Archive for Regions
As the tensions are intensifying in the country, Ukarine’s United Nations Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev is vowing: “We will succeed”, even though Russia is attempting to take over the region of Crimea. An emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine was held at UN headquarters. The emergency meeting was the third in four days on Ukraine. It started with worries that the Kremlin might grab more land in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia was demanded by almost all council members to take away its troops from Crimea. Russia did not get any support for its military action from close ally, China. Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told that Ukraine’s ousted president had requested Russian soldiers in the Crimea area “to establish legitimacy, law, order and peace.”
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will begin her visit to Iran on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s deputy foreign minister as saying. “Ms Ashton will arrive in Tehran on Saturday night,” Abbas Araqchi said, adding that during her visit she would meet President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. According to Iranian media, Ashton will meet Iranian officials on Sunday before travelling to Isfahan the next day. The last visit of an EU foreign policy chief to Tehran took place in 2008. Ashton is the lead negotiator for the P5+1 group of world powers, which is seeking a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, and which plans to hold technical talks with Iran in Vienna on Wednesday. In February, Tehran and the P5+1 – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany – agreed on a timetable and framework for the negotiations for an accord that would allay Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. Negotiators hope to reach a final accord by July 20, when an interim agreement reached in November is due to expire. Under the interim deal, Iran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear programme for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into effect on January 20.
Despite the stand-off between Kampala and Washington governments, the US is not closing its mission in Uganda, Ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi has said. “As president Obama noted, the US has a valued relationship with Uganda and this remains true, despite the challenges posed by the new law. Our partnership is multi- faceted and complex, and it’s not just about our interactions with the Uganda government on this recent legislation.” “I say this in specific reference to some false reports suggesting that the US is about to terminate its engagement with Uganda and that the embassy in Kampala will soon close,” DeLisi said in reference to the recently enacted anti-homosexuality law. “My purpose tonight, though, is not to fuel debate on the new anti-homosexuality law. As I am sure you all know, however, the US government in keeping with the high premium it attaches to all human rights, opposes this legislation,” he said. “We believe it should be repealed to ensure that it does not result in the discrimination of the kind that complicates the implementation of numerous programmes constituting our engagement with Uganda,” he stressed.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Russia is operating in a regular manner, and Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko is staying in Moscow. “The Embassy is functioning normally, and the ambassador is in place so far,” a source at the Embassy press service told Interfax. He said he had no information about Yelchenko’s plans to meet with Russian diplomats or go to Ukraine for consultations.
Keeping in mind the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Indian embassy in Kiev has asked Indians to defer all “non-essential travel” to Ukraine, said a Times of India report. However, Indians have not been asked to leave the country en masse so far. But, if an attack is carried out by Russia, the embassy is expected to ask Indians to leave the country. The Embassy of India in Kiev was established in May 1992 and Ukraine opened its mission in New Delhi in February 1993. Speaking exclusively with TOI from Kiev, India’s ambassador to Ukraine, Rajiv K Chander said the Indian community in the country has been told to avoid all areas of protest. There are around 4000 Indian students, majority of them in medical field, in Ukraine. Also, there are around 1000 Indians doing business in Ukraine.
Cameroon will open its first diplomatic mission in Turkey shortly, Turkey’s Cameroon Ambassador Omer Faruk Dogan said. Ambassador Dogan met with President of Cameroon Paul Biya and debated the new cooperation areas between Turkey and Cameroon. “Turkey wants to provide support to Cameroon in electricity, oil, infrastructure and social development areas,” stressed Turkey’s Cameroon ambassador.
The Australian government on Monday summoned Ambassador Vladimir Morozov to explain Russia’s decision to send troops into Crimea. Tony Abbott told parliament the Russian ambassador was called in “to be told in no uncertain terms what Australia thinks about this aggression against an independent country”. “I can inform the house that a visit by the minister for trade and investment to Russia will not go ahead and I can further inform the house that a visit to Australia by the Russian national security adviser, likewise, will not go ahead,” Abbott said during question time on Monday. “Unprovoked aggression should have no place in our world. Russia should back off. It should withdraw its forces from the Ukraine and the people of the Ukraine ought to be able to determine their future themselves.” The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has called for Russian troops to be withdrawn, and instructed her department head, Peter Varghese, to register Australia’s concerns with the Russian ambassador. But Morozov defended the military presence in Crimea, claiming the troops were invited by the newly-elected government there and the Russian fleet had long been located in the region. “Nothing is going on with any invasion to Ukraine,” he told reporters through an interpreter, following his meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. “There are self-defence troops created in Crimea which are trying to stabilise the situation and secure the Crimea.” Bishop played down the possibility of Australia recalling its ambassador in Moscow, saying the government was taking its diplomacy step by step. Australia also holds the presidency of the G20, of which Russia is a leading member, and is hosting the leaders’ summit in November in Brisbane.
Ominous developments in Ukraine have prompted Prime Minister Stephen Harper to strongly condemn Russia military intervention in the country while urging President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops immediately. In a statement issued following a rare emergency cabinet meeting, Harper said Canada is recalling its ambassador from Moscow and pulling out of the G8 process being chaired by Russia. At the same time, Canada is recognizing the legitimacy of the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government. “Ukraine’s sovereign territory must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future,” Harper said in his statement. “We call on President Putin to immediately withdraw his forces to their bases and refrain from further provocative and dangerous actions.” He warns that should Putin push forward with military action, it will lead to “ongoing negative consequences” for Canada-Russia relations. The special cabinet meeting was called after Russian parliament gave Putin the green light on Saturday to use the country’s military in Ukraine. Russian armed forces have seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Ukraine’s embassy to the EU has detailed Russian military movements in Crimea, saying operations to seize control began one week ago. The Ukrainian embassy, in a two-page note circulated to EU diplomats on Friday (28 February) – and seen by EUobserver – cited seven “illegal military activities of the Russian Federation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukraine.” Speaking in Kiev on Friday, Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said: “They are provoking us into an armed conflict. Based on our intelligence, they’re working on scenarios analogous to Abkhazia, in which they provoke conflict, and then they start to annex territory.” He added: “Ukraine’s military will fulfill its duties, but will not succumb to provocation.” He also said Russia’s actions violate the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, signed by Russia, the UK, Ukraine, and the US. Russia in 2008 invaded Georgia saying Georgian forces had fired on its “peacekeeping” troops in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. After an eight-day war, Russia retreated from Georgia proper, but entrenched its occupation of South Ossetia and a second breakaway entity, Abkhazia, in what is widely seen as a way of blocking Georgia’s EU and Nato aspirations. The Budapest document obliges signatories to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” It also says they “will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.” There is no shortage of consultations. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin on Friday phoned the British and German leaders and EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy. Lithuania, which currently holds the UN Security Council (UNSC) presidency, also called a meeting of UNSC ambassadors in New York. Statements coming from the Budapest signatories echo the terms of the agreement. A spokesman for British leader David Cameron said he told Putin “that all countries should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” US President Barack Obama said on TV “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” The UN meeting in New York did little to calm nerves. Ukraine’s UN ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, told press afterward: “We are strong enough to defend ourselves.” Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said all Russian military activity in Crimea is “within the framework” of a 1997 Ukraine-Russia treaty governing the use of its Sevastopol base. Churkin added the EU bears “responsibility” for events because three EU foreign ministers – from France, Germany, and Poland – on 21 February signed a deal between Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, and opposition MPs which says he is to stay in power until December. Yanukovych fled Kiev the next day when Kiev protesters rejected the agreement and threatened to storm his palace. Churkin accused the EU of fomenting the revolution by criticising Yanukovych for refusing to sign an EU association and free trade treaty and by sending VIPs to Kiev to mingle with demonstrators. “They emphasize sovereignty. But they behave as if Ukraine was a province of the European Union, not even a country, but a province,” he said.
Diplomats scrambled Saturday to respond to the unanimous vote by Russia’s upper house of Parliament to approve sending military forces into Ukraine. The vote followed a request from President Vladimir Putin for approval to send troops into Crimea to normalize the political situation there. Putin cited the “extraordinary situation in Ukraine” in making his request, adding that the lives of Russian citizens and military personnel based in the southern Crimea region had been threatened. Late in the evening, Ukrainian acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in a televised address in Kiev that he had been told by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that no decision had been made on whether Russian military forces would indeed enter his country. Yatsenyuk said his country was ready to mobilize its forces to protect strategic locations, including nuclear power plants.