Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for the ‘European Union’ Category

Monday Morning Tea: EU’s Presidential Race, China-India Ladakh Tensions, Pakistan’s New Army Chief, and the Value of the UN

Posted by K.E. White on January 28, 2008

While relations between China and India seem warm, concerns of a Chinese land grab in Ladakh are making headlines

Interested in the US presidential race? Check out Chinese news coverage on the turbulent nomination races. (Added bonus: the Chinese Polar Robot and China’s new policy towards soldiers involved in nuclear tests

With Pakistan’s upcoming elections coming right on the heels of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, many wonder what role the military will play. Latest development: Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani “has recently directed army personnel to keep away from politics and said that army’s role in the coming elections would be restricted to maintaining the law and order.” 

David Pollock and Michael Jacobson on how the UN plays a vital role in America’s counter-terrorism efforts:

 

The promising early signs from Kuwait illustrate the important counterterrorism role the UN can play. Like many other countries in the region, Kuwait occasionally needs a UN imprimatur to take potentially troublesome steps requested by Washington, even when they serve common interests. This is true not only in the counterterrorism arena, but also with regard to Iran: although the emir has just traveled to Tehran and proclaimed it a “friend,” his government carefully adheres to UN sanctions against Iran‘s nuclear program. 

Unfortunately, the UN’s counterterrorism role has been in sharp decline, with designations steadily dropping in recent years. In fact, 2007 saw only eight designations related to al-Qaeda and the Taliban — the lowest annual total since 2000. Given the limits of what the United States can accomplish on its own against al-Qaeda in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region, pushing to reinvigorate the UN’s role should be a priority.

Tony Blair might just become President after all—of the European Union. The European alliance will be electing its first time President in twelve months.

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Posted in European Union, Kayani, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

‘These Boots Were Made For Walking…’ ElBaradei Walks Out During EU Speech During IAEA Meeting

Posted by K.E. White on September 11, 2007

IAEA head ElBaradei acted anything but diplomatic during an EU speech at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting today. After hearing an EU speech that seemed to undermine his new plan for resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis, he walked out.  The IAEA Board of Governors reviews the nuclear watch dog’s performance. The group, comprised of representatives of thirty-five member, meets five times a year to make recommendations chief operating body: the General Conference.

This rare expression of disapproval highlights the continuing tensions between IAEA member-nations in how to deal with Iran. While the United States and Europe (as represented by the EU) are pushing for continued sanctions on Iran if this new deal isn’t acted out immediately. But other IAEA members, particularly Cuba, want more of a carrot approach: insisting that if Iran abides the agreement, current sanctions will be lifted. 

Below is a section from an AFP press clip. The report views the incident as evidence of an acrimonious split between Western countries wanting heavier pressure on Iran, and members of the Nonaligned Powers wanting a peaceful, and less hard-line response to Iran:

UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei walked out on an afternoon session Tuesday of his IAEA to protest an EU speech which did not fully support his deal for new inspections in Iran, diplomats told AFP.

“He walked out because the EU did not support the Secretariat,” a diplomat who was at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors said.

The timetable, in a report ElBaradei submitted to the board on Monday, is to resolve outstanding questions in the agency’s over four-year-old investigation of Iran on US charges that Tehran is using a civilian energy program to hide the development of nuclear weapons.

The speech focused on Iran’s lack of cooperation, including its refusal to provide early design information on new nuclear facilities, and called repeatedly on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

After walking out, ElBaradei stayed away until the session was adjourned at its regular time until Wednesday. The Portuguese speech was followed by speeches from Canada and Norway.

This International News Herald report gives more insight into this high-level diplomatic feuding. It shows, in detail, the two takes on Iran at the IAEA:

The statement said the EU has “taken note” of those efforts — the most noncommittal of diplomatic terms that falls substantially short of approval. A diplomat who spoke to the AP on condition anonymity because she was not authorized to divulge proceedings at the closed meeting, said ElBaradei subsequently left the conference, apparently to show his disapproval of the EU’s lukewarm approach.

In contrast, a nonaligned statement delivered by the Cuban ambassador cited the pact under which Iran is cooperating with the IAEA as saying Iran will be treated “in a routine manner” if it holds to the agreement and fully answers all questions posed by the agency.

That would mean an end both to U.N. sanctions and the threat of new ones for Iran’s refusal to end uranium enrichment — a position strongly opposed by the United States and most other Western countries.

The International News Herald goes on to show how this fight over diplomatic interpretation went in a pro-US direction, provoking the ire of Nonaligned IAEA member-nations.  

Nonaligned nations on Tuesday rejected “interference” in attempts to close the file on Iran’s past nuclear activities — an allusion to U.S. concerns about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s newest Tehran probe. But Europe sided with Washington.

Norma Miguelina Goicochea Estenoz of Cuba also expressed support for the work of the agency and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, in her separate capacity as head of the agency’s nonaligned board members.

Her statements outside the agency’s 35-nation board meeting reflected the main dispute at the gathering: whether a pact committing Iran to cooperate with an agency probe of past nuclear activities will blunt attempts to pressure Tehran to scrap uranium enrichment — technology that could be used to make a bomb.

Washington and its allies fear too much emphasis on the pact and its successes could weaken efforts to impose new U.N. Security Council sanctions should Tehran continue defying the council and expand uranium enrichment. They also feel the text of the pact is flawed, imposing limitations on what the agency can look into and giving Tehran wiggle room to back out if those conditions are not met.

But Cuba and the majority of the other nonaligned nations, which make up about a third of the board, insist the pact, agreed to last month, represents a potential breakthrough in more than four years of diplomatic maneuvering meant to reduce any nuclear threat from Iran.

Posted in Cuba, Diplomacy, ElBaradei, EU, European Union, General Conference, IAEA, IAEA Board of Governors, Iran, Nuclear | Leave a Comment »

Wednesday News-Round Up: European Union

Posted by K.E. White on May 30, 2007


“During the interaction on the sidelines of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Mukherjee is understood to have emphasised the need for resolving the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue, avoiding use of force.”

“EUPOL Afghanistan will comprise 160-170 men by the end of 2007. They will be deployed among the NATO-led provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) across the country, including in the southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces.”

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposes Turkey’s EU membership, has floated the idea of a “Mediterranean Union” but said recently the proposal was not meant as a consolation prize for Turkey if the Muslim nation should lose its bid to join the EU.

Turkish media have dubbed the proposal “Club Med” after the vacation resorts.”

· EU-Pakistan Talks

“Pakistan has demanded duty-free access to European Union (EU) markets for goods produced in the tribal areas of the country.

‘The EU should provide duty free access to the goods manufactured in the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) being established in the tribal areas by the US,” Pakistan suggested to the EU delegation on May 24, the last day of the two-day Joint Commission meeting in Islamabad.’”

· Spain & Netherlands to Resuscitate EU Constitution?

· EU Cooperate to Combat E-Terrorism and Kidnapping

Posted in Afghanistan, EU Constitution, European Union, Netherlands, Spain, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

A Question of Fairness? EU Rejects Balkans Nuclear Power Request

Posted by K.E. White on March 14, 2007

The EU has signaled that it will not allow Bulgaria to restart two old nuclear power plants. Bulgaria, who had agreed to shut down the plants as part of their EU accession, asked for the change citing an 80-100 percent increase in their power costs.

While good news for those looking to curb the proliferation of dangerous nuclear power generation (which is a stone’s throw from weapons production), is the ruling fair?

From the BBC:

The European Commission told BBC News that it had not yet considered the Balkan proposal, but Ferran Tarradellas, spokesman for the EU energy commissioner, said that conditions had not changed.

“Bulgaria has undertaken a commitment to close units three and four in Kozloduy as part of the accession treaty,” Mr Tarradellas said.

He added that the EU had already provided hundreds of millions of euros in assistance to Bulgaria to soften the blow of the closure.

The chief European Commission representative in Bulgaria, Michael Humphreys, acknowledged that Bulgaria’s decision to close the two Soviet-built reactors had been difficult.

But he told BBC News that “any request to change that decision would be unacceptable, because it would entail a renegotiation of the accession treaty, a unanimous consent of the 27 member state governments and ratification by 27 parliaments”.

SofiaEcho.com expresses an alternative view:

Economy and Energy Minister Roumen Ovcharov said that the only reasons for the NPP units closure were bureaucratic. By demanding the closure EU was acting against its own policy for safety of energy supplies, guarantee of European economy competitiveness and fight against climate changes, Ovcharov said.

Bulgaria was the fourth largest European energy exporter in 2006 and covered almost 100 per cent of the energy deficit in the Balkan region. Now it can guarantee only its domestic energy needs and export no more than 10 to 15 per cent, Ovcharov said.

Dwindling energy supplies–or that perception–is pushing countries of all stripes to take another look at the nuclear option. And now is even upseting (however minorly) EU expansion

Just a simple example of how geo-energy politics can be hard to resolve, let alone within multinational organizations.

Posted in Bulgaria, energy politics, European Union, Ferran Tarradellas, Nuclear | Leave a Comment »