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Putin opposes military action against North Korea

Russian president criticises US diplomacy in the crisis, cautioning that tougher sanctions would be counterproductive.

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Putin and Xi

Imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear missile programme would be counterproductive and threats of military action could trigger “a global catastrophe”, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Putin, speaking on Tuesday after a BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, also criticised US diplomacy in the crisis and renewed his call for talks, saying North Korea would not halt its missile testing programme until it felt secure.

“Russia condemns North Korea’s exercises, we consider that they are a provocation … [But] ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good. It could lead to a global catastrophe,” Putin said.

“There’s no other path apart from a peaceful one.”

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Monday that North Korea’s leadership is “begging for war” as she called on the body’s Security Council to impose tougher measures against the country following its most powerful nuclear test to date.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North’s state-run agency, hailed Sunday’s test, saying it “marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force”.

Putin also criticised the US, saying it was preposterous for Washington to ask for Moscow’s help with Pyongyang after sanctioning Russian companies whom US officials accused of violating North Korea sanctions.

“It’s ridiculous to put us on the same [sanctions] list as North Korea and then ask for our help in imposing sanctions on North Korea,” said Putin.

“This is being done by people who mix up Australia with Austria.”

Putin was speaking after South Korea said an agreement with the US to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to the North Korea threat after North Korea conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test.

Russia, which shares a border with North Korea, has repeatedly joined China in calling for negotiations with North Korea, suggesting that the US and South Korea halt all major war games in exchange for North Korea halting its testing programme.

While describing additional sanctions as “the road to nowhere”, Putin said Russia was prepared to discuss “some details” around the issue, without elaborating.

Meanwhile, Japanese politicians have demanded tougher UN sanctions on North Korea.

A resolution by Japan’s parliamentary committee on Monday condemned the North Korean nuclear test, and urged the government to take leadership in pushing for tougher punishment against the country.

Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, it was time to increase pressure on North Korea and eliminate loopholes that allow some countries to continue trading with the country.

 

Middle East

Abbas says to address UN assembly on issues causing suffering to Palestinians

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Mahmoud Abbas

Ramallah, Sep 16 : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he will address the upcoming UN General Assembly on issues causing suffering to Palestinians.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting he chaired for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Xinhua reported.

“We will go to the United Nations to confront the world with the issues that our people are suffering,” said Abbas, who is scheduled to deliver a speech at the UN headquarters in New York on September 27.

The addressed issues include the Israeli decision to demolish Al-Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin village east of Jerusalem, and the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy city, he added.

“We are consulting with our brothers in Jordan to form a unified position to go to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice on what is going on at the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas noted.

The Palestinian President said the final decision will be made by the PLO central council after he returned from the UN assembly.

The United States and the Palestinians have almost severed ties since US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017.

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Iran to increase uranium enrichment if EU fails

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Iran President

Tehran, Sep 16 (IANS) Iran would increase uranium enrichment if the European Union (EU) fails to implement its obligations following the US withdrawal from the Iranian landmark nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

“The Europeans and the other signatories must act in order to compensate for the effects of the US sanctions,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Press TV.

He downplayed the possibility of Iran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, but cautioned the EU partners that Iran might act if they fail to secure Iran’s interests in the deal.

“Oil and banks” are the “litmus test,” he said, alluding to the EU pledges to help Tehran in the face of US re-imposition of sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and banking transactions.

European parties need to decide whether being ready to follow their words, Zarif said, adding that “they should also decide if they want to submit to US pressure.”

Iran and six world powers, namely Russia, Britain, China, France, the United States and Germany, struck a landmark agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from the deal on May 8 and re-impose sanctions, including oil embargo, on Iran.

Iran has held several rounds of talks with France, Britain and Germany to revive the blocking statute, a 1996 regulation that prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with foreign sanctions laws.

Iran has incessantly urged Europe to take “practical and tangible measures” to protect Iranian interests since the US pullout.

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Palestinians still committed to making just peace with Israel: Abbas

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Mahmoud Abbas

Jerusalem, Sep 14 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the Palestinian people are still committed to making just peace with Israel.

Abbas made the remarks during a meeting at his headquarters in Ramallah with the leaders of three main religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, in the Palestinian territories.

He stressed on the necessity of making peace with Israel based on international resolutions related to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, Xinhua reported.

Abbas was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA as saying that the Palestinian people deserve an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, “which will be open for the three main religions”.

“Palestine is a model to be followed and a good example in coexistence and social peace,” the Palestinian leader said.

The religious leaders affirmed to Abbas their support to his policies that aim at achieving the hope and aspiration of the Palestinian people, namely freedom and independence.

Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 27.

Ahmad Majdalani, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that Abbas’ speech “will be like the worksheet for the coming stage”.

He told the official Voice of Palestine Radio that the Palestinians will carry on with their steps that will be escalated within the coming period, in response to the American and Israeli policies and measures that were taken to terminate the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian Authority has been boycotting the US administration led by President Donald Trump as a peace broker, after Trump announced last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocated the US ambassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city in May.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since 2014 after nine months of US-sponsored talks failed to make progress to resolve the decades-long conflict.

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