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Monthly archive

Dicembre 2017

BalkanInsight: “Serbs flocked to help Russian ‘brothers'”


Belgrade-based sleuth journalist from Serbia’s Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) Marija Ristic has probed into the reasons why mercenaries from Serbia have been taking part in the war waged by Russia against Ukraine in Donbas. “The most prominent case was against Radomir Pocuca, a former special police spokesperson, who over several months of fighting in Ukraine posted almost daily videos, photos and other entries related to his time in Donetsk. Pocuca also claimed that he went to help Serbia’s ‘Russian brothers’ for patriotic reasons, mainly as payback for Russia’s support for Serbia in the dispute over the former province of Kosovo [which declared independence in 2008 – which Serbia has vowed never to recognize]”, she wrote in the article titled “Facebook Reveals Serbian Fighters’ Role in Ukraine War”, posted by BalkanInsight on December 27. Serbs are said to remember that Russian fighters volunteered for the Serbian side in the 1992-5 war in Bosnia, which pitched Serbs against a combination of Croats and Bosniaks [Bosnian Muslims].



Central Bank of Tunisia:the trade deficit widens to historical highest level


The trade deficit widened, at the end of the 11 months of 2017, to reach a historical highest level, 14,362MDT against 11,628MDT, a year before, said the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT), Thursday, in a note of economic conjuncture. Total imports increased at a faster pace than exports, at 19.2% and 17.3%, respectively, resulting in a deterioration in the coverage rate (68.3 percentage points against 69.4 percentage points) by the end of November 2016).”The record trade deficit bears the mark, essentially, the maintenance of deficits in the energy balance and that of the food balance at high levels. The BCT reported, in this context, a good performance of exports of the sector of mechanical and electrical industries which seems to benefit from the recovery of demand of Euro zone, Tunisia’s main trading partner. On the other hand, the underperformance of the mining, phosphates and derivatives sector continued with sales falling by 3% at the end of November 2017 against a technical rebound (+ 42.3%) over the same period of 2016, and despite the resumption of production in the mining basin.

L’Algérie a exporté plus de 73.000 tonnes de GNL au Japon en novembre


Algeria exported 73,264 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan in November 2017, the US news agency Platts reported on Wednesday.The LNG exported by Algeria to Japan represents an increase of 20.7% compared to the same period of the previous year, when 60,714 tons were exported in November 2016. The Algerian LNG arrived in Japan on November 7th at shipboard The Oak Spirit. These volumes place Algeria in eleventh place in the countries from which Japan imported LNG this November, behind the United States (125,171 tons) or Papua New Guinea (188,473 tons). Algeria also remains far behind the leaders of Australia (2.23 million tonnes exported in November) and Malaysia (1.16 million tonnes).In total, Japan imported 6.41 million tonnes of LNG during the month of November 2017, down 15% compared to the same period last year.

Iran Condemns Deadly Terror Attack in Kabul


In a statement on Thursday evening, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi offered condolences to the Afghan government, nation and families of victims of suicide terrorist attack targeting the cultural center of Tebyan in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul. He strongly condemned the attack and stressed the fact that attacking the cultural and media centers or the intellectuals that discredit extremist and violent ideologies revealed the depth of aversion that masterminds and perpetrators of terrorist activities have to freedom of speech, knowledge, wisdom and unity in Afghanistan. Qassemi also added that the Afghan government and nation’s vigilance, unity among all groups and ethnicities, and regional cooperation are key to tackling the problems and hostile acts by terrorists. The Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in which at least 41 people died and dozens of others were injured in the bombing at Tebyan center in Pule Sokhtia area of Kabul. Officials believe that that more than one assailant, maybe three suicide bombers, have carried out the attack that also involved the use of grenades.

Maybe Russia will completely change in 2018 (Op-ed)


How will historians look back on the final years of this decade in Russia? They might do well to look at the closing years of earlier decades to guide their way. The ‘20s: The final curtailing of economic freedoms and political factionalism, a “great turning point” towards totalitarianism and the absolute authority of the Leader. The ‘30s: A time of political terror and preparations for war. The ‘40s: The height of the Cold War, nuclear blackmail, the fight against cosmopolitanism, the growth of nationalistic and anti-Semitic propaganda. The ‘50s: An ideological “thaw” and the flowering of culture, breakthroughs in science and technology. The ‘60s: A post-thaw “tightening of the screws,” the fight against dissidents, the establishment of what would later be called a regime of stagnation. The ‘70s: The agonies of stagnation, the downward slide into a bloody war in Afghanistan, an economic crisis and empty stores. The ‘80s: Large-scale political and economic reforms known as “perestroika,” the rapid democratization of society. The ‘90s: A national hangover following a binge of democracy, a deepening war in Chechnya, a financial crisis and a loss of confidence in the authorities. The 2000s: Oil and gas wealth, increased corruption, peace and friendship with the West despite the first symptoms of superpower aggression in Georgia.

Kurdish leader: meetings between officials in Baghdad and Erbil to reach a solution of pending disputes


On Wednesday, Mulla Bakhtiar, a senior leader at the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said in statements that a series of secret meetings between officials in Baghdad and Erbil have been held to reach a solution of pending disputes. Talks in Baghdad between the central government and the Kurdistan Region government signed a “detente” in the crisis. Mulla Bakhtiar added in later statements on social media that the meetings have shown that “Baghdad is pretty prepared for dialogue, while the Kurdistan government is working on setting the suitable atmosphere to that end”. “Officially, there will be no clash between Iraqi forces and (Kurdish) Peshmerga troops” Bakhtiar stated, adding “The issue of land and air ports, as well as customs, are currently being handled thoroughly, and after those are resolved, an action plan will start to resolve the budget, payments and disputed territories’ issues”. Bakhtiar also urged the Kurdish government to hold a meeting with parliamentary blocs to agree on points of negotiations with Baghdad to ensure “an inclusive solution”.

Dam negotiations going on: the Ethiopian ambassador to Egypt met the Egyptian FM


The  Ethiopian ambassador to Egypt Taye Stke-Selassie Amde had a meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister  and he said that Sameh Shoukry  will meet his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in January to discuss about the deadlock of the tripartite technical committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the possible effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). This meeting confirms the Egyptian efforts to break the current deadlock  and solve the disagreements between the three states. In November the negotiations broke down, in fact Egypt approved the European consultancy firms’ report while Sudan and Ethiopia rejected it, demanding major amendments to the technical studies. He stressed that his country is concerned due to the delay in the adoption of the proposed studies, adding that it has the desire to build trust with the others, preserving the Egyptian water interests. The talks between the two minister aims to prepare the upcoming visit of  the Ethiopian prime minister Desalegn to Egypt in January.

Algiers: Algeria and USA discuss proposals for bilateral partnership projects in various fields


The trade Minister Mohamed Benmeradi met, in Algiers, the United States Ambassador John Desrocher, with whom he discussed a series of proposals for bilateral partnership projects in various fields in the short and medium term. Mr. Benmeradi said that the United States of America was one of the main suppliers to the Algerian market, emphasizing “the strong presence of US investors in Algeria in different areas” including the energy sector and their participation in development projects.In this regard, the minister called on the US partner “to contribute to the increase of non-hydrocarbon exports”, through the opening of the country’s market to Algerian agri-food products.He emphasized the importance of capitalizing on the US export experience and creating more bilateral partnerships to support economic growth, in light of the Government’s balanced the national economy, the preservation of foreign exchange reserves and the promotion of Algerian trade at the international level. The US ambassador in Algiers described the relations between the two countries as “strong” and Algeria as “the main economic partner of the United States of America in North Africa”. The United States is ensuring the expansion of economic relations with Algeria and the strengthening of security cooperation and partnership.

Mogherini’s Office: Abrogating Specialist Chambers Law ‘appalling’

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Mogherini’s Press Office, in response to Gazeta’s request to the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to comment on the initiative of the Assembly of Kosovo to Repeal the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecution, told that the statement of the Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova, reflects the stance of 28 EU member countries.During a statement, Apostolova has defined extremely dangerous the initiative of the Kosovo Assembly to abrogate the Law. “I am appalled by the initiative of the Kosovo Assembly to abrogate or in any other way put out of force the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecution Office”, said The EU representative while asking the assembly to immediately withdraw this initiative. Apostolova also added that such initiative would jeopardize the common effort made in recent years in the field of the rule of law and justice, and would jeopardize those who defend final impunity.

Corporate Partnership Charter: A Platform for Recovery and Diversification of the Economy


The Charter on the Partnership Partnership, signed Saturday in Algiers by the Government, the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) and the Patronage, is a framework for the revival and diversification of the national economy, says the document bearing this Charter. The signatories of this Charter are the Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for the government, the secretary general of the UGTA, Abdelmadjid Sidi Said, as well as the presidents of the employers’ organizations that are signatories of the National Economic and Social Growth Pact. Several ministers were present at this ceremony. They are the Ministers, respectively, of Finance, Abderrahmane Raouya, Energy, Mustapha Guitouni, Industry and Mining, Youcef Yousfi, Housing Urbanism and City, Abdelwahid Temmar, of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Abdelkader Bouazghi, Labor, Employment and Social Security, Mourad Zemali, Public Works and Transport, Abdelghani Zaalane, and Water Resources, Hocine Necib. Sonatrach’s CEO, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, Sonelgaz’s Mohamed Arkab, and the president of the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF) were also present.

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