Posts Tagged ‘talks’
Iraq’s premier begins talks on forming new cabinet – Monsters and Critics.com
Last Updated on Friday, 12 November 2010 05:28 Written by admin Friday, 12 November 2010 05:28
Baghdad – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki took his first steps towards forming a new government Friday, even as the new political balance was thrown into question after a walkout the previous night by a key bloc.
Parliamentarian Kamal Saadi, of al-Maliki’s Shiite-led State of Law Coalition, told the German Press Agency dpa the prime minister was in talks with various political blocs on filling the top ministerial posts, to ‘accelerate’ the process.
Iraq’s parliament convened on Thursday night for just the second time since March and appointed a speaker and president, who in turn selected al-Maliki to head the new government, breaking a deadlock eight months after the country went to the polls.
But the parliamentary session was marred when al-Maliki’s rival, Iyad Allawi, led his Iraqiya List out of the chamber hall.
The bloc was protesting against what they said was backtracking by the prime minister on promises to change key laws that currently keep politicians from the former regime under dictator Saddam Hussein out of power.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmed al-Safi, a confidant of influential Shiite religious leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called for the country’s political leaders to form an ‘objective and professional’ government.
Forming an inclusive government, which does not disenfranchise any of Iraq’s religious, ethnic or political blocs, is likely to be a major challenge.
Allawi and al-Maliki, long-time rivals, are now set to face off over the demand that the government revoke a ban which prevents former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party from participating in the government.
Allawi’s party, which has Sunni backing and includes former Baathists, is hoping for a change to the rules by al-Maliki, who headed the so-called ‘de-Baathification’ process after the US-led invasion.
Highlighting the dilemma, Saleh al-Mutlaq is said to be the Iraqiya List’s pick for foreign minister – but he was banned earlier this year from running for parliament, because of charges that he was a Baathist.
Allawi was tipped to head a national council on strategy, a role which leaders were working behind the scenes to define, but is meant to serve as a check on the government. He has yet to confirm that he will take the job.
G-20 Grinds Towards Currency, Trade Accord After Talks – BusinessWeek
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 09:27 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 09:27
November 11, 2010, 10:27 PM EST
By Michael Forsythe and Daniel Ten Kate
(Adds comments from Gordhan, Gillard, Anderson starting in second paragraph See GMEET <GO> for more on the G-20 summit.)
Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — Group of 20 nations’ officials in Seoul huddled deep into the night to wrest a compromise deal their leaders could endorse to tackle imbalances in currencies and trade that threaten to stoke protectionism.
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said leaders and their aides had made progress in coming to agreement on how to address global imbalances. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said “some work” still needed to be done on bridging divides over currency valuations. Leaders are meeting as Irish bond yields are soaring on concern the European Union will need to step in with a bailout.
“We’re making some very good progress in getting a common understanding and a deeper understanding of what the issues are on a global basis,” Gordhan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Seoul.
Efforts to tackle currency and trade imbalances had floundered as China rejected policy prescriptions that fault its exchange rate regime and directed criticism at monetary easing in the U.S. G-20 leaders are meeting as At stake for the global economy is averting a repeat of the currency and trade tensions that erupted in the 1930s and were blamed for worsening the Great Depression.
“Don’t make other people take the medicine for your disease,” Yu Jianhua, a director general at China’s Ministry of Commerce, told reporters in Seoul late yesterday. “Quantitative easing will have a very big impact on developing countries including China.”
The pivotal roles China and the U.S. must play to get a breakthrough at the G-20 was underscored by an 80-minute meeting between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao yesterday dominated by exchange rates. Today, Obama put his arm around Hu after leaders posed for a group photo.
“I think the Chinese agenda at the G-20 is to do damage control,” Jonathan Anderson, Beijing-based chief emerging markets economist for UBS AG, said in an interview with Bloomberg News’s Tom Keene on “Bloomberg Midday Surveillance.” “The ideal position for China is to calm things down and try and hopefully explain again what they are trying to do, maybe set some targets for how they can meet halfway.”
China’s record $ 28 billion trade surplus with the U.S. in August heightened criticism its government maintains an unfair cap on yuan appreciation to the detriment of U.S. businesses. Obama, who has pledged to double exports within five years, has sought to broaden the currency debate by linking it to a worldwide effort to rein in current-account excesses.
The G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers last month agreed to move toward “more market-determined exchange rate systems” and make efforts on “reducing excessive imbalances.” The U.S. Federal Reserve a week later said it would pump $ 600 billion into the economy to spur growth. Brazil, Germany and China said the move would drive down the dollar and fuel speculative capital flows that risk asset bubbles.
On exchange rates and imbalances, Gillard said today that “there is still some work happening on that question.”
“I believe an agreement will be reached,” she told reporters. “We want to emerge from this G-20 meeting with the process agreed to and with a timeline agreed to.”
EU ministers gathered in Seoul are monitoring developments on the Irish debt crisis and will probably issue a joint statement later today, said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
China is seeking to modify the language on trade imbalances in the summit communique, said a German official taking part in the talks who requested anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly for the government. G-20 finance chiefs last month agreed to “pursue the full range of policies conducive to reducing excessive imbalances and maintaining current account balances at sustainable levels.”
“They have to deal with the underlying causes for this instability, which are these imbalances,” said Josef Ackermann, chief executive officer of Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank AG. “It’s not about assigning blame to who is in deficit and who is in surplus — the markets will decide who is in surplus and who in deficit — but to create a framework to find the right balance.”
The People’s Bank of China set the reference rate for yuan trading at 6.6239 per dollar today, the strongest since a peg ended in July 2005. The Chinese currency gained 0.4 percent this week to 6.6296 per dollar as of 10:04 a.m. in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.
The yuan has risen about 3 percent against the U.S. currency since June 19, when China said it was allowing a resumption of appreciation that was frozen in 2008.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said that the yuan remains undervalued and that China needs to show continued commitment to allow the Chinese currency to rise further over time. China says that a quick increase in the yuan’s value would cause economic and social disruption.
Geithner is due to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan today.
–With assistance from Eunkyung Seo, Bomi Lim, Zeb Eckert, Sandrine Rastello, Daniel Ten Kate, Theophilos Argitis, Julianna Goldman, Hans Nichols, Nicholas Johnston, Tony Czuczka, Gregory Viscusi, Matthew Bristow, Zeb Eckert, Liza Tan and Robert Hutton in Seoul and Simon Kennedy in London, and Kate Andersen Brower and Rebecca Christie in Washington. Editors: Bill Austin, Ben Richardson
To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Johnston in Seoul at email@example.com; Michael Forsythe in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Austin at email@example.com
Sunnis’ walkout mars political talks in Iraq – Washington Post
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 08:27 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 08:27
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s parliament achieved an important milestone Thursday, agreeing on who would hold the country’s top leadership spots after more than eight months of acrimonious negotiations. But a dramatic walkout by members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc marred the nearly five-hour session and underscored the deep divisions and distrust that dominate the country’s political system.
The day’s events, which appeared to catch U.S. officials off guard, followed a deal late Wednesday on a power-sharing arrangement among Iraq’s biggest political factions, and they were a vivid illustration of both the dysfunction that remains here and the small glimmers of hope about the future.
Iraqiya’s move also raised the prospect that some Sunni Arabs, disaffected by the political process, could take up arms again, just as the United States moves toward a planned withdrawal of forces by the end of 2011.
U.S. hopes for leaving behind a stable Iraq rest heavily on the establishment of a fully representative government that all of the country’s major factions can support. But Thursday’s chaotic session reflects how challenging that will be.
Despite the twists and turns, lawmakers reappointed President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who renamed incumbent Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, as prime minister. In addition, a member of Iraqiya was elected speaker of parliament. With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation.
The moment of high drama came when members of the Iraqiya bloc – which, by a slim margin, won more seats in Iraq’s 325-member parliament than any other bloc – walked out of the session to protest what they called duplicitous tactics by political rivals and broken promises to roll back a controversial law that they feel unfairly targeted their members.
“They have to know that they cannot run the parliament the way they want,” said Falah al Naqib, a legislator from Iraqiya. He called the walkout a strong and important message of Iraqiya’s power. “There is no trust. The political process is very fragile. You can see that there are major differences. They should at least respect their promises.”
In Washington, administration officials professed calm in the midst of the Iraqi storm, which they described as an unsurprising upheaval that would soon be smoothed, rather than a cause for concern that the deal was collapsing. The more important take-away from the day, officials said, was the election of an Iraqiya speaker and Kurdish president according to plan. U.S. officials had been pushing a power-sharing arrangement as a way to break Maliki’s monopoly on power.
The walkout dealt a setback to what was an eagerly awaited turning point in the impasse that has paralyzed Iraqi politics since the inconclusive March 7 election. After the departure of Iraqiya, the remaining lawmakers voted to elect Talabani to the presidency. Some observers feared the decision to proceed in the face of Iraqiya’s departure could eventually ignite a national crisis.
But Jaber al-Jaberi, a top Iraqiya official, said the bloc would probably consider returning to parliament if a “compromise solution” were reached and Iraqiya received assurances that the other groups in the new government will make good on their promises.
Thursday’s session had been expected to go smoothly after all major blocs agreed late Wednesday to participate, following promises about how positions in the new government would be distributed. But the precarious nature of that pact quickly became apparent.
After Osama al-Nujaifi of Iraqiya was elected speaker of parliament, along with two deputies from the Shiite Sadrist bloc and the Kurdish alliance, Nujaifi asked that details of the government formation deal be ratified through a vote. These included lifting a ban that precludes three Iraqiya members from participating in the government for alleged allegiance to Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Ba’ath Party.
G20 leaders face fractious talks – BBC News
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 05:37 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 05:37
11 November 2010
Last updated at 19:11 ET
Talks between leaders of the G20 group of major economies are entering their second day in Seoul, with key nations locked in fractious talks.
Leaders are due to publish a final communique on the summit, setting out agreements had made.
But tensions are high between some delegations over how to correct distortions in currency and trade.
Some fear the conflict – primarily between the United States and China – may threaten global growth.
The US has faced criticism from several countries for pumping another $ 600bn into its economy to try to revive growth through a second round of so-called quantitative easing.
And there are also divisions about China’s currency, the yuan, which Washington says is artificially weak and gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage as well as leading to Beijing amassing huge foreign reserves.
What is the G20?
The G20 group comprises the world’s 19 leading national economies, plus the European Union.
It was formed in 1999, and held its first meeting that year.
Until 2008 the G20 was overshadowed by the smaller G8 grouping of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US, Canada and Russia.
However, this has changed since the global financial crisis of 2008, and the G20 has effectively now replaced the G8 as the main global economic forum.
The major growth in the economies of G20 members China, India and Brazil has also contributed to the rising importance of the grouping.
The G20 currently meets twice a year, but this is set to reduce to one meeting from 2011.
However Chinese officials argued that Beijing had an “unswerving” commitment to reform its currency regime, but that global economic stability was needed to achieve it.
“If you’re sick yourself, don’t ask others to take medicine,” commerce ministry spokesman Yu Jianhua said.
A spokesman for the summit said on Friday that G20 leaders were likely to reach some sort of agreement on resolving trade and currency disputes.
Earlier, in a joint news conference with the South Korean leader, US President Barack Obama insisted the G20 final communique would include mechanisms to promote balanced and sustainable international economic growth.
However BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders said that the draft version of the communique still left much to be agreed on – especially on issues around exchange rates and imbalances.
In a seeming acknowledgement that the summit was not going to be as successful as previous meetings, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the G20 was “not in its heroic phase” – an apparent reference to its well-received response to the 2008 financial crisis.
The group needed to do “a lot more work” on fixing economic imbalances, Mr Cameron said.
As they negotiate into the small hours, officials say the leaders might well end up broadly where they would have ended up a few weeks ago”
Some economists fear that if steps are not made to resolve the so-called “currency wars”, this could act as a barrier to trade which may risk a return to global recession.
President Obama has called on other nations to agree on clear rules for reducing big trade surpluses and deficits – and is urging agreement that a strong US recovery is in everyone’s interests.
“The most important thing that the United States can do for the world economy is to grow because we continue to be the world’s largest market and a huge engine for all other countries to grow,” he said.
He also called for a stronger promise from China that it will let its currency go up very soon, not simply at some point in the future.
That would make Chinese exports costlier abroad and make US imports cheaper for the Chinese to buy.
However our economics editor said that while the US may make headway at the G20, it had been weakened by the global criticism of its policies.
This means that China, and other nations with huge trade surpluses such as Germany, would “not be signing up to any hard numbers or targets”, she added.
Developing nations have also expressed concerns at the potential impact on them of the US Federal Reserve to pump more money into the economy, as well as having low interest rates.
There are fears that if US rates are kept too low, this could create bubbles in the prices of commodities and stocks.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, US, UK, European Union
This would leave emerging markets could be vulnerable to a crash if investors later decide to pull out and move their money elsewhere, observers say.
“Memories of the recent financial crisis originating in the United States are still very fresh and make governments aware of the potential danger,” said BBC World Service’s economic editor Andrew walker.
He added that many developing countries had been through heir own turmoil within the last 15 years – including the hosts South Korea which was caught up in the Asian crisis.