Tag Archives: Diplomacy / Foreign Policy

British PM acts on plea from Saudi Crown Prince over canceled Newcastle United deal – Daily Mail | Instant News

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question-and-answer debate in Parliament, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, England, April 14, 2021, in this screenshot captured from this video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

(Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is acting on a personal plea from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a £ 300 million ($ 413.34 million) deal to buy Premier League club Newcastle United, the Daily Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The proposed takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium collapsed last year after the group refused to accept the Premier League’s independent arbitration offer to decide who would own the club.

The group, which includes Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, said last year they were ending their interest in the deal, which had been put on hold by tests of Premier League owners and directors.

The consortium blamed the lengthy evaluation for the decision to resign.

Mohammed Bin Salman has urged Johnson to “correct and reconsider” the “wrong” decision by the Premier League, which is accused of blocking the takeover of the club, the Daily Mail reported.

Johnson asked a senior assistant and Middle East expert, Lord Eddie Lister, to deal with the complaint, the report said. Lister was quoted in the Daily Mail report as saying he would investigate.

A British government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters. The Daily Mail quoted a government spokesman as saying: “While we welcome foreign investment, it is a commercial matter for the parties concerned and the Government is not involved in any way in the takeover talks at Newcastle United.”

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Edited by Grant McCool


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Britain will support an orderly departure from Afghanistan – Raab | Instant News

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab wears a protective mask during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels, Belgium April 14, 2021. REUTERS / Johanna Geron / Pool

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will “support the orderly departure of our troops” from Afghanistan when NATO withdraws from the country, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.

“We will support the orderly departure of our troops, while building Afghanistan’s capacity for self-government, and continue counter-terrorism support – to protect the achievements made over the past 20 years,” Raab said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said he would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan on May 1 to end America’s longest war.

Written by William Schomberg


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Turkey’s Erdogan slams Italy’s Draghi for ‘dictator’ comments | Instant News

Statement by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, March 29, 2021. Murat Cetinmuhurdar / PPO / Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE IS PROVIDED BY THIRD PARTIES. NO RESALS. NO ARCHIVES

ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan accused Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday of behaving “insolent and disrespectful” after he called the Turkish leader a “dictator”.

Last week, Draghi said Erdogan had humiliated European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during his visit to Ankara and that it was important to come clean to the “dictator”, which drew criticism from Ankara.

In his first public comments on the matter, Erdogan said at an event in Ankara that Draghi had damaged relations between Turkey and Italy, and said that the Italian prime minister lacked the democratic legitimacy to make such criticism.

“The remarks made by the Italian prime minister are very disrespectful and disrespectful,” Erdogan said. “At a time when we hope that Turkish-Italian relations can reach a good point, by making this statement, this man called Draghi has unfortunately damaged the relationship between us,” he said.

“You get there appointed, you are not elected. In order for you to make such a statement about Tayyip Erdogan, you must first know your own history. However, we see that you are not, “added Erdogan, referring to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Draghi, a former president of the European Central Bank, was not in power in elections but was recruited by the Italian president in February to lead a new government after the previous coalition collapsed amid party feuds.

Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel met Erdogan in Ankara last week and raised EU concerns about Turkey’s record on human rights. At the meeting, von der Leyen was evidently surprised when the two men sat down on the two prepared chairs, lowering them onto the adjacent sofa.

Relations between NATO allies Turkey and Italy have been largely positive in recent years, and they have held talks on the conflict in Libya, tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and defense cooperation.

But broader relations between Ankara and the EU have long been tense, especially after the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 sparked a crackdown that led to the arrest of thousands of people.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Edited by Gareth Jones


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EU countries look to COVID passes to reopen summer travel | Instant News

FILE PHOTO: A couple are seen next to rows of empty hammocks during the coronavirus pandemic in Albufeira, Portugal July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Rafael MarchanteBRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries officially agreed on Wednesday to launch COVID travel passes as a step towards reopening to tourism this summer and will negotiate details with bloc lawmakers in May, two diplomatic sources said. The certificates would allow people vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results make it easier to travel in the EU, where restrictions on have weighed heavily on the travel and tourism industry for more than a year. The 27 EU member states “have underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by summer 2021,” said a document approved by national envoys and seen by Reuters. Parliament, which must also accept the proposal for it to take effect, is due to adopt its own position later this month and final talks between lawmakers, national envoys and the bloc’s executive are expected to start in May. EU countries are working in parallel to ensure “that the necessary technological solutions are in place,” says the EU27 decision, so that new digital or paper certificates can be used once approved. The Member States’ agreement includes provisions against discrimination against those who cannot or do not wish to be vaccinated and allows a series of tests to prove their recovery, while Member States would be obliged to recognize the vaccines approved by the EU, some countries might also issue certificates covering Sputnik vaccines from Russia or Sinovac from China which are only allowed in their territory, other EU countries would decide whether or not to accept a certificate referring a vaccine not approved by EU regulators.Report by Gabriela Baczynska; edited by Philip Blenkinsop.

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Australia marks a mass inoculation amid the COVID-19 vaccine turmoil | Instant News

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s national cabinet will begin meeting twice a week starting Monday to help mobilize the country’s battle against COVID-19 as authorities consider mass vaccinations to increase coronavirus inoculation efforts.

FILE PHOTOS: Signs of a COVID-19 vaccination clinic are seen as high-risk workers receive the first vaccine in the state of Victoria at program launch, in Melbourne, Australia, February 22, 2021. REUTERS / Sandra Sanders

Federal and state governments will discuss setting up mass vaccination centers from early June for people over 50, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, when the country will move to the next phase of immunization.

“We will have the AstraZeneca vaccine which we believe can increase the speed of vaccination for those aged between 50 and 70 years. That’s millions of Australians,” Morrison told reporters in Perth.

Australia earlier this week abandoned a target of providing at least one dose of vaccine to nearly 26 million residents by year-end after limiting the rollout of the preferred AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 due to clotting problems.

The European drug regulator’s findings regarding rare cases of blood clotting among some adult recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine are a major blow to Australia as the country bases its immunization drive largely on this inoculation, with plans to produce 50 million doses locally.

Australian officials overhauled the program in response, doubling Pfizer’s previous orders to 40 million shots, which will be delivered by the end of the year, mostly for the adult population under 50.

Australia formed a national cabinet of federal, state and territory leaders early last year to coordinate steps to fight the pandemic.

Morrison said a return to more frequent national cabinet meetings was needed to address the “serious challenges” caused by uneven international vaccine supplies and changing medical advice.

The return to the twice-weekly meetings, the same frequency as at the height of the crisis in Australia last year, will continue for “the foreseeable future”, Morrison said.

Australia fared much better than many other developed countries during the pandemic, with more than 29,400 cases of COVID-19 and 910 deaths.

No new cases have been reported nearly every day this year and officials are quickly tackling small outbreaks, but the country’s vaccination program has met major obstacles.

About 1.3 million people have been vaccinated by Tuesday, far from the 4 million promised at the end of March, after the European Union blocked exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine after the drugmaker failed to fulfill promises of delivery to the block.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan will travel to Europe this week to seek the release of about 3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine previously promised for Australia.

Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Jane Wardell and Michael Perry


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