With double standards (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Destroyed house in Duma near Damascus (23.4.2018)

Great Britain, France, Germany and the USA, together with Belgium and Estonia, prevented the first director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Brazilian diplomat José Bustani, from attending the UN Security Council in New York on Monday afternoon (local time) was allowed to talk. The subject of the debate was “Progress in the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program”, the main speaker was the UN commissioner for disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, who presented her monthly report.

Bustani had been invited by the Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebensja – who will hold the Security Council Chairmanship in October – to speak about the OPCW and its work in Syria. This was based on the rules of procedure, according to which the chairman and the council can invite guests and speakers to meetings of the body.

After it became known on Friday that Bustani was to attend the meeting, the Russian diplomat received a letter on Saturday in which Great Britain, Estonia, Belgium, Germany, France and the US announced that they opposed Bustani’s speech. “If you are against it, say that out loud in the Security Council,” Nebensja explained his answer. It was a sad day in the history of the Security Council, said the diplomat after the meeting: “We have set a precedent. A speaker who was supposed to inform the Security Council was voted down, that has never happened before. “

The representative of China accused the EU and US diplomats of using double standards. Nobody has ever prevented them from inviting speakers to the Security Council, especially not if they had qualifications and experience, like Bustani.

Anyone who watched the two and a half hour debate witnessed arrogant remarks by the ambassadors of Great Britain, France and Germany. Among other things, they accused Nebensja of ignorance of the rules of procedure, twisting the facts, pursuing Russian interests in the matter and conducting propaganda. The representative of Estonia and the Ambassador of Belgium largely agreed. US Ambassador Kelly Craft said “the additional speaker” had been “removed from OPCW 2002”. He has nothing to do with the current topic.

Bustani was OPCW’s first general director from 1997 to 2002. In 2002, he was threatened by the United States to leave office. He had previously ordered transparent investigations into the alleged chemical weapons depots in Iraq – and had become an obstacle to the attack on the country. Claims from Washington and London that Baghdad had chemical weapons was just a pretext to invade Iraq. It is now known that weapons of mass destruction did not exist in the country.

In 2018 and 2019, former, experienced OPCW inspectors disclosed inconsistencies and errors in the official final report on chemical weapons allegedly used by Syrian forces in an attack on the Duma east of Damascus in April 2018. The United States, Great Britain and France used the Duma case as an opportunity to launch extensive attacks on Syria. The results of the initiated OPCW investigations were not awaited.

Bustani’s declaration, prevented by the leading representatives of the Western “community of values” on Monday, was nevertheless recorded and published. The diplomat expressed his deep concern about the development of the organization to ban chemical weapons, which he had played a key role in building in the 1990s.

Since 2019 he has been dealing with the Duma report, which raises many questions. OPCW inspectors who were on site would also have raised these questions. But the pressure from some member states is affecting the organization in its impartial, important work. According to Bustani, the inspectors had “had the courage to address the possibly illegal behavior” of the OPCW “at great personal risk. It must be in the interests of the organization and the world that their doubts be noted. “Listening to its own inspectors would be an important step in repairing the organization’s damaged reputation,” says Bustani.


South African President Farewell Musimane: His training for the continent’s leading team strengthens diplomatic relations with Egypt

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, Pizzo Mosimane, bade farewell to the new technical director of Al-Ahly club after his departure from Mamelodi Sundowns.

“Not many football coaches in South Africa have received presidential recognition. But again, this is Pitso Musimane that we’re talking about,” The South Africa reported.

She added, “Pitso Musimane, former coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, took over this week with the most successful football clubs in Africa, which have a long history of coaches from other continents.”

Ramaphosa described Pizzo as “a force in soccer in South Africa,” praising the diplomatic benefits of his new move and the transfer to Al-Ahly club.

The newspaper published the message of the South African president: “We will miss Pitso Musimane as a force in South African football, but his appointment by the leading club in our continent strengthens the bonds of friendship between our two countries.”

He added, “It is also a recognition of the talent and capabilities that exist within our continent. I wish Pizzo and his team good luck as they raise our flag and the banner of continental football with a club all Africans are proud of its success“.


the opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa “blown away” by Emmanuel Macron

Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa is the head of the opposition to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, whose election on August 9 was deemed fraudulent. She was forced to take refuge in Lithuania. It is there that she met this Tuesday, September 29, Emmanuel Macron. Guest of RTL this Thursday, October 1, she says she is “blown away” by the President of the Republic.

“I actually met President Macron and it was a very rich interview,” explains Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa. I was blown away at how deeply he understood the situation in Belarus. He took this problem head on. I believe he is really aware of all the ins and outs of our situation. “

“Extremely grateful” for French support for the Belarusian opposition, the politician confides that Emmanuel Macron “said that” he would spare no effort and would do his utmost to play a role of mediator in this negotiation with the authorities, that he will do everything in his power to try to make the exchange more fluid and to ensure that different countries can take part in this negotiation. ”

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Diplomacy – US wants to close its embassy in Iraq – politics

Donald Trump promised his voters an end to the endless wars and thus fewer US soldiers in the Middle East, and in some cases kept it: the US President has withdrawn troops from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq in recent months and has announced this in the media let – at least much louder than the fact that thousands of soldiers were newly relocated to the Gulf region at the same time.

Shortly before the US election on November 3, another storyline could be added to the chapter “US withdrawal from the Middle East”, but this does not affect the military, but the diplomatic presence of the US on the ground: media like the Washington Post report that the US planned to close its embassy in Baghdad. The Iraqi government and Washington’s diplomatic partners have already been informed.

The announcement took the Iraqi government by surprise, said Ahmed Mulla Talal, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, “we hope that the American government will reconsider the decision.”

However, Iraq’s Prime Minister al-Kadhimi could not have been completely surprised by the call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday: For months, smaller projectiles and rockets have been raining down on the area in Baghdad’s Green Zone, at the end of December an angry one rushed by militiamen in plain clothes interspersed mob even a forecourt of the embassy.

Even before al-Kadhimi, who has been in office since May, met Trump on an inaugural visit to Washington in August, US officials urged him that the Iraqi army and security forces should finally stop the shelling. Iraq’s President Barham Saleh is said to have received a similar message last week.

But what Washington is asking of al-Kadhimi is a difficult task: behind the tactic of using pinprick tactics to wear down military and civilian US presences in the country, pro-Iranian militias are suspected, above all the group Kata’ib Hezbollah . Its leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis died on January 3 of this year when he was picking up the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport – whom the US then killed with a drone attack.

With this blow, the US government actually wanted to demonstrate that it will not leave the constant provocations of Tehran in the region unanswered – but it did not change the behavior of the pro-Iranian forces in the region, on the contrary: missiles continued to fall on remote military bases, Patrols were attacked, which is probably one of the reasons why the US Army cleared some bases and moved its soldiers to fewer, better-protected locations. And the embassy in Baghdad continued to be attacked.

Largest US agency worldwide

It is still unclear whether Washington has already given concrete instructions to withdraw or whether it wants to force a change in behavior among the Iraqis by means of a final threat. What is certain, according to Washington observers, is that their diplomats on site would need around 90 days to disband the Baghdad site. Because the embassy there is much more than a mere consular and diplomatic mission: since the building went into operation in 2009, the site has been the largest US external mission in the world, with 104 hectares, the site is larger than the Vatican. In addition to hundreds of employees of the US State Department, there are also employees of the military and the secret services stationed here, who are supposed to promote Iraq’s ties with the United States and thus counter Iranian influence.

Many experts doubt whether a withdrawal of the diplomats from Baghdad will help this goal: Iran and the militias it controls should be happy to be able to claim in their propaganda that they drove the Americans from the Middle East – because of them Embassies in Damascus and Tehran that have been closed for years or even decades would have left a large white spot on the map of their representations in the Middle East.

At the same time, a withdrawal would mean a weakening of its own allies: Al-Kadhimi is considered pro-Western and has actually set out with the dedicated goal of breaking the power of the anti-loyal militias and forcing them militarily under the umbrella of the Iraqi army.

Whether the prime minister would survive a long political withdrawal of civil US officials is extremely questionable, what could come after him, uncertain. The withdrawal from the Middle East, which means the closure of the embassy in Baghdad, could therefore turn out to be far more extensive than intended.


The pressure falls around Greece in the Macron-Erdogan face-to-face

DECRYPTION – The appeasement in the Eastern Mediterranean does not resolve the other disputes between France and Turkey.

Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018, in Istanbul.  During their telephone interview concerning the tensions in the Mediterranean, the two heads of state put forward “their arguments” and “their willingness to exchange regularly and open other subjects in common”.
Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018, in Istanbul. During their telephone interview concerning the tensions in the Mediterranean, the two heads of state argued “Their arguments” and “Their willingness to exchange regularly and open up other subjects in common”. MURAD SEZER / REUTERS

This is the first sign of de-escalation since the summer. After weeks of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey have opted for appeasement and say they are ready for negotiations, which should take place soon in Istanbul. This de-escalation measure came on the eve of a European Council, finally postponed because of Covid, which was to put the issue of sanctions against Turkey on the table. It was facilitated by the mediation of Angela Merkel, who spoke on the phone with the Turkish president on Tuesday evening. And by Emmanuel Macron, who also spoke at length, over an hour, to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Between Paris and Ankara, relations were at their lowest since France showed its support for Greece by deploying warships in the eastern Mediterranean. But the interview, they say at the Élysée, was “constructive”, «without tensions». «Everyone has made their own arguments” but with “the desire to exchange regularly and open

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The UN celebrates its 75th anniversary with a virtual high mass

The United Nations General Assembly, affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, opens in New York on Tuesday.

By Maurin Picard

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no Head of State will travel to the New York UN headquarters in Turtle Bay for its General Assembly (here, in September 2019).  A first in the history of the international organization founded three quarters of a century ago.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no Head of State will travel to the New York UN headquarters in Turtle Bay for its General Assembly (here, in September 2019). A first in the history of the international organization founded three quarters of a century ago. LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS

Unrecognizable Turtle Bay: the UN headquarters, nestled on the banks of the East River, rings hollow in this early New York autumn. The sirens of ambulances in the distance have replaced those of convoys of tinted-glass sedans connecting Midtown hotels to the tall glass building of 42e Rue.

For the first time in three quarters of a century, the endless UN “high mass” in September will not take place. At least not the “High level week” where the heads of state and government of the planet meet in flesh and blood. The coronavirus and the extreme caution of the New York authorities got the better of this essential moment in world politics. Since last week, UN technicians have been receiving pre-recorded speeches from certain leaders. Instructions have been given not to exceed 15 minutes.

The list of speakers spans a whole week, from September 22 to 29, inaugurated by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday morning.

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Pompeo: Fly behind poison in Navalny – Ultima Ora

(ANSA) – WASHINGTON, 10 SEPT – The poisoning of the Russian opponent Alexei Navalny was probably orchestrated by “senior officials” in Moscow, said the head of American diplomacy Mike Pompeo last night.

Pompeo reiterated that Washington and all its European allies want Russia “to hold accountable”, adding that the US will try to identify the culprits: “It is something we will examine, evaluate and make sure we do what we need to do to reduce the likelihood of something similar happening again, “he explained.

US President Donald Trump, often accused of laxity in front of Vladimir Putin, explained last week that he “has not yet seen” the evidence of Navalny’s poisoning, while Germany had already claimed that he had been poisoned by a nerve agent. “of the Novichok type”.