telegraph (London), Dec 28, 2013 – The European Court of Human Rights is undermining [British] Parliament’s sovereignty and must “stop here”, the former Lord Chief Justice has said. Lord Judge warned that “activism” by European judges is creating a “very serious problem” and that Parliament should have “ultimate sovereignty”.

Pakistan, India mending fences slowly but surely
The Nation (Pakistan), Dec 29, 2013 – Upcoming general elections in India and unrelenting pressure on Nawaz government to abstain from flirting with India without clear commitments on longstanding issues like Kashmir, water and Siachen have led the two sides to keep their contacts low profile and relatively inconspicuous….Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastagir will also meet his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma to review a roadmap for bilateral trade…when he travels to India next month for Saarc Business Leaders Conclave.

GCC flagGCC:
Saudi Arabia moving ahead with Gulf union
Al-Monitor-Dec 22, 2013 – Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to transform the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into a formidable military alliance and even a unified state have run into opposition from Oman, but the kingdom is determined to try to go forward in any case. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud believes unity is strength, while many of his fellow monarchs fear it is a threat to their independence.
Gulf states’ draft plan calls for unified force of 100,000 to counter Iran threat – World Tribune, Dec. 23, 2013 – The Gulf Cooperation Council has planned a unified military force that consists of 100,000 soldiers. Officials said Saudi Arabia has drafted a plan for a unified military command for the six GCC states to counter the threat from neighboring Iran.
Bahrain looking forward to Gulf Union – GulfNews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 22, 2013 – King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Monday said that he was looking forward to the call to hold the special Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit to announce the Gulf Union.

GCC flagGCC:
Gulf nations to create joint military command
Washington Post, Dec 11, 2013 – The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also agreed to lay the foundations for a joint Gulf police force and a strategic studies academy, according to a summary of the group’s closing statement carried by the official Kuwait News Agency.
Kuwait Declaration calls for joint GCC action
Objective to reaching the single Gulf currency
Emirates 24/7, Dec 11, 2013 – The Kuwait Declaration of the Gulf leaders underlined the importance of continuing all efforts to achieving economic integration, including the removal of all obstacles facing the creation of the common Gulf market and the custom union in order to boost trade exchange. It pushed for exerting more efforts to complete all requirements to set up the monetary union with the objective to reaching the single Gulf currency, in compliance with the Economic Agreement.

Kenya on course for EAC common currency – Rotich
The Star (Nairobi, Kenya), Dec 12, 2013 – The protocol was signed by the five East African Presidents two weeks ago, creating a legal and regulatory framework for the operation of a regional monetary union. At least three states will need to have complied for a single currency area to be set up…..The single currency area is being touted to boost free movement of labour….The proposed monetary union borrows heavily from the EU’s Eurozone…

Japan looks for ASEAN backing on China at summit
The Economic Times (India), Dec 12, 2013 – “Supporting the framework of ASEAN — whose members take slightly different positions in relations with China and have different political systems — is also important for Japan,” Fujisaki said. The summit will issue a joint statement on the long-term “vision” on Japan-ASEAN cooperation in areas of security and economy, Jiji Press and other media have reported.

New Silk Road: Stabilising Afghanistan Post-2014 – Analysis
Eurasia Review, Dec 11, 2013 – This New Silk Road would once again create trade routes between Asia and the West, facilitated by the establishment of modern highways, rail links and energy pipelines. Certainly, such an initiative is part of the wider transition program envisioned by the US, which has already shifted its focus from stabilisation projects to investment in Afghanistan. It is also arguably a process intended on assisting the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, by creating a viable environment ultimately giving way to “spurring growth, and integrating Afghanistan into the economy of South and Central Asia.”
The Silk Road Through Afghanistan Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations), Dec 5, 2013 – Afghanistan’s neighbors stand to benefit from expanded regional linkages — and many of them have already begun to take steps toward achieving the new Silk Road vision. Last year, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to harmonize customs arrangements, institute international standards at crossing points, work to reduce smuggling, and increase government revenues from legitimate trade. In late September, the commerce ministers of India and Pakistan pledged to normalize their countries’ bilateral trade relationship — a milestone, given the more than half century of enmity that exists between these two nations.

This Map Shows The Huge Scale Of Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian Plan
Business Insider, Dec 8, 2013 – The ECU is seen as a precursor to the broader Eurasian Union, a project close to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s heart, which some say he sees as essential to his legacy. It’s his plan not only to give Russia and allies a way to compete with economic giants such as the United States, China, and the EU, but also to put Russia firmly at the center of regional power. To put this all in context, let’s look at a map of the European Union versus the Eurasian Customs Union as they stand right now:

World Map wRegions 150 x 88israel-flagNEW WORLD ORDER MESSAGE TO ISRAEL:
The world’s message to Benjamin Netanyahu: Play with us
GulfNews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 7, 2013 – With the entire world, including the European Union, Russia, China, the Union of South American Nations and the Brics countries still in full support of the Oslo Accord signed almost 20 years ago, it is unconceivable – one would assume — that Netanyahu can resist the pressure.

GCC flagGCC:
Hagel: US to Sell Weapons to GCC States as a Block
DefenseNews (Gannett), Dec 7, 2013 – US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States will attempt to sell weapons to Gulf Cooperation Council members as a block as opposed to individually as has been the case in the past.
Yemen wants GCC membership, says foreign minister – Al Bawaba News (Jordan), Dec 8, 2013 – Yemen is looking to become the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) latest member, Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al Kurbi said on Saturday, adding that Sana’a has widely benefited from taking part on the sidelines of Gulf summits for the past seven years….Comprising Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, the mostly desert GCC has a population of just 47 million, nearly half of whom are expatriates.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA:
New Boehner Hire Supports Path to Citizenship
National Journal, Dec 3, 2013 – Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be coming to the speaker’s office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. Her move “is affirmation of [Boehner’s] strong desire to move legislation in 2014,” BPC’s immigration task force cochairman, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said in a statement.

GCC flagGCC:
Reports on single Gulf currency launch ‘false’
Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), Dec 3, 2013 – The Monetary Council is mandated with placing regulations for the establishment of the Gulf Central Bank and completing the establishment of the Monetary Union. Media reports this week said that four of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries would announce the introduction of a common currency by the end of December.

5 East African states sign common currency deal
Las Vegas Sun/Associated Press, Dec 4, 2013 – The presidents of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda met Saturday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala….The EAC began 13 years ago with the goal of creating a common customs union, market, monetary union and a political federation of East African states.

Ukraine’s Pivot to Moscow Leaves West Out in the Cold
Wall Street Journal, Dec 2, 2013 – But Ukraine is equally vital to Mr. Putin’s drive to build a Eurasian Union of former Soviet countries led by Russia. As the deadline to sign the EU deal approached, the Kremlin ratcheted up pressure, restricting trade with Ukraine’s already-teetering economy and warning of more potential repercussions.

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