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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - June 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 29, 2021

Iran Blames US for Pause in Nuclear Talks

  • Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday declared Tehran would not accept Washington's "stubborn" demands in talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and said the United States had failed to guarantee that it would never abandon the pact again.
  • They once violated the nuclear deal at no cost by exiting it. Now, they explicitly say they cannot give guarantees that it would not happen again." Since April 9, Tehran and six world powers have been in talks to revive the nuclear pact ditched three years ago by then US President Donald Trump, who argued it favoured Iran. The sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington adjourned on June 20.

Jul 28, 2021

Veena Reddy Sworn in as First Indian-American Mission Director of USAID

  • Indian-American Veena Reddy has been sworn in as the new mission director for US Agency for International Development (USAID). Reddy is the first Indian-American to be elected to this position.
  • Veena Reddy, a foreign service officer with the US Agency for International Development, is USAID/Cambodia's Mission Director. According to USAID, Reddy arrived in Cambodia in August 2017 and currently oversees a staff of 75 as well as USAID programs in the food security, environment, health, education, child protection, and democracy and governance sectors.
  • Veena Reddy has served as the deputy mission director in Haiti, where she oversaw post-earthquake reconstruction efforts, elections support, economic growth, food security interventions, hurricane response, and the development of a new strategy.
  • Prior to this posting, Veen Reddy served in Washington as an assistant general counsel, covering legal matters for USAID's programs in Asia, Middle East, and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

North, South Korea Agree to Restore Severed Communication Links

  • North and South Korea restored their cross-border communication lines that had been severed for over a year.
  • This comes 13 months after North Korea cut off all communication lines with South Korea in protest over Seoul`s supposed failure to stop activists from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the communist nation.
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged personal letters several times since April to communicate about issues on the restored inter-Korean relations.

Jul 27, 2021

Yusuffali is Abu Dhabi CCI's Vice-chairman

  • Lulu Group chairman, M. A. Yusuff Ali has been appointed as the vice-chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI). Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & Dy. Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces issued a resolution to form a new Board of Directors for Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI).
  • HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had honoured Yusuffali with the 'Abu Dhabi Award 2021', the highest civilian honour for his almost 5-decade long contributions in the fields of economic development & philanthropy.
  • ADCCI is the apex Govt. body of all business established in Abu Dhabi and functions as an effective bridge between the Govt. and business sector. Each of the business establishments in Abu Dhabi, one of the wealthiest and most influential economic hubs in the region, has to be licensed by ADCCI. Yusuffali is the only Indian in the 29-member board, which is primarily constituted of Emirati business owners and CEOs.

China Goes on Offensive against US during Talks

  • Striking an aggressive stance at the face-to-face talks with the US, China on Monday for the first time handed down to Washington a list of demands and remedial actions to be taken by the Biden administration to end the stalemate in bilateral ties.
  • Talks between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to improve the relations got off on a rough note at the northeastern Chinese port city of Tianjin, with Xie launching a blistering attack on Washington, accusing it of being the "owner of coercive diplomacy".
  • Sherman, the No. 2 diplomat of the US, is the highest-ranking American official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office six months ago.

Imran's Party Wins PoK Poll

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is set to form the next government in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as it emerged as the largest political party in the legislative assembly elections in the region which was marred by allegations of irregularities and violence.
  • The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party won 23 seats, Pakistan Peoples Party was second with 8 seats and the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured just 6 seats.

US Combat Forces to Leave Iraq by End of Year

  • President Joe Biden says US forces will end their combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year, but will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military.
  • The announcement came after Mr. Biden held talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House.
  • There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping local forces counter what remains of the Islamic State group.
  • Numbers of US troops are likely to stay the same but the move is being seen as an attempt to help the Iraqi PM.
  • The US presence in Iraq has become a major issue since top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the leader of an Iran-backed Shia Muslim militia were killed in a US drone strike in the capital Baghdad last year.

Jul 26, 2021

Tunisian President Kais Saied Sacks Prime Minister

  • Tunisia's President dismissed the Prime Minister and freezed parliament in a major escalation of political feuding in the democratic country following protests in several cities.
  • President Kais Saied would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new Prime Minister, prompting the biggest challenge yet to a 2014 Constitution that split powers between President, Prime Minister and Parliament.
  • Mr. Saied and the parliament were both elected in separate popular votes in 2019, while Mechichi took office last summer, replacing another short-lived government.

China Imposes Sanctions on US Officials under Anti-foreign Law

  • China imposed sanctions on seven US individuals and entity, under Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, in response to the US penalties imposed on the Hong Kong officials over crackdown of democracy in the semi-autonomous region.
  • This action comes in response to the US' recent warning to companies about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong. Last week, the United States had imposed Hong Kong-related sanctions on seven individuals and warned companies of the risks of doing business in the territory.
  • The list of seven US individuals and entity include former US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Louis Ross; Chairman of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) Carolyn Bartholomew; former Staff Director of Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Jonathan Stivers; DoYun Kim at National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; senior program manager of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Adam Joseph King; China Director at Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, and Hong Kong Democratic Council.

Jul 25, 2021

El Salvador Orders Arrest of Ex-President Sanchez Ceren

  • El Salvador has ordered the arrest of former president Salvador Sanchez Ceren and nine top officials from a past administration as part of a money laundering and corruption probe.
  • The office said Sanchez Ceren was out of the country, but five former high-ranking members of former President Mauricio Funes's government from 2009 to 2014 have been detained. Sanchez Ceren was vice president at the time, before becoming President in the following term. His successor, President Nayib Bukele, has drawn rebukes for a string of controversial moves, including removing the attorney general and closing an anti-corruption office.
  • The Attorney General's office said that Sanchez Ceren and the other officials – including former heads of the health, finance, labor, agriculture and environment ministries – are wanted on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after they were transferred unauthorized funds.

El Salvador Orders Arrest of Ex-President Sanchez Ceren

  • El Salvador has ordered the arrest of former president Salvador Sanchez Ceren and nine top officials from a past administration as part of a money laundering and corruption probe.
  • The office said Sanchez Ceren was out of the country, but five former high-ranking members of former President Mauricio Funes's government from 2009 to 2014 have been detained. Sanchez Ceren was vice president at the time, before becoming President in the following term. His successor, President Nayib Bukele, has drawn rebukes for a string of controversial moves, including removing the attorney general and closing an anti-corruption office.
  • The Attorney General's office said that Sanchez Ceren and the other officials – including former heads of the health, finance, labor, agriculture and environment ministries – are wanted on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after they were transferred unauthorized funds.

Kenneth Juster Named Advisor to Global Board of US India Business Council

  • Kenneth Juster, America's former Ambassador to India, has been named as an advisor to the Global Board of the US India Business Council (USIBC).
  • USIBC also announced the addition of Kamal Ahluwalia, president Eightfold AI; Guru Bandekar, Chief Procurement Officer, Global Strategic Sourcing Stanley Black & Decker and Raghu Raghuram, CEO VMware, to its Global Board of Directors, further solidifying the Council's leadership in key sectors.
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