From Monday 11 to Sunday 17
- STRATEGIC RESOURCES
- INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
- ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS
CHINA: The US added Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to a US economic blacklist. It said CNOOC has “repeatedly harassed and threatened offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam.”
SOURCE: BUSINESS TIMES
NAGORNO-KARABAKH: Russian President Vladimir Putin brought together the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for the first time since a war last year over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, an effort to resolve problems that risk undermining the deal that ended the conflict. For Russia, the conflict highlighted the rising influence of Azeri ally Turkey in the South Caucasus, part of the former Soviet Union that Moscow has traditionally seen as its own sphere of influence.
NAGORNO-KARABAKH: The first meeting between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia after their six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh last year has clearly shown that Russia is rebuilding its leadership in the Caucasus, leaving little room for Turkey, which helped Azerbaijan prevail on the battlefield. According to the joint statement, Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia will establish a joint working group, while Turkey was not even mentioned in the statement.
SOURCE: AL MONITOR
AFGHANISTAN: The US has decreased its number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500, accomplishing a key goal of President Donald Trump as he prepares to leave office next week. Under a plan instituted by Trump the Pentagon is seeking to completely withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by May, but it is unclear if incoming President Joe Biden will continue to implement the policy when he takes office Jan. 20.
SOURCE: ANADOLU AGENCY
AFGHANISTAN: China has cautioned that an unorganized US departure could open the way for militants to re-establish Afghanistan as a regional hotbed of Islamic terror. China is concerned that Afghanistan, which shares a land border with China’s restive Xinjiang province, could in particular become a breeding ground for Uighur Muslim militants. China is seeking to become more involved in intra-Afghan talks.
SOURCE: ASIA TIMES
AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan calls for Iran pivotal role in Afghan peace talks. Foreign ministers of these countries emphasized strengthening and expanding relations between the two countries.
AFGHANISTAN: Recent visits by top Taliban leaders to Pakistan ahead of the second rounds of talks that began this month have caused concerns in India about the close ties between the insurgent group and Islamabad. Pakistan has already advised against India’s involvement in Afghanistan, accusing New Delhi of launching terror attacks from the war-torn country.
INDIA: India’s Foreign Minister said that trust with China had been deeply impaired after last summer’s border clash which resulted in the first combat deaths in 45 years, and that ties with the United States, on the other hand, were converging and were likely to expand under the new administration in Washington. Together with U.S. allies attempts to balance China’s assertive actions in the region.
MYANMAR: China is planning to expand infrastructure links with the key oil and gas port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar (Burma) as part of efforts to develop its Belt and Road (BRI) investments in the country. The two governments signed an initial deal.
SOURCE: ARGUS MEDIA
RUSSIA/USA: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Washington is doing everything possible to disrupt the dialogue between Iran and the Persian Gulf states. According to Lavrov, the Russian proposal to create a security strategy for the Persian Gulf is particularly aimed at developing dialogue between Iran and the Arab states.
SOURCE: MEHR NEWS AGENCY
IRAN: The governments of France, Germany and the UK have said they are “deeply concerned” by Iran’s announcement it will produce uranium metal, a violation of the 2015 nuclear treaty. Uranium metal can be used as a component for nuclear weapons, and the western governments said in a statement the production of the material has “potentially grave military implications”.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Israel announces new illegal settler homes in occupied West Bank, in last days of Trump’s presidency. Palestinian officials and much of the international community view them as the main obstacle to a viable two-state solution.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Foreign ministers of Egypt, Germany, France and Jordan discussed ways to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a week before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The Palestinians suffered numerous setbacks under the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump and have complained about what they say were pro-Israeli steps from Washington.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL
ISRAEL: Thousands of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Demonstrators have continued anti-Netanyahu protests for 30 weeks.
SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
JORDAN: US to build new military base in Jordan, in line with the expansion of military cooperation between this country and the United States, and with the US government’s efforts to fight terrorism and strengthen Jordan’s defense capabilities.
SOURCE: MEHR NEWS
YEMEN: United States will designate Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization. The designation will take effect on Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden takes offices.
SOURCE: NBC NEWS
TURKEY/GREECE: Turkey has offered to resume talks with Greece over the eastern Mediterranean and other issues this month. Greece rejected talks planned for last year after Turkey deployed a seismic exploration vessel to disputed waters.
SOURCE: TRT WORLD
TURKEY: U.S. president-elect Joe Biden will find it difficult to prevent U.S. legislators from imposing sanctions on NATO member Turkey. Erdoğan has angered many politicians in Washington by cosying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, attacking Kurdish militants allied with the United States in the battle against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, and by purchasing S-400 air defence missiles from Moscow.
SOURCE: AHVAL NEWS
NORDSTREAM2: The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing a final round of penalties against Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline that will connect Russia and Germany.
BELARUS: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko instructed the government to impose tit-for-tat sanctions against Western nations that had earlier slapped sanctions on some Belarusian enterprises as punishment for Lukashenko election’s outcome.
SENEGAL: In an attempt to counter Turkey’s expansion in West Africa, Egypt and the UAE seek to consolidate their ties with Senegal, the gateway to West Africa. The year 2020 witnessed intensive activities on the part of Turkey to consolidate its ties with West African countries, namely Senegal.
SOURCE: AL MONITOR
CONGO-BOTSWANA: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Botswana signed respectively a memorandum of understanding with China on jointly building the Belt and Road, becoming successively the 45th and the 46th African partner countries to participate in BRI cooperation. China will continue to actively participate in Africa’s infrastructure construction in such areas as transportation, energy and communications.
SOURCE: PEOPLE CN
TUNISIA: Violent protests broke out in several Tunisian cities as anger mounts over economic hardship. The demonstrations come as Tunisia marks the tenth anniversary of the revolution that toppled late president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
CUBA: The U.S. announced a decision to designate Cuba as a “state sponsoring terrorism” once again more than five years after removing the country from the list. Cuba strongly condemned the U.S. decision as a hypocritical move full of “political opportunism.” China firmly opposes the United States imposing political suppression and economic sanctions on Cuba under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
SOURCE: CHINA ORG
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