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Putin breaks the ice with Bolton, “Has the eagle eaten all the olives?” (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 141.

Alex Christoforou

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US national security adviser John Bolton was in Moscow meeting with Russian officials and President Vladimir Putin, for what was sure to be a very comprehensive and contentious couple of days, but in a sign of a possible thaw, in what has become a second cold war, Putin and Bolton traded some good spirited jokes with one another.

Putin commented to Bolton in a meeting on Tuesday…

“As far as I remember, the US coat of arms features a bald eagle that holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in another, which is a symbol of a peace-loving policy.”

“I have a question,” the Russian president continued, “Looks like your eagle has already eaten all the olives; are the arrows all that is left?”

US national security adviser John Bolton, who many reporters signal as the driving force in pushing US President Trump to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, replied…

But I didn’t bring any more olives.

“That’s what I thought,” Putin replied…all in good fun, and a good moment between adversaries who may finally be searching for ways to scale back the tense rhetoric that has defined US-Russia relations over the last decade.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss John Bolton’s trip to Moscow, where despite rocky relations, a Mueller witch-hunt investigation, and a proxy war in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US national security adviser John Bolton joked around a bit, ever so slightly, moving step-by-step towards rapprochement, with a Trump-Putin meeting in Paris.

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Via RT

The Russian president said it would be “very useful” to continue direct talks with Trump, perhaps on the sidelines of an international event such as next month’s anniversary of the WWI armistice in Paris, “if the American side is interested in such contacts, of course.

Trump is “looking forward” to seeing Putin in Paris, Bolton confirmed.

Bolton described his meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu as “very interesting” and “very productive,”without going into details.

The talks presumably touched on the INF Treaty, which Washington has accused Russia of violating. Moscow says the US withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty and stationing of missile defense systems in Poland and Romania, capable of launching INF-prohibited warheads, constitute a violation.

“Technology has changed, strategic reality has changed, and we both have to deal with it,” Bolton told the BBC, describing his talks with Shoigu about the INF.

The Kremlin’s official statement on the meeting with Assistant to the US President for National Security Affairs John Bolton…

Vladimir Putin received in the Kremlin Assistant to the President of the United States of America for National Security Affairs John Bolton.

Taking part in the meeting from the Russian side were Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Earlier today, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met with John Bolton. On October 22, Nikolai Patrushev and Sergei Lavrov also had talks with the Assistant to the US President.

* * *

Beginning of conversation with Assistant to the US President for National Security Affairs John Bolton

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bolton, colleagues,

We are pleased to see you in Moscow.

At the beginning of our conversation I would like to recall our meeting with the President of the United States in Helsinki. In my view, it was a useful, and at times fairly tough, meeting and conversation which ultimately turned out to be fruitful, in my opinion.

This is why, to be honest, we are sometimes perplexed to see the United States take absolutely unprovoked steps towards Russia that we cannot call friendly. We actually do not even respond to your steps, yet this approach continues.

Despite your efforts trade between our countries – however strange it might seem – continues to grow, 16 percent last year; this year it has already grown by 8 percent. This is small in absolute numbers, very small, of course, however, this is the trend. With a positive balance for the United States, by the way. Mutual investments are also growing with Russian investments in the US economy at twice the US investments in the Russian economy.

It will, of course, be very useful to exchange views on the issues of strategic stability, disarmament issues, and regional conflicts.

We know – and talk a lot – about the unilateral exit of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. We recently heard about the United States’ intention to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We know about the Administration’s doubts about prolonging New START and hear about the intention to deploy some elements of the anti-missile defence system in space.

As I recall, there is a bald eagle pictured on the US coat of arms: it holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other as a symbol of peaceful policy: a branch with 13 olives. My question: has your eagle already eaten all the olives leaving only the arrows?

In general, I would like very much to talk with you not only as the Assistant to the US President, but also as a specialist on disarmament and arms control.

And, of course, it would be useful to continue a direct dialogue with the US President, first of all, on the sidelines of the international events that will take place soon, such as the one in Paris. Of course, if the US is interested in such contacts.

Assistant to the President of the United States of America for National Security Affairs John Bolton: Well, thank you very much, Mr President. It is a pleasure to see you again. I appreciate you taking the time to get together and will be pleased to go over all the items on the agenda.

And to begin, as you indicated I think President Trump will look forward to seeing you in Paris, on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Because despite our differences, which exist because of our different national interests, it is still important to work in areas where there is a possibility of mutual cooperation.

And I had discussions with all of your senior national security advisors in the past two days, and again, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you on behalf of President Trump. And hopefully, I’ll have some answers for you, but I didn’t bring any olives.

Vladimir Putin: My thoughts exactly.

(Laughter.)

John Bolton: The olive branch is held in the right talon of the eagle, demonstrating its priority.

Vladimir Putin: If I remember correctly, there is also an inscription: In Varietate Concordia, United in Diversity. This is why, despite different approaches, we can and should look for points of contact.

John Bolton: That’s very much our intention, though our motto is “E pluribus unum,” “Out of many, one,” so maybe it is something to look forward to there.

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gra gorPeonyam hantsPrometheusKlink Recent comment authors
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A.F.
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A.F.

Ukraine is rapidly approaching the membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.
“Speaking about Ukraine, it advances rapidly in meeting the criteria for NATO membership and increasing the country’s defensive capacity. Ukraine’s military power is strengthening. Several more reforms need to be carried out, namely strengthening civilian control over the army,” Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the Warsaw Security Forum 2018 on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

According to him, Ukraine had to receive the status of a NATO aspirant country.

“It’s not a membership yet, but it’s a clear signal for Russia,” Rasmussen noted

Prometheus
Guest
Prometheus

Rasmussen remains a mouth piece for NATO? Warsaw would have lapped it up, however other NATO countries may not be so keen to have Ukraine on board. The US are naturally pushing for it. Bolton stated: “…our motto is “E pluribus unum,” “Out of many, one,” … Which is interesting considering how similar the encirclement of Russia is to Spykman’s Rimland map. In 1942, Nichols Spykman created a theory which countered Mackinder’s Heartland theory. Spykman stated that Eurasia’s Rimland, the coastal areas, is the key to controlling the World Island. Explanation – The Rimland contains the Heartland. … I interpret… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

In 1997 the reason Ukraine could not become a member of Nato, as they have never ratified their borders, with Russia, since the fall of the Soviet Union, back in 1991. Ban Ki Moon confirmed that, during an interview, with a news programme, on an UK Government funded TV channel. ‘Ukraine and Russia, in accordance with international law, have not ratified their borders’ – Ban Ki Moon. Nothing has changed, just the stupidity of the leaders, Nato included. The borders are only recognised whilst Ukraine is part of the CIS, which they aim to leave.

Klink
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Klink

The US continues to pummel friends and foes alike in their quest to regain their former position of Top Dog.
A dead horse has never won a race……..

Peony
Guest
Peony

Putin is a smart man, and well educated in world history. During the cold war, he studied the US closely. To confuse the EU motto with the USA motto was a stylized dig, The EU formed as a collective shortly after WWII to protect Europe from Communist threat and adopted the motto Variatae Concordia (United in Diversity) in 2002 while the US adopted E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one) shortly after the Independence of 1776. Putin was acknowledging the chronic problem of illegal immigration and attempts at sowing division in the US, currently highlighted with the 10k strong train… Read more »

gra gor
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gra gor

Crazy eh? Diplomatic ping-pong.

Latest

BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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