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Pope urges Putin to stop "spiral of violence and death"

Pope urges Putin to stop "spiral of violence and death"

Pope Francis on Sunday (2 October) expressed concern over the nuclear threat and military escalation in the war in Ukraine, dedicating his entire Angelus address to the situation and issuing a powerful appeal for an immediate ceasefire. He deplored the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia, called for respect for the territorial integrity of every country and the rights of minorities. He expressed his saddness for the thousands of victims, especially children. "How much blood must still flow for us to realize that war is never a solution, only destruction? In the name of God and in the name of the sense of humanity that dwells in every heart, I renew my call for an immediate ceasefire. Let there be a halt to arms, and let us seek the conditions for negotiations that will lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but consensual, just and stable. And they will be so if they are based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns", the Pope said. Pope Francis appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, imploring him to “stop this spiral of violence and death” in Ukraine and denounced the “absurd” risk to humanity of catastrophic nuclear war as tensions escalate.

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News
Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia opens a new era in relations

Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia opens a new era in relations

It is not a coincidence that on his first trip to the Middle East since becoming US president, Joe Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia. Together with relations with Israel, relations with the Kingdom have been the cornerstone of US policy in the region. Over the last two years these relations were tested with trust between the two sides falling to its lowest level for decades. The visit appears to have succeeded in bringing relations back to a qualitatively high level. On Friday (15 July) Biden met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. On Saturday he is due to meet with other Arab leaders at a summit that will bring together the leaders of the sic GCC countries, together with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. A joint communique published by the Saudi Press Agency early on Saturday emphasised that the “US-Saudi partnership has been a cornerstone of regional security over decades, and affirmed that the two countries share a vision of a more secure, stable, and prosperous region, interconnected with the world,”  The document highlighted various areas of cooperation from energy security to space exploration. In the area of defense, Biden reaffirmed the US’ commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial defense, and “facilitating the Kingdom’s ability to obtain necessary capabilities to defend its people and territory against external threats” The statement said that US troops will depart from Tiran Island paving the way for it to be developed. Additionally, overflights of the Kingdom’s airspace was expanded on Friday, which the US welcomed.
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Opinion
Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia will open a new era in relations with the Middle East

Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia will open a new era in relations with the Middle East

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, will this week visit the Middle East for what promises to be the launch of a new era in US relations with the region. Commonspace.eu will be following the visit and reporting on its importance. Late on Saturday, President Biden published an article on the Washington Post, outlining the reasons for his visit, and why it is so important. We reproduce it here in full. In the article, Biden argues that a more secure and integrated Middle East benefits Americans in many ways. "Its waterways are essential to global trade and the supply chains we rely on. Its energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine." The president states "We have to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world. To do these things, we have to engage directly with countries that can impact those outcomes. Saudi Arabia is one of them, and when I meet with Saudi leaders on Friday, my aim will be to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values."
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News
NATO countries sign the accession documents for Finalnd and Sweden to join the alliance

NATO countries sign the accession documents for Finalnd and Sweden to join the alliance

NATO Ambassadors signed the Accession Protocols for Finland and Sweden at NATO Headquarters on Tuesday (5 July 2022), in the presence of Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. The protocols now need to be approved by the countries of all thirty member states, and this procedure will take a while. But for many practical purposes Sweden and Finland are now members of the alliance, breaking with decades of neutrality as Europe continues to face Russian aggression against Ukraine. NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO’s door remains open to European democracies who are ready and willing to contribute to our shared security: “With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger and our people will be even safer, as we face the biggest security crisis in decades.”
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News
NATO summit marks a new beginning for the organisation

NATO summit marks a new beginning for the organisation

The NATO Summit in Madrid drew to a close on Thursday (30 June 2022) with decisions to transform and strengthen the Alliance. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “The decisions we have taken in Madrid will ensure that our Alliance continues to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people and our values. Europe and North America, standing together in NATO.” NATO leaders agreed on a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defence, with strengthened forward defences, enhanced battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance, and an increase in the number of high readiness forces to well over 300,000. Leaders also agreed to invest more in NATO and to increase common funding. During the Summit, NATO’s closest partners Finland and Sweden were invited to join the Alliance, a significant boost to Euro-Atlantic security. Allies further agreed on long-term support for Ukraine through a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package.
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A busy week for western leaders as they prepare the next steps in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine

A busy week for western leaders as they prepare the next steps in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine

It is a busy week for Western leaders, as they prepare the next steps in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. The leaders of the G7 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the Untied Kingdom, together with the European Union - started a summit meeting in Germany on Sunday. Later this week they will travel to Madrid for a summit meeting of NATO countries. The G7 meeting is taking place at a Castle in Germany’s Bavarian Alps were leaders went out of their way on Sunday (26 June), to show that they are united against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine while discussing ways to minimize the war’s effect on rising global food and energy costs. U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met ahead of formal talks that also included the leaders of Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Japan and the European Union. Scholz said, "Germany and the U.S. will always act together when it comes to questions of Ukraine's security, and we made that clear once more." In a pre-summit show of force, Russia launched new missile attacks Sunday on Ukraine’s two biggest cities, the capital of Kyiv and Kharkiv, even as the G-7 leaders held talks to determine new ways to isolate Moscow. Biden announced the G-7 nations would ban new imports of Russian gold, the latest in an array of sanctions Western nations have imposed on Russia in an attempt punish it for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its fifth month.
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Commentary
US-Saudi Relations remain the bedrock for Gulf Security

US-Saudi Relations remain the bedrock for Gulf Security

US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia on July 15 and 16 upon the invitation of King Salman. The US president will meet with the king and his Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to discuss areas of bilateral cooperation as well as joint efforts to address regional and global challenges.” A statement from the White House said that Biden will also attend a Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan while in the Kingdom. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades,” the statement read. In this commentary the state of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia is discussed in the light of tensions between the two sides over the last years.  “Now, it appears that the two sides are ready to make up. Biden will travel to Riyadh next month, and US officials have been in and out of the Saudi capital in recent weeks, softening the ground and preparing for the visit. Biden is right in working towards a reset. US-Saudi relations remain the bedrock for Gulf security.” It adds that “when Joe Biden visits Riyadh next month he has his work cut out for him. It will be a hugely important visit to a country where personalities still count. Both sides appear ready to put the difficult last few years in their relationship behind them. This is good for both, as well as for the rest of the world.”