Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Putin, Obama at odds over Syria; Rwanda drawn into Congo crossfire; Merkel app gives face time

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

World leaders pressure Obama over Syria at G20 summit
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: U.S. President Barack Obama faced growing pressure from Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other world leaders on Thursday to decide against launching military strikes in Syria, which many of them fear would hurt the global economy and push up oil prices.

At a summit of the Group of 20 (G20) developed and developing economies in St. Petersburg, Putin greeted Obama with a thin smile and a businesslike handshake, a clear sign of the strains between them over how to respond to a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Obama also wore a stiff smile before talks began over dinner on the world economy and then on Syria, and there was none of the arm clutching or hugs between the two presidents that is typical of such occasions.

The rift over Syria overshadowed the discussions on how to revive growth but not before splits emerged within the group over a U.S. plan to wind down an economic stimulus program. The G20 accounts for two thirds of the world’s population and 90 percent of its output.

The first round at the summit went to Putin, as China, the European Union, the BRICS emerging economies and a letter from Pope Francis all warned of the dangers of military intervention in Syria without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.

“Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price – it will cause a hike in the oil price,” Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon later told the leaders over the dinner in a tsarist-era seafront palace that any military action must have the Security Council’s backing.

“Let us remember: every day that we lose is a day when scores of innocent civilians die,” his office quoted him as saying. “There is no military solution.”

Obama blames forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the August 21 poison gas attack in the Damascus suburbs that killed up to 1,400 people. Moscow says Obama has not proven that claim and says rebel forces may have carried it out.

In New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power left no doubt that Washington had given up trying to work with the U.N. Security Council over the attack.

She said there was “no viable path forward in this Security Council” and accused Russia of holding it hostage. Moscow has signalled it would veto any resolution on the use of force unless Washington produced stronger proof.

Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to approve military action and France has said it is ready to support U.S. intervention.

Showing he was undeterred by the criticism, Obama said before talks with Japan’s prime minister on the sidelines of the summit that using chemical arms was “not only a tragedy but also a violation of international law that must be addressed.”

Aides said he would set out his views at the leaders’ dinner and hoped to build support for military action, although they acknowledged a consensus might be hard to find.

Long after midnight, there was still no word from officials on how the dinner discussion had gone.

Putin was isolated on Syria at a Group of Eight meeting in June, the last big summit of world powers, but could now turn the tables on Obama, who recently likened him to a “bored kid in the back of the classroom” who slouches at meetings.

Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, portrayed the “camp of supporters of a strike on Syria” as divided, and said: “It is impossible to say that very many states support the idea of a military operation.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel saw no chance of agreement between Putin and Obama on Syria. U.S.-Russian ties have long been strained by political differences but went into free fall when Russia harboured Edward Snowden, a former spy agency contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence programmes.

Any G20 decision on Syria would not be binding but Putin would like to see a consensus to avert military action in what would mark a significant – but unlikely – personal triumph for the Russian leader.

Loss of Harmony

The G20 achieved unprecedented cooperation between developed and emerging nations to stave off economic collapse during the 2009 financial crisis, but the harmony has since waned.

Member states are at odds as the U.S. recovery gains pace, Europe lags, and developing economies worry about the impact of the Federal Reserve’s plans to stop a bond-buying programme that has helped kick-start the U.S. economy.

“Our main task is returning the global economy towards steady and balanced growth. This task has unfortunately not been resolved,” Putin said. “Therefore systemic risks, the conditions for an acute crisis relapse, persist.”

The BRICS agreed to commit $100 billion to a currency reserve pool that could help defend against a balance of payments crisis, although the mechanism will take time to set up.

There is likely to be an agreement on measures to fight tax evasion by multinational companies at the summit in the spectacular, 18th-century Peterhof palace complex, built on the orders of Tsar Peter the Great.

An initiative will be presented on refining regulation of the $630-trillion global market for financial derivatives to prevent a possible blow-up.

Steps to give the so-called “shadow banking” sector until 2015 to comply with new global rules will also be discussed.

Blast rattles Madagascar over election row
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A makeshift bomb exploded at the entrance of a hotel in Madagascar’s capital on Thursday causing no casualties, police said, and a previously unknown group claimed responsibility telling foreigners to keep out of the nation’s elections.

The blast, though small, will raise tensions on the Indian Ocean island before a fraught presidential vote that has been pushed back for a third time till October 25 over a row about who can run, extending the country’s political crisis.

The former French colony has been in turmoil since President Andry Rajoelina seized power with military support in 2009, ousting former President Marc Ravalomanana and scaring off investors and tourists.

Both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana had reached a deal with regional states to restore order, based on the condition neither would run in the next vote.

But Rajoelina initially changed tack when Ravalomanana’s wife said she was running. The European Union, the United States and the African Union (AU) threatened to impose sanctions if the old candidates persisted in standing for office.

Germain Ratsirombahina, police chief in the capital Antananarivo, said the device went off outside the Hotel Plaza overnight, causing no injuries or damage.

In an email sent to at least one Western embassy, a previously unheard of group calling itself Defenders of the Nation’s Sovereignty said it was behind the blast.

“The Malagasy people will never accept the political manoeuvrings of certain nations aimed at suppressing (Malagasy) rights and freedom to chose their destiny,” it said.

It also said the nation would not accept a court ruling last month that barred Rajoelina, Ravalomanana’s wife and another former president, from running in the election, saying it did “not reflect the popular will”.

A Western d

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand7 mins ago

Woman falls off building on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Tourism2 hours ago

Refinements to the Sandbox as the countdown continues to Thailand’s reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 3,682 new infections and 20 covid-related deaths

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Dole pineapple factory has 34 new Covid-19 cases, 413 total

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Chinese Sinovac vaccine debuts in Singapore to high demand

Drugs16 hours ago

Drug smuggler caught in Kalasin with 300 kg of marijuana

Politics17 hours ago

Amendment to reform Constitution rejected by Parliament

Medical18 hours ago

Gender Health Clinic opens in Bangkok for transgender needs

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

30 million baht added to vaccine side effects compensation fund

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Plan for 16-week gap between AstraZeneca vaccines dropped

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

CCSA: 120 day reopening will proceed with conditions

Tourism24 hours ago

Sandbox latest, CCSA says all regions reopening must reach 70% local vaccination

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,667 new infections and 32 deaths

Politics1 day ago

Thamanat elected to role of head ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat party

Expats2 days ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending