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Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29

Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29

The radical Taliban movement has announced its intention to sign an agreement with the United States on February 29. This was reported on Friday by the representative of the Taliban, Zabihulla Mujahid.

“Now both parties must create an appropriate security environment in anticipation of the signing of the agreement,” Mujahid said.

Earlier, the upcoming signing of the agreement with the Taliban was announced by the head of the press service of the US Department of State, Morgan Ortegus. It was noted that soon after this, intra-Afghan negotiations will be held, on which, on the basis of this agreement, an attempt will be made to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The National Security Council of Afghanistan, announced that the government and the Taliban have reached an agreement on a regime to reduce violence, which should take effect at midnight from Friday to Saturday. The regime will last seven days.

On Thursday, the Taliban radical movement announced that it will soon reach final agreements with US authorities to reduce violence in Afghanistan. In the future, this should allow all foreign troops to withdraw from the country. US President Donald Trump said on February 13 that Washington and the Taliban could soon announce deals. He added that the United States “would like to bring its military back home” from Afghanistan.

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EU starts discussion of first budget after Brexit with cuts

EU starts discussion of first budget after Brexit with cuts

The heads of state and government of the EU countries will try on Thursday to reach an agreement on a multi-year community budget plan for 2021-2027. An emergency summit was convened at the end of January by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, due to the fact that the European institutions failed the negotiations on the budget due to serious disagreements. The main problem is that it is necessary to close the budget hole of € 11 billion per year, which is formed after the UK leaves the European Union.

At the Brussels summit, the interests of donor states that pay more to the budget than they receive from it (all of Western Europe), recipients (Eastern Europe) and European institutions – the European Parliament and the European Commission (EC) will meet. Donors do not want to increase their contributions after Brexit, but this will mean cutting back on all targeted European programs, which the EU beneficiary countries oppose. In turn, the European Parliament wants to increase or at least maintain funding for key European programs, because their reduction means for Brussels the loss of the prestige of the community.

In addition, the draft seven-year budget submitted to the summit for the first time contains a proposal to deprive those countries that violate community legal norms of eurofinancing. If this rule were in effect now, Poland could remain without Euro subsidies, in relation to which the European Commission is conducting an investigation for violating the principles of the rule of law in judicial reform.
The UK, which was Germany’s second largest European budget donor after Germany, left the EU on January 31, leaving a multi-billion dollar hole. According to European diplomats, Brussels will miss about € 11 billion annually, which London contributed to the general budget. This means that in the new seven-year budget plan, almost € 80 billion is lacking. Therefore, Brussels needs to decide which programs should be donated.

Until the end of 2020, the UK, which formally left the EU, will still pay a contribution to the EU budget, since until this point the transition period after Brexit will continue. The termination of contributions will occur just in the new seven-year EU budget cycle.
Michel suggested that the community countries compensate for this gap, in particular, with a new tax on plastics and revenues from trading carbon credits. He made such an offer just a few days ago, but the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has already stated that it is unsatisfactory.

As the EU representative told reporters before the meeting, funding for the EU’s main programs will be frozen from next year, if the heads of state and government of the community cannot reach an agreement on the budget in the coming days.
Even if an agreement is reached at the summit, the draft budget should be approved by the European Parliament. According to the representative of the EU, coordination will be difficult, “it will take time.”

One of the main innovations of the budget plan may be that the EU countries will not be able to receive subsidies from the general budget if they do not comply with community standards, in particular the rule of law, a European source said. According to him, the draft outcome document states that “a general regime will be introduced on the conditions for providing access to financing to combat the deficiencies in the state administration of member countries with regard to compliance with the rule of law.”

According to diplomats, the European Commission will identify such violations, after which its recommendation regarding funding restrictions should be supported by most states in the EU Council.

This innovation, if it is approved by the countries of the community, is revolutionary in nature – never before has the allocation of funding from the EU budget after its approval been determined by any additional factors. At the same time, observers believe that this norm is unlikely to be included in the document, since most states that receive Euro subsidies almost all of Eastern Europe, will oppose it. They fear that this mechanism will give Brussels and “old Europe” too much leverage to put pressure on the new EU countries.

EU institutions have tried to reach an agreement based on proposals submitted by Finland, the EU presidency. The amount of funding for the community budget for the next seven years, according to the proposal of Helsinki, should be € 1.087 trillion. This is 1.07% of the total GDP of the EU countries. At the same time, one of the main payers to the EU budget – Germany – proposed setting the budget at 1% of GDP.

Michel later updated the Finnish proposal without major changes, in connection with which the European Parliament said that it would not approve it. The European Parliament has traditionally been looking for ways to maintain and expand European programs, regardless of the fact that revenues to the EU budget will decrease after Brexit.

The EU budget is drawn up for a seven-year period, which is determined by the need for predictable funding for multi-year European programs and projects. The budget is formed from direct contributions of member countries, therefore, its approval and approval by all states imposes financial obligations on them. This protects the EU budget from a sudden reduction in payments from one state or another, for example, as a result of a change of government.

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Bolton criticized Trump’s policies

Bolton criticized Trump’s policies

Story Former Assistant of the President of the United States on National Security John Bolton criticized the Donald Trump administration foreign policy towards a number of countries, while expressing the hope that the White House will ultimately withdraw objections to the publication of his book, including the conversation between the American leader and the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky. This Bolton said on Monday, speaking at Duke University (North Carolina).

It is noted that video and audio during the speech of ex-assistant Trump were limited, journalists had to record key points on paper. So, according to Bolton, “it was clear that Trump’s course towards North Korea would fail.” “There is no evidence that the North Korean authorities made a strategic decision to abandon the desire to possess nuclear weapons,” the television station quoted Bolton as saying.
He also made it clear that as an assistant to the president of the United States on national security, he advocated an even greater tightening of the course towards Iran until the change of leadership of this country. “I don’t think that we, USA are exerting on Tehran the maximum pressure,” Bolton said.

Bolton also expressed his opinion about Trump’s “not tight enough” policy towards Russia.
Former Trump’s assistant disappointed reporters and the public, expecting from him the revelations set forth in his book. “I hope they don’t ban it,” Bolton said. He refused to disclose the contents of a series of confidential conversations with the US president, expressing the hope that “someday they will become public.” When asked to clarify his position regarding military assistance to Ukraine and Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, Bolton recommended reading a specific chapter of the book when it sees the light of day.

“I tried to write a story. I did everything in my power. Let’s see what happens with censorship,” the ex-assistant to the head of state added.

On January 23, the National Security Council (NSC) sent Bolton’s lawyer Charles Cooper of Cooper and Kirk, a Washington law firm, a notice that the new book by the former US Assistant to the President for National Security contains information that is a state secret and therefore cannot be published in it current form.

US President Donald Trump dismissed Bolton in September last year. The American leader explained this decision by saying that he made serious mistakes. In November last year, the Associated Press reported on the plans of the ex-adviser to the head of the American administration to write a book and publish it on the basis of an agreement with Simon & Schuster. According to AP, Bolton’s fee will be $ 2 million.

Meanwhile, was reported that the text claims that Trump told Bolton last August that he wants to continue to block military assistance to Ukraine until Kiev begins an investigation into the case of former US Vice President Joseph Biden and his son.

Trump, representing the Republican Party, allegedly sought to link military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of about $ 400 million with his request to start a trial regarding the work of Hunter Biden in the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The son of a former US vice president, a Democrat, was part of its leadership. In addition, the American leader requested that the activities of the National Committee of the Democratic Party be included in the investigation.

Joseph Biden is one of Trump’s main rivals in the upcoming US presidential election in November.

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Trump threatens to stop intelligence cooperation with countries dealing with Huawei

Trump threatens to stop intelligence cooperation with countries dealing with Huawei

American ambassador to Germany, Richard Grinnell, revealed that USpresident Donald Trump has threatened to stop the exchange of intelligence information with allied countries that deal with the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.

“President Trump has instructed me to clarify that any country that chooses an unreliable 5G network provider will risk endangering our ability to share information with it, as well as top-level information,” said Grinnell on Sunday, stressing that president Trumpcalled him from the presidential plane asking him to deliver this message.

Washington is pressing its allies to stop cooperating with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei installing high-speed 5G communication networks. The main U.S. allies in Europe, especially Britain and France, have announced that they will not stop cooperating with Huawei to build 5G networks, but will impose restrictions.

According to AFP, although the U.S. public response has been conservative the media has reported that Trump is very angry with London. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said in a security conference in Monaco on Saturday that Huawei is “a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence”.

The Chinese telecommunications company strongly denies the United States’ allegations regarding its relations with the Chinese government and regards these relations with Washington as economic bullying. On Friday, an American court accused Huawei of further criminal charges related to intellectual property theft, adding to previous allegations that the company had stolen trade secrets from the American company “T­Mobile”.

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Washington seeks special envoy for nuclear  talks with Russia

Washington seeks special envoy for nuclear talks with Russia

The US administration wants to appoint a special envoy to negotiate with Moscow on arms control.
The main area of activity of such a negotiator should be a dialogue with the Russian Federation, but US President Donald Trump may insist that he also engage in involving China in this process.While the US administration has not selected a candidate for such a position, searches have been going on since the end of last year. Potential bidders included the former head of the US delegation to negotiate with the USSR on the Strategic Arms Reduction and Reduction Treaty (START-I), Richard Burt, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Marshall Billingsley and Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President US National Security Under George W. Bush. One source told the newspaper that a list of possible candidates was sent to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo a few weeks ago.
The State Department and the National Security Council of the White House have not yet commented on this information.
The search for a special envoy for arms control negotiations may delay the decision on the fate of the Russian-American Treaty on Measures to Further Reduce and Limit Strategic Offensive Arms (START, or START III). “I was told that there was no work in this direction until they appointed a senior negotiator,” a former Pentagon official told the publication. The newspaper also notes that, in the opinion of many, including analysts and assistants to US lawmakers, Washington has no serious plans on how to interact with the Russian Federation or China in such negotiations, and the US administration “seems paralyzed” in this matter.
Last week, Assistant President of the United States for National Security Robert O’Brien said Washington would soon begin negotiations with Moscow on arms control and nuclear issues. Then he also noted that the US administration proceeds from the fact that the question of a possible extension or replacement of START is open.
Moscow calls on Washington not to delay the issue of the possibility of extending the treaty and characterizes it as the gold standard in the field of disarmament. Trump assured that the United States would like to conclude a new arms control agreement with Russia, China and, possibly, several other countries. To the additional question of whether the United States would like to extend the START, the head of the White House did not answer.
On Tuesday, O’Brien, speaking to the Washington Atlantic Council, admitted that China is currently not showing interest in joining arms control negotiations.
In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow did not intend to try to force Beijing to engage in an arms control dialogue with Washington. See more News of America Today .

US and Taliban may sign peace agreement in February

US and Taliban may sign peace agreement in February

The United States may soon reach an agreement with the radical Taliban movement. This was announced on Tuesday by the Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security, Robert O’Brien, speaking at the Washington Atlantic Council.

“Great progress has been made, I think we can come close to an agreement” he said. “I’m interested in this, because hostages are still held in Afghanistan. I hope that the Taliban will find certain opportunities to join final negotiations. ” O’Brien recalled that U.S. President Donald Trump suspended negotiations in the fall of 2019 due to the death of American troops, but consultations resumed earlier this year.

“I think we will make significant progress,” said the presidential aide. “Good news may follow soon. It should be a reduction in violence, inter-Afghan negotiations to move forward. We must wait for a few days or weeks.”

Speaking about the prospects for the withdrawal of American troops, Trump’s assistant made it clear that this would not happen in the near future. According to him, the Taliban should guarantee a break in ties with al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

“The president wants the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Afghanistan should no longer be a safe place for terrorists,” O’Brien said. “Our military and diplomats are working very seriously. But I don’t think the withdrawal is inevitable right now.”

Military sources told that the Trump administration may release a peace agreement to reduce the violence with the radical Taliban this week. According to them, the expected agreement will be a call for a ceasefire between the coalition forces led by the United States and the Taliban, which will become the basis for concluding a peace deal in the near future. The American authorities, the channel notes, are in favor of concluding the first part of the peace agreement with the Taliban in connection with Trump’s desire to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Under this deal, Washington will be able to reduce its presence from 12-13 thousand to 8.6 thousand military personnel. Get all the News of America Today .

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