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France Wants ‘Clear Message’ From China To Russia Over Ukraine War



France Wants ‘Clear Message’ From China To Russia Over Ukraine War

France’s top diplomat said on Monday that Paris wants China to send “clear messages” to its strategic ally Russia over its war in Ukraine, after meetings with his counterpart in Beijing.

France and China have sought to strengthen ties in recent years and, during meetings in Paris in February, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told President Emmanuel Macron that Beijing appreciated his country’s “independent” stance.

But Paris has also sought to press Beijing on its ties with Moscow, which have only grown closer since the invasion of Ukraine.

While China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, it has been criticised for refusing to condemn Moscow for its offensive.

Paris has, in contrast, become one of Kyiv’s firmest backers, with Macron in February even refusing to rule out putting troops on the ground in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said Monday that Beijing “plays a key role in… the respect of international law, including on Ukraine’s sovereignty, and therefore we are clearly expecting that China will send very clear messages to Russia”.

“We are convinced that there will be no lasting peace if it is not negotiated with the Ukrainians,” he told a press conference in Beijing, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart Wang.

“There will be no security for Europeans if there is no peace in accordance with international law,” he continued.

“It is an essential issue for us, which is why France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China,” he said.

– ‘Closeness’ –
Sejourne’s visit is the second to China by a French foreign minister in less than six months, following a trip by his predecessor Catherine Colonna in November.

On Monday afternoon he met with Premier Li Qiang at Beijing’s opulent Great Hall of the People, telling China’s number two official he wanted to discuss “global situations that are fracturing and dividing the world today”.

“I am thinking of the situation in the Middle East, but also in Ukraine,” he said.

Li said he was “very happy” to welcome the minister to Beijing.

“Our two countries have a long history and splendid civilisations,” Li said, hailing their shared “spirit of independence and autonomy”.

“This explains why China and France have a natural sense of closeness,” he said.

Macron also visited last April, receiving a rock star welcome at a university in southern China from hundreds of screaming students and fans.

But he faced accusations of cosying up to Beijing and sparked controversy by saying Europe shouldn’t be a “follower” of the United States in the event of conflict with China over Taiwan.

His foreign minister’s visit this week comes as part of events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.

Sejourne will later in the day take part in the launch of the “Versailles and the Forbidden City” exhibition, where around 60 works of art and valuables from the palace can be viewed by the public until the end of June.

– ‘Derisking’ not ‘decoupling’ –
France’s efforts to improve ties with Beijing come as the EU seeks to shield itself from excessive reliance on China.

That “derisking” has emerged in recent months as a core pillar of the European bloc’s economic policy towards China, spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The term contrasts with the more drastic approach known as “decoupling” — pursued by some policymakers in the United States who aim to isolate China or cut all commercial ties with the country.

The EU increasingly views China as a “partner”, but also as “an economic competitor and systemic rival”, a report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said last month.

In Beijing on Monday, Sejourne said decoupling was not on the cards.

But, he said, an “economic rebalancing” was needed to ensure trade was “healthy and sustainable”.

Foreign Minister Wang, in turn, said he “appreciates” Sejourne’s rejection of decoupling.

“It is not possible to decouple from China, and decoupling from China is the biggest risk,” Wang said.

“I believe that it has been proved, and will continue to prove, that China is an opportunity and not a risk for Europe. Both sides are partners and not rivals.”

Source: Channels TV



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We’ve not received any external attack – Iran official insists



Iran officials have said the country has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel. A senior Iranian official

Iran officials have said the country has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters on Friday, hours after sources said Israel launched an attack on Iranian soil.

Iran has continued to deny the attack which was launched early Friday morning, targeting its nuclear station in Isfahan.

The attack, according to reports, was similarly targeted at a military site and calibrated to avoid damage and further Iranian aggression.

“The foreign source of the incident has not been confirmed,” a senior official said, according to the Guardian UK.

“We have not received any external attack, and the discussion leans more towards infiltration than attack,” the Iranian official said on condition of anonymity.

According to Reuters, an Iranian analyst also told state TV on Friday that mini drones shot down by air defences in Isfahan were flown by “infiltrators from inside Iran”.

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US vetoes UN resolution to recognize Palestine as State



The United States has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have recognised a Palestinian state

The United States has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have recognised a Palestinian state.

CNN reports that 12 members of the Security Council on Thursday had voted in favor of the resolution, while two countries, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, abstained.

However, the United States vetoed the resolution.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, criticized the US veto, saying it was “unfair, immoral, and unjustified, and defies the will of the international community”.

According to him, the international community strongly supports the State of Palestine obtaining full membership in the United Nations.

But Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the US for vetoing what he called a “shameful proposal.”

“The proposal to recognize a Palestinian state, more than 6 months after the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and after the sexual crimes and other atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists was a reward for terrorism”, Katz wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the US veto.

Vedant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department had announced earlier Thursday that the US would vote against the Security Council resolution.

He said the US has “been very clear, consistently, that premature actions in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people,” referring to the headquarters of the United Nations.

Palestinian attempts for recognition as a full member state began in 2011. They are currently a non-member observer state, a status that was granted in November 2012.

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EU leaders agree to new sanctions on Iran after Israel attack



The EU has agreed to expand sanctions on Iranian producers of drones and missiles following Tehran’s unprecedented

The EU has agreed to expand sanctions on Iranian producers of drones and missiles following Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

“It’s very important to do everything to isolate Iran,” European Council President Charles Michel said.

The bloc already has multiple sanctions in place against Iran, including for selling drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine.

The EU’s new sanctions were agreed upon during a summit in Brussels which marked the first meeting between the bloc’s 27 leaders since Iran’s direct assault on Israel on Saturday, involving more than 300 missiles and drones fired from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen which were mostly downed by Israel and its allies.

Tehran has maintained it was retaliation for a presumed Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria on 1 April, in which 13 people were killed.

Israel – which appears to have only countered with a diplomatic offensive so far – has not ruled out a response.

But world leaders have continued to urge restraint, in a bid to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East.

Israel has called on its allies to sanction Tehran’s missile programme and for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – a major military and political force in Iran – to be designated a terrorist organisation, something the US has done but the EU and UK have not.

The EU already has a wide range of measures in place which target Iran over its human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation activities and military support for Russia.

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Drones, missile attack legitimate responese against Israel – Iran



Drones, missile attack legitimate responese against Israel – Iran

Iran has said its attack on Israel was a “legitimate response” to Israel’s airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria.

An Israeli airstrike on Iran’s embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus had killed two senior members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In retaliation, Iran had sent a barrage of drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday but they were intercepted.

However, the spokesperson of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kanani, said Iran “does not seek to escalate tensions in the region.”

According to Kanani: “Iran’s action was completely legitimate and in accordance with the United Nations Charter granting states the right to self-defense.”

He added that the United States and the international community at large should “appreciate” Iran’s “responsible behavior.”

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Iran’s missiles, drone attack declaration of war – Israeli president



Iran’s missiles, drone attack declaration of war – Israeli president

The President of Israel, Isaac Herzog has said Tel Aviv was “considering all options” following Iran’s overnight missile and drone attacks.

Herzog said Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel was a “declaration of war.”

Speaking with Sky News, Herzog said: “Every one of us should look and ask, what would we do had we been attacked in such an aggressive way as we were attacked last night.”

When asked if Israel would retaliate the attack against Iran, the Israeli president said they are “considering all options.”

“This is like a real war … this is a declaration of war.”

Herzog added that he was “happy that we are part of an incredible coalition of nations that have been part and parcel in preventing most of these missiles and drones and weapons to come into Israel.”

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Trump’s hush-money trial begins



Trump’s hush-money trial begins

Former President Donald Trump makes history on Monday, as he becomes the first current or former president in the nation’s history to go on trial.

Fox News reports that Trump’s hush-money trial, which will get underway in a New York City courtroom, will have an instant impact on his 2024 election rematch with President Joe Biden.

The former president is being tried on 34 state felony charges and is accused of falsifying business records in relation to hush-money payments during the 2016 election, which he made to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about his alleged affair with the adult film actress.

The former President has repeatedly denied falsifying business records, as well as the alleged sexual encounter with Daniels.

Trump’s legal team has tried numerous times, unsuccessfully, to further delay or postpone the trial.

The unprecedented trial is the first of Trump’s four criminal cases, including two for his alleged attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and another for mishandling classified documents — to go to trial.

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