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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Balkan Peace Festival, organized by the Indian “Sahara Group” in honor of the International Day of Non-Violence, in Skopje, Macedonia, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)The Associated Press
LONDON The West should set aside its differences with Russia and China to focus on the growing threat from radical Islam, Tony Blair said Wednesday, in a speech that included a call to support Egypt’s military government against its Muslim Brotherhood opponents.
The former British prime minister said that tackling “a radicalized and politicized view of Islam” should be at the top of the global political agenda.
He said many in the West seemed “curiously resistant” to face up to a force that “is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalization.”
Blair, Britain’s prime minister between 1997 and 2007, is now Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. and Russia.
In a speech in London, he said that “whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and co-operate with the East, and in particular Russia and China,” to combat Islamic extremism.
Blair’s political legacy in Britain is tarnished by his decision to lead the country into the divisive invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Blair acknowledged the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had undermined Western willingness to intervene in the Middle East. But he called for the West to engage with the region, saying “we have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time.”
Blair argued that “on the fate of Egypt hangs the future of the region.”
He defended the coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi last year, saying “the Muslim Brotherhood government was not simply a bad government. It was systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country.”
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It is election season.
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Letter from Brussels: Uncertainty as Europe prepares to vote
The Ukrainian government has said it will not attack pro-Russian separatists over the Easter weekend even as hundreds of them continued to occupy several buildings in the eastern part of the country. The Kremlin denies having control over gunmen who want their eastern regions to follow Crimea in being annexed by Russia. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry promised “the suspension of the active phase of the anti-terrorist operation” among a list of government initiatives to defuse the crisis issued late on Friday
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Ukraine offers Easter truce in the east
Martin Schulz said EU would always support Israel but highlighted Palestinian suffering and the 'siege' of the Gaza Strip Far-right Israeli MPs stormed out of the Knesset in protest on Wednesday as the German president of the European parliament pledged that the EU would always support Israel but highlighted Palestinian suffering and the "siege" of the Gaza Strip. Naftali Bennet, the economics …
BRUSSELS, April 19, 2014 (WAFA) High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, condemned in a statement on Friday the recent developments in the West Bank, including Israels seizure of Palestinian land.
She also condemned the killing of an Israeli man near Hebron last week.
The High Representative has followed with concern the recent events in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, which are not conducive to the climate of trust and cooperation needed for the current peace negotiations to succeed, said Ashtons spokesperson.
The High Representative condemns the recent killing of an Israeli man in the West Bank and calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence, said the statement.
The High Representative also sees with great concern the recent announcement that nearly one square kilometer near the Gush Etzion settlement has been declared as ‘state land’ by the Israeli Defense Ministry, that the latter has authorized a new settlement in Hebron, that demolitions of Palestinian property are continuing in Area C and East Jerusalem with resulting displacement of vulnerable populations.
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16 April 2014 Investors may yet get another crack at the energy complex. Alternatively, for risk-averse investors, the U.S.
Home EU Globalizing World Requires Transatlantic Partnership and Leadership Follow Us On
Speaker: Dr. Wolfgang Schuble, Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Germany Presider: Robert M. Kimmitt, Chairman, American Council on Germany April 14, 2014
KIMMITT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bob Kimmitt, and on behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations, I would like to welcome you to this conversation with Dr. Wolfgang Schauble, the finance minister of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Herr Bundesminister, willkommen in Washington. Mr. Minister, welcome back to Washington and to the Council on Foreign Relations. Today’s exceptionally large turnout is a real compliment to you.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has given a lifetime of service to his country, half — half to West Germany and half to united Germany. He was a central member of the historic group that — under the leadership of Helmut Kohl and supported strongly by the United States — moved Germany from division to unity in fewer than 11 months in 1989 and ’90.
After service over decades in the Bundestag, the federal chancellery, and the interior ministry, he became federal minister of finance in October 2009, just as the financial crisis was moving from the United States to Europe. In these last five years, Wolfgang Schauble has become the most consequential finance minister in Europe and a leading figure in the G-7 and the G-20. Throughout, he’s been a superb representative of Germany, a strong supporter of a more unified and effective European Union, and a committed transatlanticist.
It’s my pleasure and honor to introduce Wolfgang Schauble, the minister of finance of the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. Minister, the floor is yours.
SCHAUBLE: Thank you, Ambassador Kimmitt.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great honor and pleasure for me to be here again. And I will not waste my time, but I will start immediately in saying, above and beyond all of the irritations, that the three letters in Germany, NSA stand for, this fact remains true: Like no two other actors on the global stage, the United States and Europe — what we call the Western world — share common values, common strengths, and common interests when it comes to shaping the global order of the 21st century.
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LUXEMBOURG (AP) Due to the great uncertainty about what Russia may do next, NATO's secretary general on Tuesday said the U.S.-led alliance and the European Union must cooperate more in the military realm.
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Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin is a member of Benjamin Netanyahus Likud party and his predominantly rightwing Cabinet. In a recent interview with The Economist, Elkin used the familiar tone of being conceited and oblivious to such notions as international or human rights and reaffirmed his rejection of a Palestinian state. Instead, Elkin wants Israel to annex a chunk of the West Bank. There is nothing new here; as such language is now official Israeli discourse. But one statement stood out, one that many Palestinians would find bewildering and exasperating. These days, said Elkin with a chuckle, the West Bank is the most stable part of the Middle East. The bewilderment would stem from the fact that the West Bank is an occupied Palestinian territory. Its population is held at gunpoint; they have no freedom and enjoy no rights. Their land is seized by force to make room for more settlements and illegal Jewish settlers, now numbering well passed the half million mark. Needless to say, the West Bank should not be stable. Instead, Palestinians should be leading their own revolution until they achieve their full rights and freedom. This is not a call for violence, but a natural human course. However, Palestinians are not rebelling. Many factors are holding them back, one of which is the very Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Its troops are in constant security coordination with Israel. The PAs mission apparently is not to liberate Palestine, but to ensure the subservience of the Palestinians while Israel carries on with a colonial project that has extended for decades. Elkin knows this. Netanyahu himself, along with every Israeli official, understands that the PA, despite Mahmoud Abbas occasional attempts at appearing defiant and rebellious, is no threat to Israel, nor will it ever be. This will be so even if the US-imposed April 29 deadline for a framework agreement between the Israeli government and the PA passes and even if Abbas took the seemingly daring step of signing the applications to join 15 international organizations. Abbas and his men understand that there are red lines, which they cannot cross under any circumstances. Abbas may be weak, but he is clever. He knew that Kerrys peacemaking efforts would not go anywhere and that Netanyahu would find a way to thwart the process. If Abbas were lucky, Kerry could even blame Israel for derailing the peace process, as he already has. Then, Abbas would do what many would find reasonable; seek further international recognition for the state of Palestine. This might frustrate the Americans a little, anger the Israelis a lot, but it would give his supporters reason to promote the 79-year-old leader as another Yasser Arafat, heroic and defiant to the very end. The Israelis still need Abbas. He is important in maintaining stability in the West Bank. This means the continuing of the security coordination that ensures the safety of the armed settlers, providing an extra layer of protection to Israeli soldiers as they kill at will, seize more land, demolish homes and trees, erect walls, dig trenches and level mountains. So what if some imaginary state existed on papers in the files of some international body in Geneva or Brussels. For Israel, the law is that of its military, and reality is what is taking place in Area C, not in some European capital. This is why Elkin is chuckling. He is at ease, in the same way the Israeli political establishment is. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, a deal was struck between Israel and what became a pervasive, controlling and corrupt Palestinian political class. Israel maintained its military occupation, carried on with its colonial project and continued to disfigure the occupied territories in any way that it found consistent with its security needs. Palestinian elites were granted economic privileges and access that is denied to the vast majority of the Palestinians. The PAs constant challenge is to maintain a level of legitimacy. True, it uses its monopoly on force, which is readily sanctioned by Israel, in order to arrest, torture and kill resisting Palestinians when necessary. It uses the logic of trickledown economics to hold the bulk of Palestinians hostage to winning their daily bread. But that is not enough. It needs a brand to market itself as the exclusive harbinger of freedom for Palestinians. It uses slogans, flags and kuffiyas to promote that brand through its control of the media. Many PA supporters dance to that tune and playact that Abbas and only Abbas is capable of exacting the coveting liberation of Palestine from the obstinate hands of the Israeli prime minister. Palestinian officials are proficiently inflating Abbas image to ensure that Palestinians dont question the wisdom of their aging leader, after the latest and predictable failure of the peace process, which was never truly meant to succeed anyway. A Palestinian official spoke of Abbas refusal to heed a call by US Secretary of State John Kerry to halt applications to join international treaties. He claimed that Kerry warned Abbas of a strong (Israeli) response to Palestinian action. Abbas replied: Israels threats scare no one. They can do what they like. The words were repeated in Palestinian media. The Abbas image is being overstated once more. There is no space for those who question the mans credibility, legitimacy or failed methods. More posters of the old man are now erected in the occupied Palestinian towns. His latest antics will help perpetuate the myth that the PA is a platform for resistance, not capitulation. As long as the West Bank is stable, and as long as Abbas, and those that follow him continue to sell Palestinians old illusions of revolutions that never took place, and heroes that only exist on colored posters hung around the streets of Ramallah, Elkin will continue to chuckle. And as long as the West Bank is stable, Palestinians will never achieve their freedom, for submission achieves no rights; only resistance does.
– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist. Email: [emailprotected]
By Dow Jones Business News, April 14, 2014, 12:25:00 PM EDT LONDON–The leaders of Britain, Germany, and France agree that the occupation of government buildings in eastern Ukraine is illegal and have called on all parties, particularly Russia, to de-escalate the situation, the British government said Monday. Over the weekend, pro-Russia protests spread in eastern Ukraine as armed men, some in unmarked, military-style uniforms, moved to occupy more government buildings–a dramatic escalation that the Ukrainian government and Washington tied to Moscow.
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