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Ukraine’s Bid To Join NATO Is Premature – Joe Biden

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

President Joe Biden said this week that Ukraine is not yet ready to join NATO, calling the prospect of its membership in the international alliance “premature” amid its war with Russia.

“I don’t think it’s ready for membership in NATO,” Biden said in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday. “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war.”

Biden added that Ukraine still has work to do to meet all of the qualifications for membership, cautioning the process is “going to take a while.” But he reiterated his pledge to provide the country with security guarantees in the interim, stressing that the U.S. would ensure Ukraine has the weaponry it needs to defend itself against Russia.

Biden’s vow came shortly after he agreed to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, overriding humanitarian concerns about the bombs by arguing that it was crucial to provide Kyiv with more artillery. The president on Sunday left for an international trip that will include the NATO summit in Lithuania, where he will seek to rally the organization’s support for Ukraine.

“It was a very difficult decision on my part,” Biden said of approving the cluster munitions. “But the main thing is, they either have the weapons to stop the Russians now from their — keep them from stopping the Ukrainian offensive through these areas, or they don’t. And I think they needed them.”

Biden during the interview also expressed optimism that Sweden would soon gain entry to NATO, and touted the alliance’s ability to remain united in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I believe Putin has had an overwhelming objective from the time he launched 185,000 troops into Ukraine, and that was to break NATO,” he said. “So holding NATO together is really critical.”

During the wide-ranging discussion, Biden also was asked about the White House’s posture toward China. The president said he was confident the U.S. could reach a “stable point” with its international rival and would work toward establishing a “working relationship with China that benefits them and us.” But he also indicated he believes that China’s overarching goal is to become the largest economic and military power in the world.

“China has enormous potential capacity, but enormous problems as well,” he said. “I think there’s a way we can work through this.”

Biden warned Chinese President Xi Jinping against providing more support to Russia in its war against Ukraine, he added, emphasizing the economic blow if American corporations pulled out of the nation at the same pace as they have in Russia.

“I said, this is not a threat, this is an observation,” Biden said. “And if you notice, he has not gone full-bore on Russia.”

Biden also waved away questions about his age amid concerns over the ability for an 81-year-old seeking reelection to excite the Democratic base ahead of the 2024 election, arguing that he possesses “wisdom” only gained through his decades in politics.

“We’re uniting democracies,” he said, pointing to the continued support for Ukraine across Europe. “I think we have enormous opportunities. And I just want to finish the job, and I think we can do that in the next six years.”

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Emmanuel Macron announces dissolution of National Assembly

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, following defeat of his party in 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, according to local media report.

“I have decided to give you back the choice of your parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly,” Macron said in a short speech.

“This is a serious, weighty decision. But it is above all an act of trust,” he added.

He added that the elections to the National Assembly are to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.
Macron’s Renaissance party gained 15.2 per cent of the votes in 2024 European Parliament elections, far behind far-right National Rally who received 31.8 per cent.

“The unprecedented gap between the presidential majority and the leading opposition party reflects a stinging disavowal and rejection of the policies led by Emmanuel Macron,” RN President Jordan Bardella said after the EP elections results were unveiled, quoted by local media.

“We’re ready for it. I call on French people to join us in forming around the RN a majority in the service of the only cause that guides our steps: France.” parliamentary party leader of RN, Marine Le Pen, said Sunday evening on social media platform X.

The EP elections were held from June 6 to June 9, with voters of the 27 EU member states selecting 720 lawmakers to the 10th EP.

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UN adds Israel to blacklist

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders that have committed violations against children, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Israel had been told it is being placed on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict, to be sent to the UN Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also added to the list, according to a diplomatic source, along with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Dujarric added that the Israeli UN mission was called by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, a courtesy afforded to countries that are newly listed. “It is done to give those countries a heads-up and avoid leaks,” he said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan recorded a video of himself making a phone call from his office, apparently to a UN official, and leaked part of it on social media.

In the video, Erdan expressed outrage at the UN decision, calling the IDF “the most moral army in the world.”

“The only one who is blacklisted today is the secretary-general, whose decisions since the war started, and even before, are rewarding terrorists and incentivizing them to use children for terror acts… Shame on him!”

Dujarric said it was “shocking and unacceptable” that Erdan had apparently published the private call, saying it was “something he had never seen in my 24 years serving this organization.”

Israel’s inclusion on the list comes after eight months of war in Gaza, in which more than 15,500 children have been killed, according to the Ministry of Health in the enclave.

The war was sparked by a Hamas-led assault on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Many are still in captivity and Hamas’ top leadership is still at large despite the Israeli onslaught.

The UN’s so-called blacklist has previously included countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said the decision to add Israel to the list “will not bring back tens of thousands of our children who were killed by Israel over decades and will not restore normal life for the children who were permanently disabled by its actions.”

“But it is an important step in the right direction towards ending the double standards and the culture of impunity Israel has enjoyed for far too long and that left our children vulnerable to its consequences.”

The annual report will go to the Security Council on June 14. The official report will be published on June 18. It will be discussed at a debate in the council on June 26.

Asked about ramifications, the UN spokesman said it will be up to the members to decide any action.

The war has seen Israel-UN relations reach historic lows with Israeli diplomats using their platforms at the UN to denounce the world body.

Israel’s quarrel with the UN has gone beyond the secretary-general. Israeli officials have also criticized the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Health Organization, UN Women, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese.

Meanwhile, dozens of UN staffers have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, the largest loss in the world body’s history.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of anti-Israeli incitement, which UNRWA has repeatedly denied, and in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to dismantle the UN body, saying it should be merged with the main UN refugee agency.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli journalists and news outlets have refocused their attention on UNRWA and have amplified stories questioning its role in the war.

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