Western countries kick Russia out from G-8
Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico – March 24, 2014
President Obama and leaders of the biggest Western economies on Monday suspended Russia from the Group of Eight and will now meet in Brussels instead of the planned G-8 summit in Sochi. The announcement had been expected as a way to punish Vladimir Putin for annexing part of Ukraine last week. The leaders are trying to isolate Russia politically and economically through sanctions, but so far, Putin has laughed off all these attempts. The statement, which came after an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in the Netherlands, was signed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
Russia wants to continue contacts with G8 states
Katya Golubkova, Reuters – March 25, 2014
Russia wants to continue contacts with G8 member states after the other seven members suspended their participation in the group. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said, “The Russian side continues to be ready to have such contacts at all levels, including the top level. We are interested in such contacts.” Peskov also stated that the unwillingness of the other countries to continue dialogue was “counterproductive.”
NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT
Nuclear Security Summit closes with commitment to preventing nuclear terrorism
Reuters, AP – March 25, 2014
At the end of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague, all 53 member countries signed a statement agreeing to keep looking for ways to protect nuclear material from terrorists. Thirty-five of those countries pledged to turn international guidelines on nuclear security into national laws. At a closing press conference, President Obama praised new commitments made at the summit by Japan, Italy, and Belgium to reduce their stocks of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. The Summit closed with a focus on fighting nuclear terrorism and later was overshadowed by comments about Crimea.
U.S. and Russia set aside differences to endorse nuclear security
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – March 25, 2014
World leaders called on countries on Tuesday to cut their use and stocks of highly enriched fuel to prevent terrorists from obtaining material to create atomic bombs. The U.S. and Russia set aside their differences over Crimea to endorse the meeting’s final statement aimed at enhancing nuclear security around the world, together with other big powers. But Russia, China and 16 other countries reportedly shunned a separate initiative of the U.S., the Netherlands and South Korea to incorporate U.N. nuclear agency security guidelines into national rules.
Iran Nuclear talks fail to excite Iranians
Golnar Motevalli and Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg – March 25, 2014
While negotiators for six world powers and Iran said they were hopeful a permanent nuclear accord could be reached, Iran has experienced inflation near 40 percent and imminent prospect of higher household bills. “People don’t have any money…at this time of year, you expect to see abundance on the table [due to the Persian New Year celebrations] but we’re struggling,” said Iranian local and restaurant owner Shahin Anbarani. Iranians elected President Hassan Rouhani in June after he pledged to end the nation’s economic isolation, slow price rises and create jobs. Although Rouhani has handed the central bank more autonomy and protected funds, consumers haven’t noticed. Rouhani’s optimism for a nuclear deal is largely shaped to lift the economic sanctions that have clouded over Iranian society in the past years.
North Korea warns U.S. of “Nuclear Measures”
AFP – March 24, 2014
North Korea fired a new warning on Monday that it would take “nuclear measures” if the U.S. does not end “provocations.” North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N., Ri Tong-Li said that Pyongyang was “ready” with measures that would “demonstrate the power of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent.” North Korea said it was the U.S. that was “hell-bent on provocations” through joint exercises with ally South Korea, and accused the U.S. of “human rights conspiracies” after a U.N. commission published a report about numerous violations the communist state committed (comparing it to Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity).