Poland talks missile defence with US

Poland has told the US it is willing to take part in a missile defence scheme that replaces one scrapped last month.

American Vice President Joe Biden is in Warsaw as part of efforts to reassure European countries about its u-turn on a missile shield opposed by Moscow.

Biden said: “We now appreciate that Poland’s government agrees with us, that there is now a better way with new technology and new information to defend against emerging ballistic missile threats. Our new phased, adaptive approach to missile defence is designed to meet a growing threat, not only to the US but first and foremost to Europe.”

Biden has also been quoted as saying the US has no agreement with Russia at central Europe’s expense, and it will not sign any such agreement.

Polish Prime Minsiter Donald Tusk said: “We are determined to do all in our capacity for the values we share. This is why we have taken up a common effort so that our convictions can materialise.”

The US has opted for a system of interceptors that can target short and medium range missiles, and it has made it clear that Poland and the Czech Republic could still be involved in that.

Second leg of Turkish/Armenian soccer diplomacy

euronews channel-Side-by-side the presidents of Turkey and Armenia have watched a World Cup football match in a show of unity.

But it had little effect on the home side’s fans – Armenia’s national anthem got the whistle treatment.

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This is the second time the two have met – last year Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Yerevan for the initial leg of the world cup clash. That kicked off the so-called “soccer diplomacy”.

The long time enemies have recently agreed to reopen their borders and restore relations. The deal signed in Zurich last week could help stabilise the south Caucasus.

1.36 sot “ we need to live with each other and I think we, cooperation, mutual understanding., economic cooperation, questions from the past, mutual, some approach position which is good.”

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The deepest dispute is over history and has yet to be resolved – Armenia alleges that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915, the Turks deny the charge.

But last night for once it was sport not politics – Turkey won 2:0.

EU countries send envoys back to Honduras

European Union countries have decided to send back their envoys to Honduras to help resolve the crisis following the ousting of the country’s president, the Swedish EU presidency said Saturday.

But it added that the move in no way implied recognition of the country’s de facto government.

The ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy and Spain were withdrawn in protest after President Manuel Zelaya was expelled from the country by soldiers three months ago amid a dispute over his plans to change the constitution, and Roberto Micheletti took control.

Zelaya made a suprise return to Honduras on Monday and has since been holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa with some 60 other people as soldiers surround the building and his supporters demonstrate on the streets.

Sweden said the return of the ambassadors was an important step in helping to restore constitutional order and a diplomatic process in Honduras.

But the situation appeared deadlocked after the de facto rulers said they were not ready to meet with a delegation of central American diplomats hoping to help mediate the crisis.

“Honduran politics are not a threat to international peace and security, and, as a consequence, there should be a Honduran solution” to the stalemate, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Deal looks close on Brazil buying French jets

The French President has been the special guest at Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations, but he may have some celebrating of his own to do.

Nicolas Sarkozy seems to have received some good news from his Brazilian counterpart.

Local officials have announced that Brazil will enter negotiations with France for the purchase of 36 French-made fighter jets. The Rafale aircraft, made by Dassault Aviation, has never before been exported outside of France.

In a media release, both countries say talks over the Rafale will include a French plan to buy a dozen military aircraft from Brazil.

If these talks are as advanced as they sound, and a deal is close, it will be disappointing news for the American company Boeing and Saab in Sweden. They had been hoping to sell their new fighter jets to Brazil.

France has already won a contract to help Brazil build more than 50 helicopters and nuclear-propelled submarines.

Berlusconi visits Libya

Italy has renewed its ties with its former colonial vassal Libya, just days before celebrations for the anniversary of the coup which brought Colonel Gaddafi to power. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrived in Tripoli as one of the few Western leaders to attend Tuesday’s events. Others turned down invitations because of Scotland’s controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber. But Berlusconi brought some good news: Italy is to fund a new motorway in Libya, and the Italian premier had the honour of laying the first stone.

Preparations are well-underway for the coup anniversary. It was on September 1st 1969 that a group of middle-ranking army officers led by then-Captain Muammar Gaddafi sent King Indris into exile and declared the Libyan Arab Republic. A lavish performance will entertain the crowds, and a 120-metre stage will fill with water to re-create the Mediterranean Sea.

Raising Latin American ghosts

The announcement of seven American bases in Colombia have resurrected old ghosts from the past about US involvement in Latin America.

After a long silence and during a meeting with students Cuba’s Fidel Castro re-discovered his revolutionary spirit in defending his friend Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

He said: “We are not free, where is the sovereignty of Venezuela and the Cuban Republics.

It’s been trampled ..it’s been occupied and we can demonstrate this.”

But the progression of the left in Latin America has redrawn the political map of the region.

Colombia remains today Washington’s only ally in the region and all US military resources are based in Colombia.

Spiralling military costs in Latin America amount to 36 billion euros – that’s a fifty per cent increase in 10 years.

Overall military expenditure in the region has increased by 50 per cent with Colombia and Venezuela, behind Brazil.

Militarisation in Venezuela is an especially important policy of Hugo Chavez as he follows his “Cubanisation” plan.

And earlier this month Chavez went on TV to declare Venezeula was freezing diplomatic relations with Colombia.

Chavez said: “It is necessary to prepare for breaking off relations.This is going to happen.

Those seven Yankee bases – they are has declaration off war against the Bolivarian revolution and so we assumes it is a declaration of war.”

Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe has also found he can make political capital out of confrontational speeches.

He didn’t hold back from accusing Venezuela of selling weapons to Marxist rebels. He said anti rocket launchers found in FARC rebel camps had come from Venezuela.

He believes this kind of talk that can get him re-elected.

Officially the American bases are part of Washington’s fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.

One Colombian senator says there is more going on.

Manual Juan Galan said: “Given the reality off the current political and foreign situation, Colombia needs to have the the resources for a credible defence force in the event of an armed conflict.

Every sovereign state has to have this.”

Colombia’s diplomatic spat with Venezuela took a new turn in Bogata with a series of billboards showing Chavez with his eyes closed.

They call on him to: “open his eyes

Netanyahu’s settlement dilemma

The international pressure may be mounting on Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlements but pressure from within Israel is the reason for his resistance.

Whether it is Barack Obama or his Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Angela Merkel or Gordon Brown who is pressing him, the Israeli prime minister continues to avoid a commitment on settlements.

World leaders are queueing up to insist that the issue is one of the pillars of the peace talks. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is among them.

He said yesterday: “I hope the meeting between the American president’s envoy and the Israeli prime minister will lead to- and everyone knows my friendship towards Israel but I’ll say what I think- will lead to the complete freeze of settlement expansion.”

An international delegation including Nobel peace prize winners Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu arrived in Jerusalem yesterday to push the peace process. They were met by an Israeli president who was just as evasive on the matter of settlements as his prime minister.

But the domestic pressure on Netanyahu is proving persuasive. The settlement issue could even threaten his broad government coalition, especially as the Foreign Ministry is held by far-right nationalists who are seemingly immune to international pressure.

Netanyahu’s other coalition partners, the Labour party, have for years been demanding the eviction of Israeli residents in illegal settlements, or outposts.

Labour could also bring down the coalition if these demands continue to be ignored.

The pressure on Netanyahu is coming from many angles.