#AceWorldNews – GERMANY (Berlin) – October 05 – The German government says it is planning to expand its military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) by helping train Kurdish and Iraqi troops, the country’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday.
The ministry announced plans to create a training military base in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, a ministry spokeswoman told EPD news agency.
It also signalled that it is interested in taking part in training the Iraqi army, and is considering sending more military officers.
However, the plans contained no mention of Germany’s role in US-led air-strikes against the Islamic State.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed to the expansion on Wednesday, DW news agency reported, citing sources.
The latest ultimatum came after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko personally told the 28 presidents and PMs at a summit in Brussels on Saturday (30 August) that he is a hair’s breadth away from “full-scale war” with his neighbour.
The summit conclusions corroborated his claim that last week saw an open “aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil”.
The conclusions tasked the European Commission to present new sanctions options “within a week” and said they will include “a provision on the basis of which every person and institution dealing with the separatist groups in the Donbass [east Ukraine] will be listed”.
They did not spell out what will prompt the EU decision, referring only to “the evolution of the situation on the ground”.
“There is no precise criterion”, EU Council chairman Herman Van Rompuy told press.
For her part, German chancellor Angela Merkel noted that the Russian army’s incursion into Ukraine marks “a new step in the escalation”.
#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – June 29 – /ITAR-TASS/. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Pyotr Poroshenko of Ukraine and Francois Hollande of France, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a telephone conversation on Sunday to continue discussion of various aspects of the crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin press service said, adding that it was a long conversation.
“The leaders agreed to continue telephone contacts in the four-party format,” the press service said.
Putin, Hollande, Merkel and Poroshenko also touched upon issues related to the signing of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union in Brussels on June 27.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – May 02 – US President Barack Obama said that Russia’s stance on Ukraine should be taken into consideration.
“Russia has legitimate interests in terms of what happens next door in Ukraine. Obviously, there’s a deep and complicated history between Russia and Ukraine.
And so of course Putin’s views should be taken into account,” he told journalists during a joint media conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“What can’t be taken into account is Mr. Putin’s suggestion, both through words and actions, that he has the right to violate the sovereignty of another country, to violate its territorial integrity, to dictate the economic policies or foreign policy of a sovereign country,” Obama said. “That’s not acceptable.”
“Our view has been from the start has been that the Ukrainians should be able to make their own decisions. And I’m very confident that if Ukrainians were allowed to make their own decisions, then they will choose to have a good relationship with Russia as well as a good relationship with Europe, that they’ll want to trade with Russia, and they’ll want to trade with Europe,” he added.
#AceWorldNews – UKRAINE – May 01 – Anti-government demonstrators in a major eastern Ukraine city stormed and took over the regional prosecutor’s office Thursday as evidence mounts that authorities are losing control over swaths of the country.
More than a thousand people stormed the prosecutor’s office building, an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent reported. Now they have got into the building and are throwing documents, most probably criminal cases files, through the windows.
The protesters formed “a corridor of shame” through which they let the law-enforcers who were defending the building. From time to time somebody from the crowd started hitting the passing policemen. Before this, the policemen surrendered their shields, batons and body armour. (Interfax-Ukraine)
A row of several dozen riot police standing guard at the regional prosecutor’s office fired stun grenades and tear gas when some at the front of the crowd of several hundred people attempted to force their way into the building in Donetsk.
As the confrontation escalated, some in the crowd threw rocks and managed to tear shields off the police. An Associated Press reporter saw a handful of officers being dragged away and beaten by members of the crowd.
Hundreds of onlookers accompanying the protesters, who included several crying children, shouted slogans and hurled abuse.
Upon occupying the building, protesters discarded the Ukrainian flag and replaced it with that of the Donetsk People’s Republic — a movement that seeks either greater autonomy from the central government, or independence and possible annexation by Russia.
AP – Fox News – Interfax-Ukraine
#AceWorldNews – PARIS – April 25 – Leaders of the US, UK, Germany, Italy and France spoke in favour of the adoption of new sanctions against Russia, Elysee Palace announces.
The statement says that the French president Francois Hollande held telephone talks with US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, prime ministers of Italy and the UK Matteo Renzi and David Cameron.
“The Heads of State and Government called for the country’s “seven” to the rapid reaction (developments in Ukraine) and pointed at the possibility to new sanctions against Russia,” statement reports.
#AceNewsServices – PHONE CALL FROM MERKEL TO PUTIN – April 25 – 12.29 GMT
“In the phone call she expressed her great concern over the tense situation in eastern Ukraine and said she expects Russia’s government to express its commitment to the Geneva agreement and to cooperate in its implementation,” said spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and United States last week signed a deal in Geneva aimed at easing tensions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels have occupied government buildings.
Seibert said “Russia should publicly declare that it fully supports the Geneva declaration and it should publicly call on the armed pro-Russian groups in Ukraine to refrain from violence and lay down their arms”.
The spokesman stressed that so far Russia’s position since the Geneva deal had been “absolutely disappointing” and that “we can see no progress whatsoever”.
His comments echoed an earlier sharp rebuke to Moscow by US Secretary of State John Kerry and came as US President Barack Obama was to speak to European leaders including Merkel in a conference call.
Seibert, speaking at a Berlin press conference, said that “sanctions are already in place” against Russia and that “you have to face the facts – in case nothing changes, it is important to be prepared for more” sanctions.
Moscow confirmed the phone call but threw the blame for the crisis at the Ukrainian government, which it accused of “unwillingness to implement the Geneva agreements.”
“Vladimir Putin sharply condemned attempts by the Kiev regime to use armed forces against peaceful civilians in the southeast of the country,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Kremlin said Putin and Merkel had also discussed Russian gas shipments, a crucial source of energy for Ukraine and much of Europe.
“The leaders of both countries stressed it was important to conduct as soon as possible talks on issues relating to the security of supplies and transit of Russian gas involving representatives of Russia, the European Union and Ukraine,” it said.
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#AceWorldNews – BERLIN – April 16 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes Thursday’s upcoming international four-party meeting in Geneva on the situation in Ukraine, involving Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union, will contribute to a diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a deputy spokesman of the German government, Georg Streiter, said Wednesday.
“We hope the meeting will be held and further meetings will take place too,” Streiter said.
The meeting could become “the first step to restoration of a normal situation in Ukraine”.
#AceWorldNews – ATHENS – April 09 – Greek labour unions staged a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest against austerity policies imposed on the country by its foreign creditors, Reuters reported.
The strike comes as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to visit Athens this week.
Schools and pharmacies were shut, ships remained docked at ports and hospitals operated on emergency staff.
Transport in Athens was disrupted due to the walkout called by private sector union GSEE and its public sector counterpart ADEDY.
The disruption could be most keenly felt in maritime transport such as the ferry services and also on the railways.
#AceWorldNews – THE HAGUE – G7 – March 24 – Russia does to hold on to the G8 (Group of Eight), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in The Hague on Monday, March 24.
“The G8 is an informal club. There are no membership cards there and no one can be expelled from it by definition. It has played it role, as many think, because all economic and financial issues are discussed within the Group of 20.
The Group of Eight continued to exit mainly because it was a forum for discussion between the leading Western countries and Russia,” he said.
He recalled that the G8 had discussed such issues as the Iranian nuclear issue, nuclear security on the Korean Peninsula, Syria, and the Balkans.
“But there are actually other formats for discussing these issues – the U.N. Security Council, there is the Middle East Quartet to discuss the Middle East settlement, and the P1+5 to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue,” Lavrov said.
“If our Western partners think that this format has outlived itself, so be it. We do not hold on to it. We don’t think it will be a tragedy if it’s not convened. We can wait for a year or a year and a half, as an experiment, and see how we live without it,” the minister said.
Replying to questions from journalists on March 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was still preparing the G8 summit in Sochi scheduled for June.
“We will be ready to host the summit with our colleagues. If they do not want to come – so be it,” he said.
He stressed that Russia’s actions were based on international law and bilateral obligations, unlike those of the United States which “always clearly formulates their own geopolitical and states interests and follow them with persistence… and draw the whole world in.”
When asked about possible sanctions from the West against Russia, Putin said that “It is primarily those who intend to apply them that need to consider their consequences.”
The president stressed that “any threat against Russia is counter-productive and harmful.”
Russia took over the presidency in the Group of Eight on January 1, 2014. The main event of its presidency – the G8 summit – was scheduled to be held in Sochi on June 4-5.
British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight if it refused to cooperate on de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine. Speaking at a meeting of the EU heads of state or government on March 6, Cameron stressed that “illegal actions committed by Russia cannot pass without a response.”
The EU leaders agreed to suspend negotiations on a more liberal visa regime for Russians, to stop work on a comprehensive new agreement on relations between Russia and the EU, and to pull out of all preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi in June.
“And if Russia does not rapidly engage in direct talks with the Ukrainian government to find a solution to this crisis, we have been clear that we will go further,” Cameron warned, adding that the leaders had tasked the European Commission to start work on additional measures, including travel bans and asset freezes.
He noted that “situation in Ukraine remains highly precarious – the slightest miscalculation could see it spiral out of control” and issued “a very clear warning to President Putin that he must not destabilise the situation further.”
“If Russia does not change course, the statement issued today now makes clear that there will be severe and far reaching consequences in areas such an energy, trade, and financial relations,” he said.
On March 9, Putin had telephone conversations with Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The conversations continued discussion on the highly complex social and political situation unfolding in Ukraine and also issues concerning the organisation of a referendum in Crimea on March 16, 2014.
Although the three leaders did express differences of opinion regarding the events taking place, they declared their common interest in de-escalating tension and returning the situation to normal as soon as possible,” the presidential press service said.
Putin noted, in particular, that the steps Crimea’s legitimate authorities were taking were in line with international law and seek to guarantee the lawful interests of the peninsula’s population.
The president also noted that the current authorities in Kiev had not taken any steps to rein in ultra-nationalist and radical forces in the Ukrainian capital and in many regions.
The three leaders exchanged views on possible international efforts to settle the crisis. They agreed to continue close working contacts, including at the foreign ministers’ level, the press service said.
On March 24, Cameron said the summit would not take place, and Merkel said the G8 format no longer existed.
The Group of Eight (G8) is an unofficial forum of the world’s major economies (Russia, the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Canada, and Italy, with the participation of the EU Leaders) designed to coordinate approaches to the most pressing issues of global affairs.
The G8 does not operate as an international organisation, not being based on an international treaty or having a charter or permanent secretariat.
The decisions taken by the G8 are non-binding political commitments of the member states to follow the agreed logic of action in addressing specific issues.
The host country of the G8 annual summit is presiding over the forum throughout the year, coordinating the G8’s operating activities.
The rotation of the G8 Presidency starts with France (last presidency in 2011), followed by the U.S., the UK, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada.
The EU does not host summits and cannot assume presidency.
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1. March 24 – 17.05 GMT – Extract – #AceWorldNews – THE HAGUE – March 24 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry are holding a meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit(NSS) in The Hague. http://wp.me/p165ui-4vU
Russian News and Media Sources
#AceWorldNews – Tallinn/Paris(Reuters) – The European Union will begin to prepare a new response to the actions of Russia in Ukraine, if Moscow does not show signs of willingness to ease the tension by the end of the week, on Tuesday said foreign ministers of Germany and France.
Russian forces have strengthened in the Ukrainian Crimea on the eve of Moscow-backed March 16 referendum on the future of the peninsula. Government in Kiev and his supporters in the West regarded the planned plebiscite as illegitimate.
“If the output will be no visible changes in the behaviour of Russia, then on Monday at the European Council we will have to discuss the next step up,” – said Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a visit to the Baltic States, which are included in the European Union and Ukraine are concerned about what is happening.
“We do not want confrontation, but the actions of the Russian side, unfortunately, confront us with the need to prepare, as I just said,” – said Steinmeier reporters in Tallinn.
His French counterpart Laurent Fabius, in turn, said that sanctions could come into force this week, if Moscow does not respond to calls from the European Union.
“The only legitimate vote will be on May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine. Voting March 16 will not have legitimacy,” – said Fabius radio station France Inter. He called the Russian annexation of Crimea illegal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at the cutting edge of the strategy of “engagement” of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the negotiation process with the same time as the tug of war between Russia and the West resulted in the most serious confrontation since the Cold War.
Russian Translation Read More: http://ru.reuters.com/article/topNews/idRUMSEA2A01S20140311?
#AceWorldNews says the legitimate authorities in Crimea are taking steps which are in compliance with international law with an aim to ensure the lawful interests of Crimea’s population, Russian President Vladimir Putin told British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone on Sunday.
“The Russian president also called his interlocutors’ attention to the fact that the current authorities in Kiev were doing nothing to curb the rampage of ultra-nationalist and radical forces in the Ukrainian capital and in many other regions,” the Kremlin press service reports.
The complicated socio-political situation in Ukraine and a referendum on Crimea’s future status slated for March 16 were central to Sunday’s telephone talks.
Reuters – Tass – Russian News Source’s
#AceWorldNews says that according to latest from VOR that the European Union needs to work towards creating a regional communication network that circumvents the United States. In her latest podcast German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, she will talk to French President Francois Hollande during an upcoming visit to Paris about building a European communication network.
#AceSecurityNews says according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to discuss building an anti-NSA European communication network with French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday during her visit to France, she said.
“Above all, we’ll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic.
Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe,” Merkel said. Hollande confirmed that the two countries have been negotiating on the issue. Merkel has been calling for strengthening data protection in Europe following the revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden regarding US mass surveillance in Europe.
#AceNewsDesk says German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accepted the appointment of a
pro-Moscow veteran as special coordinator for Russia policy, a concession
made to her coalition partner.