Iran proud of military assistance to Gaza,says Larijani


TEHRAN (ST)- Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has said that Iran takes pride in providing military assistance to the people of Gaza. 

Larijani made the remarks in an address to MPs during a symbolic demonstration on the campus of the parliament’s building held to express solidarity with the Palestinians, who are under attack from Israel.  

Iran is proud of defending the Palestinian people and will continue to help Palestine at difficult times, Larijani said, adding, “We are proud that our assistance was material and military in nature.” 

Addressing the Arab countries that are worried about the situation that the Palestinians are experiencing, the Iranian Majlis speaker stated, “The Palestinian people do not need speeches and meetings, rather they are in need of a serious support.” 

“If countries want to be proud, they should provide military assistance to the Palestinian people,” he added. 

Iran is ready to stand by the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Zionist regime, Larijani stated.  

He also noted that Israel’s decision to attack Gaza was a strategic mistake. 



G8 Summit to Be Held in Northern Ireland

The Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Group of Eight (G8) will be held next year in Northern Ireland, confirmed the British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to Prensa Latina.

After his arrival in the territory of Northern Ireland on Tuesday, Cameron announced that the meeting will take place on June 17 and 18 at the resort Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

The leader held a meeting on Tuesday with officials from the Northern Ireland Executive, including the Prime Minister, Peter Robinson, and Deputy Chief of Government, Martin McGuinness, at Stormont Castle in Belfast.

The G8 meeting in 2012 took place in Camp David, in the U.S. state of Maryland, occasion in which more than two thousand people marched in downtown Chicago against the policies of the group and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


Greece's lenders fail again to clinch debt deal

International lenders failed for the second week to reach a deal to release emergency aid for Greece and will try again next Monday, but Germany signaled that major divisions remain, according to Reuters.

Euro zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank were unable to agree in 12 hours of overnight talks in Brussels on how to make the country's debt sustainable. They want a solution before paying the next urgently needed loan tranche to keep Greece afloat.

Several European officials played down the delay, saying the disagreements were technical and a deal would be reached when they meet again on November 26.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers at a closed-door meeting in Berlin that the lenders were split over several key issues including how to define debt sustainability and fill a hole in Greek finances.

 "He sees the extension of the debt sustainability goal as one of the main bones of contention. The other is how to cover the Greek financing gap of 14 billion euros through 2014," said one lawmaker who attended Wednesday's meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats in parliament.

Merkel herself told the lawmakers the gap could be plugged by lowering interest rates on loans to Greece and increasing guarantees provided to the euro zone's temporary EFSF bailout fund, in which Germany would take its share, a participant said.

Greece needs the next 31 billion euro aid tranche to keep servicing its debt and avoid bankruptcy. Its next major repayment is in mid-December.

Athens says it has carried out the tough reforms required in the bailout program but needs more time to reach fiscal targets agreed with its lenders because its economy has continued to shrink.

European governments want to give Greece an extra two years, until 2022, to cut its debt to a sustainable level but the IMF does not agree. The Europeans, led by Germany, are refusing to write off any loans. Both options would make it easier for Greece to meet the targets in the bailout program.

"Greece did what it had committed it would do. Our partners, together with the IMF, also have to do what they have taken on to do," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a statement.

"Any technical difficulties in finding a technical solution do not justify any negligence or delays."

Samaras will meet Juncker in Brussels on Thursday and has cancelled a trip to Qatar next week to monitor the talks, a government spokesman said.

Germany and other EU states say writing down their loans would be illegal. The European Central Bank, a major holder of Greek bonds, has refused to take a "haircut" on its holdings.

Berlin contends a debt haircut would not tackle the roots of Greece's debt problems and would be unfair to other euro zone countries that have taken tough steps to improve their finances.

"It would cost money, it would be a fatal signal to Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain, as they would immediately ask why they should accept difficult conditions and push through difficult measures...and it would have consequences under budget law," Norbert Barthle, budget spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats said.

Without corrective measures, the Eurogroup document said, Greek debt would be 144 percent in 2020 and 133 percent in 2022.

Juncker said after a meeting a week ago that he wanted to extend the target date to reduce Greek debt by two years to 2022, but Lagarde insists the 2020 goal should stand. She is believed to favor euro zone member states taking a write down.




Two killed in suicide bomb attack near Kabul NATO base

 A suicide bomber killed two Afghan guards outside a NATO-run compound in the main diplomatic area of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, Interior Ministry officials said, an attack that was quickly claimed by the Taliban, according to Reuters.

 "The bomber killed himself in front of the compound. Two people were killed and two more were wounded, all Afghan guards," said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh.

 A second man wearing an explosives-laden vest also approached the front of the compound but was shot dead by Afghan security forces, a statement from the Kabul police chief said. It said five civilians were also wounded.

 The bomber struck near the sprawling base known as Camp Eggers, the headquarters of the NATO training mission and home to some 2,500 trainers from the multinational coalition.

Dozens of police swarmed to the area, where shattered glass from cars lay on the ground, and cordoned it off.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, which happened at 8.20 a.m. (0350 GMT) local time, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Violence is intensifying across Afghanistan ahead of the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of 2014, sparking concerns over how the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces will be able to manage.

At least a dozen embassies, including the U.S. and British missions, and the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are all near the area of the attack.


Russia demands UN Security Council Action on Gaza

United Nations- Russia has demanded to upgrade diplomatic efforts in face of the worsening of the situation in Gaza and criticized actions delaying the approval of a UN Security Council statement on the issue, according to Prensa Latina.

We deplore that a draft press communiqué presented by Morocco in the name of the Arab League, is still stuck in negotiations and consultations, said the Russian Permanent Representative before the UN, Vitali Churkin.

In statements to correspondents in the UN headquarters and without mentioning countries, the Moscow ambassador criticized the members of the Security Council that introduce amendments and try to prevent the adoption of a communiqué.

In that regard, Churkin pointed the need for a strong statement from the UN Security Council in order to cease the violence or as a support to efforts now in motion.

The Russian representative announced the possible introduction by his country of a draft resolution claiming and immediate cease of the violence and the establishment of a cease fire, while supporting the actions for a political and peaceful settlement.

Churkin reiterated the proposal of his government to convoke an urgent ministerial meeting of the so-called Quartet for the Middle East, made up by the United States,. Russia, the UN and the European Union.

That mechanism has to carry out its role to prevent a worsening of the already extremely dangerous situation in Gaza.

Cuba Denounces Persistence of US Blockade at WTO




GENEVA - Cuba has denounced before the World Trade Organization that the United States insists on maintaining the blockade, despite the repeated claims of the international community to lift it,according to Prensa Latina.

In his speech before the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO, adviser of the Cuban mission to international bodies based in Geneva, Nancy Madrigal, recalled that on Nov. 13, 188 countries voted in the United Nations for the end of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.

This was the 21st consecutive occasion that the UN General Assembly declares itself against the blockade. However, the United States continues ignoring the just claim of the international community, said Madrigal.

She also denounced that since year 2002, Washington has maintained in force "Section 211 Omnibus Appropriation Act of 1998," despite the DSB ruled that it fails to be in line with the Agreement on Copyright-related Aspects regarding Trade and the Paris Convention.

"This situation harms the effectiveness of the dispute settlement system, promotes distrust and new lack of compliance and even undermines the credibility of the Multilateral Trade System," she said.

Madrigal said her country will not stop denouncing before the WTO these US violations and will continue evaluating the evolution of this issue in order to take relevant actions.

Cuba got strong support from a group of countries, including Angola, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, according to a report from the Cuban mission to Geneva.





Cuba supports Syria,says Cuban FM

HAVANA(ST)-Cuba reiterated its solidarity with Syria against foreign interventions in her internal affaires.

"the Cuban leadership is fully recognized the ongoing events in Syria ,looking forward to solve the crisis in Syria based on the benefits of the Syrian people and respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence," affirmed Cuba Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues.

Rodrigues' remarks came during a meeting held in Havana with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaires and Expatriates Faisal al-Miqdad.

Rodrigues pointed out to the Syrian peoples' struggle against misleading media campaigns stressing that his country will spare no effort to back the Syrian people .

For his part,al-Miqdad highly praised Syrian-Cuban relations calling on bolstering these ties in all fields.

"the ongoing crisis in Syria is definitely a result of foreign intervention and of unlimited support the armed terrorist groups received by some neighborhood states,EU and the USA,"said al-Miqdad.

"the Syrian leadership is keen to solve the crisis in Syria through the national dialogue and realizing the Syrian peoples' aspirations.




Asia-Pacific to Launch Talks on Giant Free Trade Zone

Southeast Asian nations will launch talks this week for a giant free trade pact with China, Japan, India and other neighbors aimed at easing the region's reliance on the struggling West, according to AFP.

The planned zone would span across 16 countries of the Asia-Pacific that currently account for a third of global trade and economic output, making it the biggest free trade area outside the World Trade Organization.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, described the initiative as strategically very important to the Asia-Pacific as it would help offset weaknesses in the United States and the European Union.

"Fast growth in trade within the Asia Pacific region could significantly mitigate the weak growth prospects in Asia's traditional growth markets in the EU and US," he told AFP.

"The (pact) could provide the framework for accelerating regional trade and investment flows, reducing the dependence of East Asia on the traditional EU and US export markets and boosting trade amongst Asian developing countries."

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will launch the start of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on Tuesday in Phnom Penh on the final day of a regional summit.

The RCEP would bring together the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said a successful RCEP would further cement a shift in global economic power from the West towards Asia.

"The trend is already here. It's how to consolidate. This one is going to be a big leap forward if we can make it," he told AFP in an interview on Sunday on the sidelines of an ASEAN leaders' summit.

Diplomats and analysts said the RCEP could also serve as a "counterbalance" to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), another planned free-trade grouping currently being negotiated by the United States and 10 other countries.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, said it was only interested at this point in the China-dominated pact.

 "We're only going to be focused on the RCEP," Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan told reporters in Phnom Penh.