End of the Age News
By Jim Stigleman
Mideast Peace Equals ‘Unprecedented’ EU Support
In Brussels on Monday, a meeting of foreign ministers for the European Union promised “unprecedented” support for Israel and the Palestinians if negotiations result in a final peace agreement. Should a deal be reached, EU ministers have stated that they will give substantial political, financial and security backing to Israel and the future Palestinian state. Although final figures were not discussed, the minister’s goal was to bring a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This “special privileged partnership” would grant Israelis and Palestinians greater connections to European trade, markets and investments. It would also increase business, cultural and scientific affiliations between the countries. An increase in political correspondence and security measures is also likely.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have reached the half-way point with no hint of a breakthrough. United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, would like, if possible, to have a plan in place that would lay the groundwork to reach a final deal by the May 2014 deadline. The U.S. has submitted a bridging proposal which neither side has accepted nor rejected.- though the Palestinians do have serious doubts concerning its success.
Monday’s proposal by the European Union is a jester of good faith that should keep both sides at the negotiating table.
U.S. Offers South East Aisa $32.5 Million For Meritime Security
John Kerry made his first visit to Vietnam as United States’ Secretary of State, calling for a resolution to the “East China Sea Crisis” between China and Japan by implementing “intensified negotiations and diplomatic initiatives.” On Monday, the U.S. proposed to give South East Asian nations $32.5 million dollars in aid to help bolster maritime security, denying that the offer had anything to do with China.
18 of the $32.5 million dollars would go to Vietnam to, among other things, help her “beef-up” costal patrols and help her coastguard to respond more quickly to search and rescue missions. Vietnam would also be able to purchase five patrol boats for her coastguard in 2014.
Kerry stated that this proposal “…is part of a gradual and deliberate expansion that has been planned for some period of time that we have been working on.” He further said, “This is really an ongoing policy and not some kind of quickly-conceived reaction.”
China has laid claim to the South China Sea and its oil- and gas- rich resources. That’s where the tensions begin, because other South East Asian countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of the East China Sea. While the United States claims to be neutral in the dispute, it is striving to safeguard peace in the region and keep shipping lanes open.
U.N. Requests $6.5 Billion In Relief Aid For Syria
United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, told donor countries in Geneva that the U.N. is requesting $6.5 billion to help Syria take care of 16 million people affected by its 33 month-old conflict. This is half of the U.N.’s emergency relief budget for 2014. Monies collected will buy much needed food and drinking water, and supply shelter, education and health services.
The war-ravaged country has had most of its water network destroyed, fuel resources depleted and its economic structure has fallen off by 80%. “There are parts of the country where for 22 to 23 hours a day people aren’t getting electricity…”, Amos said. She stopped short of saying there would be a Peace Treaty when President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its opposition meet on January 22nd in Switzerland.