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Russia sends warning to IMF on Ukraine

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov warns IMF against funding Ukraine – hints at legal action if funding continues.

Alexander Mercouris

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The IMF is due to meet tomorrow Wednesday 14th September 2016 to discuss Ukraine. In advance of that meeting Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has fired a warning shot across the IMF’s bows.

Here is what Russia’s official news agency TASS reports Siluanov as having said:

“The International Monetary Fund has made changes to its policy on the provision of funds to a country, which is in arrears to an official creditor. 

The fund set the indicators for reduction of Ukraine’s debt without taking into account the interests of Russia, and our $3 billion of debt was included in the list of liabilities which are to be restructured. Until 2018, the program was made in such a way that Russia will receive no single penny of that debt from Ukraine. 

We were going to meet halfway with our neighbours and partner even amid such tensions. As the result of zero export duties Russia’s contribution to the stabilisation of the Ukrainian economy amounted to more than $1 billion, while the total international assistance to Ukraine amounted to $3.6 billion. 

Today, we will give the necessary orders to our representative in the International Monetary Fund – during the consideration of the International Monetary Fund’s loan to Ukraine we will vote against this decision, because we believe that it was made in non-compliance with the regulations.  It is possible that the fund did not have the full information on negotiations, though, it would seem strange – our negotiating position was entirely open.”

Siluanov is being disingenuous.  The IMF did change its rules last year to allow it to provide funding to countries like Ukraine which have defaulted on debts they owe to state creditors.  However as Siluanov of course knows that has no bearing on Ukraine’s existing IMF programme.

The reason the IMF has persisted with its programme for Ukraine despite Ukraine’s failure to pay the $3 billion debt it owes Russia is not because the IMF recently changed its rules. 

It is because Ukraine is disputing the debt, which is the subject of legal proceedings brought by Russia against Ukraine in London’s Commercial Court.  Since the debt is disputed the IMF has to disregard it since it cannot oblige Ukraine to pay a debt the Commercial Court might say Ukraine does not owe.

In other words what Siluanov is doing is taking the decision of the Commercial Court in January for granted, assuming in advance that it will be in Russia’s favour.  On the strength of that he is telling the IMF that it cannot proceed with its programme for Ukraine, and is saying that on the strength of that Russia’s representative on the IMF Board will now vote against it doing so.

Whilst Siluanov is obviously free to take the Commercial Court’s pending decision in January for granted, the IMF obviously cannot do so.  In light of this it has told Siluanov – quite rightly – that its position at the meeting tomorrow will not be changed in response to what he has just said.

The reality is that for many months now Ukraine has received no IMF funding.  Ukraine nonetheless continues to include IMF funding it has not received in its budget for this year. 

The extent to which this bluff can be kept going is problematic, and especially in light of the court hearing in January – which if it goes in Russia’s favour has the potential to bring IMF funding to a complete stop – someone has apparently decided that some IMF funding has to be given to Ukraine now in order to keep the budget ticking over at least until the hearing of the court case in January. 

Reports suggest the sum that is being considered and which the IMF Board is expected to authorise for disbursement to Ukraine on Wednesday is $1 billion, which is less than the $1.7 billion Ukraine was apparently hoping for.

What Siluanov is doing by making this statement is not trying to stop the disbursement being authorised on Wednesday.  As the TASS report of his comments show, the Russians know perfectly well that they cannot stop the disbursement being authorised on Wednesday, and that they know that it will be authorised on Wednesday and paid to Ukraine.  

Rather what Siluanov is doing is warning the IMF that if the Judgment in January goes in Russia’s favour then Russia will insist that Ukraine’s IMF programme be brought to a stop, with no further disbursements being authorised or made after that date.  

Ukraine would at that point be in unequivocal default on its debt to Russia, and what Siluanov is saying is that further IMF funding for Ukraine would in that case be illegal despite the IMF’s recent change of its rules, and would therefore have to stop.   

The IMF’s recent change of its rules requires a country like Ukraine in case of default to negotiate in good faith with its creditor before any further IMF funding can be provided.  Siluanov in his statement goes to considerable length to show that Ukraine has not negotiated with Russia in good faith

“We have not received an official request from the Ukrainian side to start the negotiation process, the process of debt restructuring.  All attempts to conduct any negotiations both at the ministerial level, level of consultants, in fact, were fake.

Colleagues (ie. Ukraine – AM) presented us a proposal to write off through restructuring 36% of the debt.  We did not take such proposals seriously because they could also propose writing off their whole debt to Russia and it could also be considered as a proposal.

I remind you that as a result of agreement with Ukraine commercial lenders wrote off about 18-20% of the debt by using the term of discounted value.  Ukraine has to provide the Russian side with offers surely on more favourable terms than those proposals made and agreed with commercial creditors.”

(bold italics added)

In saying that Ukraine cannot be expected to treat a state creditor like Russia less favourably than it has its private commercial creditors Siluanov is obviously right.  Indeed the IMF has already said as much, and has admitted that Ukraine has so far failed to negotiate repayment of its debt with Russia in good faith.  Given that this is so, Siluanov is also obviously right to say that – provided the Commercial Court decides the case in Russia’s favour – once Ukraine is in unequivocal default on its debt to Russia it cannot take advantage of the IMF’s recent change in its rules, and that payments by the IMF to Ukraine would at that point have to be brought to a stop.

Behind Siluanov’s warning to the IMF there is a clear threat of further legal action if IMF funding continues, with Russia looking to enforce its Judgment through the courts against any funds the IMF allocates to Ukraine after the Judgment.  This is what Siluanov is clearly hinting at when he says

“….our $3 billion of debt was included in the list of liabilities which are to be restructured. Until 2018, the program was made in such a way that Russia will receive no single penny of that debt from Ukraine”.

Siluanov has a reputation as a colourless technocrat.  That was not quite the impression I got of him when I saw him recently at SPIEF.  Though he is clearly not in the same league as Kudrin or Nabiullina – two Russian officials I saw him with – he came across to me as non-intellectual but rather tough, which is what an effective finance minister has to be.  Here we see an example of him acting tough. 

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Russia’s economy continues to outperform as gold takes center stage (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine how US and EU sanctions have continued to provide a huge boost to Russia’s economy. Russia’s food sovereignty has practically been achieved, as the Russian central bank continues to buy gold and lower its exposure to western financial markets.

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Via TASS…

Outside pressure in the form of sanctions has become an incentive to resolve various issues of Russia’s economy, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Izvestiya daily.

He noted that through introducing sanctions against Russia, “the West aims to destabilize Russia’s economy and to create social and political tensions in society.”

“But during the difficult times, Russians have always stuck together and mobilized their resources in order to ensure the country’s sovereignty. This is what is happening now – the outside pressure has become an incentive to resolve many problems in Russia’s economy,” he said.

“Before the sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to feed ourselves and that we are doomed to be dependent on Western import. However, right now, Russia’s food sovereignty in crucial sectors has practically been achieved, and in some areas, Russia has become the leading exporter,” Patrushev noted.

Those who apply the sanctions “can see that they (the sanctions – TASS) are ineffective and often achieve the opposite goal,” the Russian security chief concluded.

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US Neocon Foreign Policy and the War Waged Against Serbia

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign.

Richard Galustian

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The ‘witch-hunt’ against President Trump over Russian collusion has officially ended, following the submission of the Mueller Report, enabling us to now focus on the real problems of America that effects the whole world.

In the hope of a waining of the Russophobia in America, let’s look at the US’s recent war history by starting with the 20th anniversary this month of the NATO war on Serbia in 1999 which amounted to almost 100 days of bombing of historic cities and infrastructure.

Firstly, these problems are, in the main caused by the Neocons, or Deep State, whatever you wish to call them, and the continuing promotion, by the US Military-Security Industrial Complex, of wars and regime change and secondly, Trump’s unreserved support for Israel, regardless of war crimes they may continue to commit against the Palestinians.

Incredibly after that one sided unjust and illegal war that NATO executed, NATO has the audacity to invite Serbia to join it! Something that will never happen. What do they smoke in DC, in the Pentagon and Brussels based NATO?

To compound these overall problems, the US Military and Israeli Defence Forces collaborate on these US regime change policies on all continents evidenced most recently by the arrival of crack Israeli troops last month in Brazil, prepared to support an attack potentially by Brazil and Columbia on Venezuela.

As, has now come to be expected, America pursues its Venezuelan regime change with full main stream media (MSM) cooperation, using well proven sophisticated propaganda techniques along with a variety of pretexts.

From Serbia to Iraq to Libya, where does it end? Observe that Trump is now seeking a ‘NATO alliance’ offering NATO status, to President Bolsonaro of Brazil to back the invasion of Venezuela.

So it is important to remember, as an example, that after a long war of economic and financial destabilization ended with the bombing of Serbia.

Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, a country which had successfully evolved after 1945 to solve the old rivalries of the 19th and early 20th Century Balkan ethnic animosities which was, prior to the advent of power of President Tito, its past history.

The United Nations, instead of supporting, in effect, so called ‘humanitarian wars’ and ‘regime change wars’ by the US, using NATO, helped and relentlessly driven home by MSM outlets like CNN and FOX NEWS into people’s heads, must finally take a stand.

So too, Yugoslavia, once the envy of many in the world, given its then ‘non-aligned’ status under President Tito, was destroyed and broken up; ‘Balkanized’ in the early 1990s.

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign. That’s what we can expect in Venezuela next.

This ‘Balkanization’ strategy similarly applies to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al. It serves US Neocon interests to dismember States in the world and create smaller more ‘manageable’ countries.

‘Regime change’ runs against the intent, the very words contained in the US Constitution. No one in MSM ever reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless America’s ambition to overthrow other States continues, which they arrogantly now make no secret of. The next States will probably be Nicaragua then Iran to name but two.

A very noteworthy most recent outrageous unilateral declaration was made by President Trump, not yet formally agreed by US institutions, ‘giving’ something he has no authority to give; Syrian territory, the Golan Heights to be precise, to Israel. Something that one day could trigger a full scale Arab-Israeli War.

This is of extreme importance yet no real outcry comes from world leaders; well not so far.

The main reason for that decision given by senior US Administration figures is that “God anointed Trump to save the Jews”.

Not forgetting Trump’s need (which we the people don’t understand exactly why) to support Prime Minister Netanyahu in his difficult upcoming elections in Israel – in part because both countries failed to ‘regime change’ Syria – but more importantly to help the ‘financial terrorists’ who formed a company jointly that has already started drilling for oil in the Golan Heights. You might like to know who owns such oil drilling company which should answer a plethora of questions in one go that you must be asking yourselves.

The shareholder’s names tells us everything; Dick Cheney; Baron Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. The titular heads of neocons, bankers and media on the planet.

In ending there is no more evidence required for us, the people of the world, to rise up against the globalist dark forces wherever they exist, be it in Brussels, London, France or Washington. We must demand democratic elections or start revolutions, the latter has already begun in France in the form of ‘the yellow vests’. And Brexit, by definition, is a rejection by the British people of globalism and American Hegemony.

The pattern of US destabilization and destruction of States to loot them of their sovereign resources is the unseen history of the last 100 years, not taught in any university, anywhere in the West.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, its government was taken down by the CIA and replaced by an ultra fascist regime that has full backing from America. This is no secret. But the MSM simple don’t report it.

US led NATO is ‘the transnational war machine’ of the world, devouring almost all free countries wealth. It can extort to terrorize all into conformity to the global ‘carcinogenic’ US Neocon imperialistic strategy.

A total estimated 20m people around the world have died since the end of WW11 at the hands of US Forces. Think about that for a moment.

One of the most famous sayings attributed to America’s great President Abraham Lincoln is about deception: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

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‘Dark day for internet freedom’: EU approves controversial copyright reform

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

RT

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Via RT


The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.

Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern everything from audiovisual content to memes, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

By essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to pay artists and publishers for the reproduction of their work online, include in meme format, the EU is effectively clamping down on online memery.

The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

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