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Mattis dials up U.S. pressure on China over North Korea, South China Sea

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The United States is encouraged by China’s efforts to restrain North Korea but will not accept Beijing’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday. The comments by Mattis, during the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, show how U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is looking to balance working with China to restrain North Korea’s advancing missile and nuclear programs while dealing with Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea. Trump has courted support from Chinese President Xi Jinping to restrain North Korea, raising concern among Asian allies that Washington might allow China a freer rein elsewhere in the region

Trump: Azerbaijan is valued partner of US

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President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump has congratulated President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, in a letter for the celebration of azeri Republic Day. “Azerbaijan is a valued partner of the United States. Together, we are working to enhance global security through our joint counterterrorism efforts. We stand with the people of Azerbaijan and are committed to strengthening our relationship through dialogue on security, economic cooperation, and democratic principles”, noted the US president. “The United States also strongly supports the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”, said Trump.

 

Algeria – USA: Time For Consultations

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This week, Algerian Foreign Minister, met Rex Tillerson to the White House. This is the first summit of this kind since the Reagan Presidency. The US Secretary of State listened Foreign Minister about the fight to terrorism, economic cooperation, the security. Americans want to get over current situation, increasing the commercial exchanges. United States appreciated the role of Algeria in the fight to terrorism, as said the Algerian Ambassador to Washington. Algerian Minister remembered the situation in Libya, and Rex Tillerson said that Algeria will play a key role in the crisis. Ramtane Lamamra said that Americans don’t want to create instability in Algeria, because they know what is happened in Syria, they support a keeping of status quo.

 

Beginning in relations between United States and Turkey

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday  that his visit to the United States next week would herald a new beginning in relations between the two countries. Relations between the NATO allies have been strained by differences over Syria policy. U.S. President Donald Trump approved a plan on Tuesday (May 9) to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), a move which was strongly objected by Turkey, which sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Erdogan told a news conference at the capital Ankara that he believed the United States was still going through a “transition period”, and that decisions such as the arming the YPG dated back to policies from the previous administration. He also said he would pursue Turkey’s demand for the extradition of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind a failed military coup last July. That was followed by a purge of tens of thousands of Turkish state employees accused of links to Gulen, who has denied any involvement in the coup attempt.

 

 

The United States and Turkey clash with the Kurds and Syria

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The United States will arm the Kurds in Syria, a decision announced on 9 May. Turkey reacted indignantly. On May 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Washington to “come back to his footsteps”, but more or less at the same time the US military confirmed that “very soon” will begin delivering mortars, heavy machine guns, light weapons and vehicles armored. For Turkey, the emergence of autonomous Syrian Kurdistan is therefore a huge problem. Turkey, in fact, can not do anything to prevent it. Ankara can not approach Russia more than it has already done, because it can not break with the Americans at a time when its relations with the European Union are at the lowest level.

Saudi Foreign Minister preparing for Arab-American summit

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The Head of State, Essebsi, received Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ben Ahmed Al-Jubeir, on  Monday, with the presence of Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinoui. Saudi Foreign Minister delivered an invitation to the Arab-American summit that will take place in Riyadh on March 21. The King of Saudi Arabia gave the invitation for the President Essebsi and Donald Trump will take part to the summit. Saudi Minister specified that Essebsi was first Head of State to receive the invitation. He said that this meeting has the aim to reinforce the cooperation between Arab world and United States to fight extremism and terrorism. He added that region need of tolerance to find stabilization. President of Tunisia gave his confirmation to participate to the summit, and welcomed the initiative, because cooperation between United States and Muslim world is very important. He emphasized relationship between Saudi government and Tunisian government, and thanked Saudi Arabia for the investments in the Country.

 

Russia: Syria safe zones to be shut for U.S.

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The safe zones which are being created in Syria will be closed for warplanes of the United States and those of the U.S.-led coalition, Russian news agencies quoted Russian envoy at Syria peace talks Alexander Lavrentyev as saying. Turkey and Iran agreed on Thursday to Russia’s proposal for “de-escalation zones” in Syria, a move welcomed by the United Nations but met with skepticism from the United States. Russia, Turkey and Iran signed on Thursday a memorandum on creating safe zones in Syria, while the delegation of the armed Syrian opposition walked out and shouted angrily after a new round of peace talks held in the Kazakh capital Astana. Russia, Turkey and Iran act as guarantors of the Astana peace process. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that next Syria peace talks would be held in Astana in mid-July. “The Syrian Arab Republic supports the Russian initiative on de-escalation zones and confirms its commitment to the cessation of hostilities regime signed Dec. 30, 2016, which includes not bombing these regions”, said state news agency SANA, reporting a foreign ministry statement. The report also said the Syrian army would continue to fight against what it termed terrorist groups across Syria.

South Korea says U.S. reaffirms it will pay THAAD costs; Trump calls Asia allies.

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South Korea said the United States had reaffirmed it would shoulder the cost of deploying the THAAD anti-missile system, days after President Donald Trump said Seoul should pay for the $1-billion battery designed to defend against North Korea. In a telephone call on Sunday, Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, reassured his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, that the U.S. alliance with South Korea was its top priority in the Asia-Pacific region, the South’s presidential office said. The conversation followed another North Korean missile test-launch on Saturday which Washington and Seoul said was unsuccessful, but which drew widespread international condemnation.

China welcomes U.S. saying it is open to talks on North Korea.

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China on Thursday welcomed an apparently softer tone by the United States on the North Korean nuclear and missile crisis but stressed its opposition to a U.S. missile defence system being deployed in South Korea. Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on North Korea and other countries on Thursday to avoid behaviour or rhetoric that could increase tensions around Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. Speaking at a news conference in Moscow after talks, the two leaders said they had agreed to cooperate closely to try to help defuse tensions around North Korea.

Israel strikes Iran-supplied arms depot near Damascus airport.

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Israel struck an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese group Hezbollah near Damascus airport on Thursday, Syrian rebel and regional intelligence sources said, targeting weapons sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes. Israel does not usually comment on action it takes in Syria. But Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, speaking to Army Radio from the United States, appeared to confirm involvement. “The incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah”, he said.

 

 

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