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Government & Politics

Cluster Munition Monitor 2013 Report: Syria use blights an otherwise successful year

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The Cluster Munition Monitor1 is an annual review of compliance with the Oslo Convention, which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions worldwide. The violence in Syria blighted the otherwise highly positive achievements of the Oslo Convention during 2012: more than 27 million stockpiled cluster munitions were destroyed by States Parties, significant progress was made in clearing contaminated land, and several highly contaminated states, such as Iraq, signed the convention. The 2013 report makes particular ref... Read More »

Europe must lead the way on Arab-Israeli conflict

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Despite the criticism and the slowness, awkwardness and contradictory interests of its member states, it is still the only player truly changing and affecting the Middle East. No wonder then that most of the region’s peace initiatives have been linked to Europe, from Rhodes in 1949, via Madrid, to Oslo and the Geneva accord in 2003. The US is needed to close the deal, but without Europe nothing can be started. That is why, while all shallow glances are directed at US Secretary of State Kerry, well-informed observers instead look to Europe. T... Read More »

Netherlands and India to step up cooperation

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The two ministers decided during their talk to establish a joint committee on investment and trade, so as to eliminate still existing trade barriers between the two countries and strengthen economic ties. Possibilities will also be explored for technical cooperation and knowledge exchange in the field of food security. There are currently still 800 million Indians living in poverty. Ms Ploumen also talked with the Indian authorities about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Indian-Dutch cooperation in this field. There have been active... Read More »

MEPs: EU needs defence force ‘under Union command’

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It called for EU leaders to commit themselves to defining the union’s security interests, prioritising its strategic objectives and linking these with operational deployments. They said this should include a definition of European defence interests and its geographical priority zones. Launching the paper, deputies Michael Gahler, Arnaud Danjean and Krzysztof Lisek, all members of the Eparliament's security and defence sub-committee, noted that "deepening the EU's security and defence co-operation will help slash procurement costs and allow t... Read More »

Statement by Kristalina Georgieva on latest figure of refugees fleeing from the Syrian crisis

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The number has doubled in the short period from 16th March 2013, and has now reached this tragic figure. Trying to visualise what this means, just think of four times the number of citizens of Manchester or Lyon or just over the population of Warsaw. Then imagine also what this sudden movement of a city-sized population means in terms of the increased pressure on resources such as education, health and security for the countries hosting the refugees. Most of those who have had to flee Syria are concentrated in four countries; Turkey, Jord... Read More »

Kosovo symbol dispute shows limit of EU deal

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But in recent developments, Serbia's PM Ivica Dacic has indicated that Kosovo institutions cannot put their logo, which says "Republic of Kosovo" on ballot papers because the logo amounts to a claim that Kosovo is a sovereign state, which Serbia continues to reject. According to Dacic, the April deal, clinched in Brussels, does not permit the ballot logo move. He says the elections in the north, just like negotiations, should be treated as status neutral, and that Pristina's Central Election Commission, which is organising the vote, should have... Read More »

Special scheme for widows of victims of executions in the Dutch East Indies

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Under this scheme, Indonesian widows who submit a claim and meet the relevant conditions will be eligible for the same compensation granted to widows from Rawagedeh and South Sulawesi with whom the Netherlands had previously reached a settlement. These widows received €20,000 per person. On 12 September in Jakarta, the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Netherlands, will apologise for such incidents of summary the executions. The widows from South Sulawesi who have settled their claims have been invited to the ceremony.... Read More »

Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the killing of residents at Camp Ashraf

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"I condemn in the strongest terms the killings that took place at Camp Ashraf yesterday, which according to various reports claimed the lives of numerous camp residents. My sincere condolences go out to the families of the victims and I extend my wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured in yesterday's violence. The circumstances in which this brutal incident took place must be clarified and those found to be responsible must be heldfully accountable. I welcome the decision of the Government of Iraq to open an inquiry. I further... Read More »

EU ‘security and aid’ mantra: Hollow words?

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It is more than mere rhetoric. In recent years, we have seen the EU roll out an impressive range of new funds, such as the Instrument for Stability or the African Peace Facility, as well as new institutions, not least the European External Action Service (EEAS), in this regard. It holds great potential. But at the same time it runs a great risk of EU policies working at cross-purposes or delivering counterproductive results. In Egypt, the Court of Auditors' report of 18 June paints a bleak picture of EU confusion. The court says the Eu... Read More »

Ban Ki-moon opens ministerial conference on peaceful settlement of disputes

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Foreign minister Frans Timmermans is presiding over the conference, whose goal is to strengthen existing institutions and methods for peaceful dispute settlement. These include judicial proceedings, arbitration and mediation. If countries would take more advantage of the scope provided by the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and UN mediation, it would help make the world a safer, more just and more peaceful place. Participants Ministers have been invited to the conference from each of the 15 countries of ... Read More »

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