Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα leaders. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα leaders. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα, Ιανουαρίου 19, 2015

EU to work closer with Turkey,Egypt and Gulf countries to combat terrorism

EU leaders have agreed on sharing intelligence with not only member states, but also with other countries, including Turkey,Egypt and Gulf countries to combat terrorism, it was announced Monday.

The decision was made during EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels that discussed ways to combat terrorism in Europe and other parts of the world. The meeting comes in the aftermath of the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and anti-terrorism raids in Belgium.

After the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters about measures to curb terrorism. "We are looking at specific projects to launch in the coming weeks with some specific countries to increase the level of cooperation on counter-terrorism, and I would name Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and the Gulf countries.''

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said ''everyone thinks it’s important to engage with Turkey.''

''Turkey is central in so many ways and can play a constructive role if they use their position and setting in the right way,'' Wallstrom added.

Passenger name records
EU leaders also decided to call on the European Parliament to work on implementation of the Passenger Name Record system, which would require EU member states to share information of airline passengers with other countries.

Currently, up to 16 EU countries use the record system without an EU framework.

The legislation was proposed by European regulators in 2011, but later rejected by EU Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee in April 2013. Critics argue that the record system interferes with the right to privacy and protection of personal data.

Improving communication with Arabs

Mogherini said another strategy on developing cooperation on security issues would be to improve communication with the Arab-speaking population in EU and other parts of the world.

''We need to improve our capacity to read Arabic, speak Arabic and listen to messages coming from the Arab world,'' Mogherini said. ''This is basic communication strategy we need to implement.''

Her comments came after calling for a stronger alliance with Arab countries amid deadly terror attacks and arrests across Europe. Mogherini also met Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby on Monday.

''The threat is not only the one we faced in Paris, but spreading in other parts of the world starting from Muslim countries,'' Mogherini said. ''We need to strengthen our way of cooperating, first of all, with Arab countries.''

"Good cooperation"

Mogherini said an alliance between Europe and Arab countries was needed because Muslims were mostly affected by terrorist attacks.

Mogherini said ''I've always said it is not an issue between Europe or the West and Islam."

"Terrorism and terrorist attacks are targeting most Muslims in the world, so we need an alliance, we need a dialogue there to face the issue together.''

''What we need to do is face terrorism while respecting Islam," she added.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters ahead of the meeting: ''We have very good cooperation with our partners across the Arab world in counter-terrorism."

"The Muslim countries of the world are the ones who have suffered the greatest burden of terrorism. They will continue to be in the front line and we have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and European Union countries," Hammond added.


Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 08, 2015

EU leaders assess security following Paris attack

In the wake of the massacre Wednesday in Paris, European security officials are re-visiting their plans for countering what they see as a growing jihadist threat and what to do with young disaffected Muslim men either returning from combat in the Middle East or radicalized  via the Internet by militant groups fighting there.

They warn though there is no such thing as absolute security.

While a massive manhunt continued for the two suspects – French-born Algerians Chérif and Saïd Kouachi – broader questions are being raised already over how the attack could have happened despite a robust intelligence and surveillance system in France.

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Wednesday in the French capital that even with good intelligence services there is a “no zero risk.”  He also emphasized that several terror plots had been thwarted in recent months.

What is alarming, though, to security officials and analysts is how the Kouachi brothers managed to secure the automatic weapons, and possibly a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and plot the assault without triggering preventive action by French authorities.

Both suspects had well-known militant histories stretching back to at least 2005. Chérif was convicted in 2008 in a case connected to jihadist recruitment of fighters against Americans in Iraq, serving 18 months of a three-year prison sentence. And in 2010, he was arrested again – although not charged – for alleged involvement in a failed plot to help an Algerian Islamic militant escape from a French jail, according Le Monde newspaper.

Analysts are asking, if French intelligence can’t stop known militants from launching murderous attacks, how can authorities hope to counter threats from those who are not known yet?

According to Claude Moniquet, director of the European Strategic and Intelligence Center, a Brussels think tank, an urgent task will be to establish whether the assailants, who were skilled with their weapons and tactics, had gained training and combat experience overseas. “I suspect they had training elsewhere, but an investigation will have to establish these details,” he said.

If it emerges the pair did travel to the Mideast, alarm bells will ring even louder.

An estimated 1,000 French militants have either left to fight for jihadist groups in Syria or already returned. At least 3,000 Europeans are believed to have volunteered to fight with Islamic militant groups in Syria.

In the summer European security ministers adopted an action plan to tackle the security threat they believe these fighters pose to their home countries.

Some of the measures are not known but those that are aim at identifying militants already in Syria and those likely to enlist. The plan included greater intelligence-sharing procedures among European Union countries, according to the bloc’s counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove.

At a press conference to announce the action plan he said that not all of the returnees “intend to carry out attacks, but some of them will.”

In November, EU security ministers met again to discuss tightening security checks on their borders and the sharing of passenger records. But European right-to-privacy rules and European Parliament objections are delaying some of the surveillance measures the ministers are keen to implement. Security officials say they need quickly to require all airlines to include passenger data in a digital system, allowing European intelligence agencies to know the name of every person who enters, leaves or crosses the EU.

The European Commission will submit new proposals to fight terrorism in the next few weeks, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday. “I know from experience that one should not react on the moment to such events given the risk of doing either too much or too little,” he said. But he noted further measures were needed.

EU states have been toughening their own national anti-terror laws. In a bid to curb the flow of French militants to Syria, the French government introduced legislation a few months ago making it easier to detain suspects at airports and to confiscate their passports.

European governments have increased their intelligence endeavors by working with Muslim communities and mosque leaders to discourage recruits from heading out and by monitoring social media sites in an effort to identify those who have gone to join militant fighters in the Middle East.

Last year, the then counterterrorism chief of London’s Metropolitan Police appealed to Muslims across the UK to help stanch the flow of young Britons heading to Syria. At least 500 British Muslims are thought to have gone to Syria. Commander Richard Walton admitted that authorities are “desperate” to obtain further assistance.

Britain’s interior minister Theresa May Thursday chaired an emergency meeting of the British government’s COBRA security committee to review what had happened in France and to decide whether there needed to be any changes in UK security plans. The panel ordered a ramping up of border security. “Following the attacks we took the precautionary step of increasing security at the French-UK border,” she told reporters in London.

And British politicians appealed for Muslim communities to be more vigilant for jihadist outliers. But critics warn there are risks in targeting local Muslim communities and making them feel under pressure to collaborate with authorities. The effort can come off as discrimination, further alienating young and disaffected Muslims and presenting recruitment opportunities for militants.

In the UK, police have been aggressively using counter-terrorism legislation to detain and question anyone, even without reasonable cause for suspicion. More than 60,000 people were detained for up to nine hours in 2012 and 2013 but all those stops and interrogations resulted in just 24 terrorism-related arrests.

Asim Qureshi, research director of CagePrisoners, a civil libertarian campaigning group, says the approach is too intrusive. He told the Al Jazeera news network, “For example, they get asked, ‘what type of Muslim are you? What are your foreign policy opinions? What are your views on Palestine?’ None of those questions pertain to whether that person poses a credible risk to UK security.”

European leaders and their advisers have also been delving into the question of what to do with fighters who have returned from the Middle East. Should they be arrested and prosecuted for fighting in a foreign war, if there are laws available to do so? Is it better to monitor returnees, rather than risk further radicalization in jail? Should returnees be required to go through de-radicalization programs? None of the individual states of the bloc have found answers to those questions, so an EU consensus remains far off.
Source: VOANews.com - sofiaglobe.com


Πέμπτη, Δεκεμβρίου 11, 2014

Fidel Castro awarded China's Confucius Peace Prize

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been awarded with the Confucius Peace prize, China’s own version of the Nobel Peace Prize which organizers of the alternative distinction consider biased against the Asian giant.

The ceremony was held at the Beijing University with Cuban students representing Castro, receiving a statuette, a diploma and money on behalf of the historic leader of Cuba’s revolution.

“As Cuba’s leader, when managing international relations, especially relations with the US, he did not use military force or violence to resolve controversies and disputes,” the co-founder of the prize, Liu Zhiqin, was quoted as saying by the official newspaper Global Times.

  • 88-year-old Castro was elected by a 9-member jury who analised the nominations of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, South Korea president Park Geun-hye, the Shangai Cooperation Organization and the Chinese Taoist Association.

  • The Confucius Peace Prize was first granted in 2010 meant to be China's answer to the Nobel Peace Prize, a timely riposte to the honoring of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo by Oslo.

First winner of the Confucius award was Taiwanese ex vice-president Lien Chan while Russian President Vladimir Putin received the price in 2011. 

In 1012, it was granted and shared by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Chinese scientist Yuan Longping. Last year, it was the turn for Yi Cheng, Zen Master and honorary head of the Buddhist Association.

Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 12, 2014

Pope Francis urges G20 leaders not to forget the poor

Pope Francis has called on G20 leaders not to forget the poor, saying to do so would be "regrettable" as the heads of the world's most powerful economies prepare to meet in Australia.

The Group of 20 leaders are expected to sign off in Brisbane this weekend on a pledge to boost the level of their combined economic output by at least two percent above the currently projected level in the next five years, creating millions of jobs.
In a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who holds the G20's rotating presidency, the pope said world powers "must not forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions".

"And it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle," he said in the letter, sent on November 6 but only made public on Wednesday.

"There are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists."
He said he hoped the talks would mark a step towards "eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which has reached proportions hitherto unimaginable; these include poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion."
"It has become more and more evident that the solution to this grave problem cannot be a purely military one, but must also focus on those who in one way or another encourage terrorist groups through political support."
The pontiff said he hoped to see "a substantial and productive consensus" on boosting growth and jobs that took into account "real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality". Each country is expected to submit its detailed reform plans to achieve the growth goal in Brisbane, with an emphasis on private sector financing to spur infrastructure investment.

In his letter, the pope also warned about the impact on the environment of "unbridled consumerism" while speaking of the "unbearable humanitarian situations around the world", pointing to the Middle East.
"I take this opportunity to ask the G20 member states to be examples of generosity and solidarity in meeting the many needs of the victims of these conflicts, and especially of refugees," he said.
"The situation in the Middle East has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law."
Pope Francis emphasised the need to protect people from abuses in the financial system, referring to the transactions that led to the global recession in 2008 as a "less evident but equally real and serious" form of aggression against human rights.
"Responsibility for the poor and the marginalised must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level," he said.


Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 12, 2014

Iraq's new PM backed by US, Iran

Iraq's new prime minister-designate won swift endorsements from uneasy mutual allies the United States and Iran today as he called on political leaders to end crippling feuds that have let jihadists seize a third of the country.
Haider al-Abadi still faces opposition closer to home, where his Shi'ite party colleague Nuri al-Maliki has refused to step aside after eight years as premier that have alienated Iraq's once dominant Sunni minority and irked Washington and Tehran.

However, Shi'ite militia and army commanders long loyal to Maliki signalled their backing for the change, as did many people on the streets of Baghdad, eager for an end to fears of a further descent into sectarian and ethnic bloodletting.

As Western powers and international aid agencies considered further help for tens of thousands of people driven from their homes and under threat from the Sunni militants of the Islamic State near the Syrian border, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would consider requests for military and other assistance once Abadi forms a government to unite the country.

Underscoring the convergence of interest in Iraq that marks the normally hostile relationship between Washington and Iran, senior Iranian officials congratulated Abadi on his nomination, three months after a parliamentary election left Maliki's bloc as the biggest in the legislature. Like Western powers, Shi'ite Iran is alarmed by Sunni militants' hold in Syria and Iraq.

"Iran supports the legal process that has taken its course with respect to choosing Iraq's new prime minister," the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying.
"Iran favours a cohesive, integrated and secure Iraq," he said, adding an apparent appeal to Maliki to concede.

Abadi himself, long exiled in Britain, is seen as a far less polarising, sectarian figure than Maliki, who is also from the Shi'ite Islamic Dawa party. Abadi appears to have the blessing of Iraq's powerful Shi'ite clergy, a major force in the land since U.S. troops toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraqi state television said Abadi "called on all political powers who believe in the constitution and democracy to unite efforts and close ranks to respond to Iraq's great challenges".
One politician close to Abadi told Reuters that the prime minister-designate had begun contacting leaders of major groups to sound them out on forming a new cabinet. The president said on Monday he hoped he would succeed within the next month.
Maliki angrily dismissed Abadi's nomination on Monday as illegal. But there was no further sign of opposition on Tuesday.

A statement from a major Shi'ite militia group, Asaib Ahl Haq, which has backed Maliki and reinforced the Iraqi army as it fell back from the north in June, called for an end to the legalistic arguments of the kind used by Maliki to justify his retaining power and urged "self-restraint by all sides".
It said leaders should "give priority to the public interest over the private" and respect the guidance of clerical leaders - a clear reference to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's indication that he favours the removal of Maliki to address the national crisis.
***Photo: Iraqi President Fuad Masum (2nd L) shakes hands with deputy parliamentary speaker Haidar al-Abadi (R) after he was tasked with forming a government during a brief ceremony broadcast on state television.

Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 30, 2014

G7 powers warn Russia of more sanctions over Ukraine

Washington. The leaders of the world's major developed economies condemned Russia for destabilizing Ukraine on Wednesday and warned it faces still tougher sanctions if it does not change course, AFP reported.
"Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions," the G7 powers said, in a joint statement released by the White House.
"If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions."
The G7 - Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - issued the statement one day after Washington and the European Union announced increased sanctions on Moscow.

"We once again condemn Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to de-stabilize eastern Ukraine. Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law," the group said.
"We condemn the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the deaths of 298 innocent civilians. We demand a prompt, full, unimpeded, and transparent international investigation."
The G7 powers said Moscow should use its influence with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to enable air crash investigators and OSCE monitors to operate in safety.
They demanded that Russia get behind a ceasefire plan being pushed by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and support efforts to find a political solution to a conflict with a rising civilian death toll.

  • G-7 Leaders Statement on Ukraine (The White House)
Office of the Press Secretary,  July 30, 2014:
"We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council, and the President of the European Commission, join in expressing our grave concern about Russia’s continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.  We once again condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to de-stabilize eastern Ukraine.  Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law.

We condemn the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the deaths of 298 innocent civilians.  We demand a prompt, full, unimpeded, and transparent international investigation.  We call upon all sides to establish, maintain, and fully respect a cease-fire at and around the crash site, as demanded by UN Security Council resolution 2166, so that the investigators can take up their work and to recover the remains of all victims and their personal possessions.

This terrible event should have marked a watershed in this conflict, causing Russia to suspend its support for illegal armed groups in Ukraine, secure its border with Ukraine, and stop the increasing flow of weapons, equipment, and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.

Regrettably, however, Russia has not changed course.  This week, we have all announced additional coordinated sanctions on Russia, including sanctions on specific companies operating in key sectors of the Russian economy.  We believe it is essential to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and tangibly participate in creating the necessary conditions for the political process.
We remain convinced that there must be a political solution to the current conflict, which is causing rising numbers of civilian casualties.  We call for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine and underline the need to implement President Poroshenko’s peace plan without any further delay.  To this end, we urge all parties to establish a swift, genuine, and sustainable general cease-fire on the basis of the Berlin Declaration of 2 July with the aim of maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.  We call upon Russia to use its influence with the separatist groups and ensure effective border control, including through OSCE observers.   We support the OSCE and the Trilateral Contact Group as central players in creating the conditions for a ceasefire.

Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions.  If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions."

Τετάρτη, Μαΐου 28, 2014

Obama makes defiant defense of US restraint. Terrorism remains biggest threat to US

US President Barack Obama mounted a defiant defense of his global leadership Wednesday, rebuking critics who see him as weak but warning that not every global threat justifies a US military response.

In a major speech at the West Point military academy, Obama denied US power had ebbed under his watch, after he withdrew troops from Iraq and is doing the same in Afghanistan.

He also pledged to ramp up support for Syrian rebels, vowed to stand up to Russia over Ukraine and promised to make drone strikes against terror suspects more transparent.

He vowed to hold China accountable to international "rules of the road" in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

"To say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution," Obama said.

"Since World War II, some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint, but from our willingness to rush into military adventures - without thinking through the consequences," Obama said, in an apparent reference to the Iraq war, which he has branded a disaster.

The president's speech came with his foreign policy, which was once seen as a political asset, under assault from critics who believe he is being outmaneuvered by strongmen like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage. If we don't, no one else will. The military ... is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership."

Obama was particularly exercised by those who complain he should have deployed the US military in Syria or made a more robust strategic response to Russia's annexation of Ukraine, or who complain that he has left Iraq or Afghanistan to fend for themselves.

"Tough talk often draws headlines but war rarely conforms to slogans," Obama said.

"But US military action cannot be the only, or even primary, component of our leadership in every instance.

"Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail," Obama told a graduation ceremony at the college.

"And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader - and especially your commander in chief - to be clear about how that awesome power should be used."

Obama said he was "haunted" by the deaths of American servicemen under his watch - including some who attended previous commencement ceremonies he had given at West Point.

Obama also made an implicit defense of his decision to call off military strikes on Syria at the last minute last year to punish chemical weapons strikes.

Critics at home and abroad warned that the decision left dangerous questions about whether Washington would stand up to "red lines" elsewhere in the world.

"I would betray my duty to you, and to the country we love, if I sent you into harm's way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed fixing, or because I was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak," he told the graduates.

Yu Wanli, a professor of international relations at Peking University, said the US military still enjoys supremacy globally, and Washington's military spending accounts for nearly half the world's total.

"As early as in 2008, Obama said during his campaign that he opposed a foreign policy that is dependant on military intervention," Yu said. "The view has been carried on till today. It was reflected in Obama's dealing with the crises in Syria and Ukraine."

In his speech, Obama also said that terrorism remained the biggest national security threat to the US and unveiled a new $5 billion fund to equip and train allies on the front lines of the struggle against terrorism, for instance in Africa.

He also defended his decision to leave nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan for a year after combat troops leave at the end of this year, and to gradually reduce the presence to a detachment of troops at the US Embassy in Kabul by the end of 2016, just before he leaves office. 


Παρασκευή, Μαρτίου 28, 2014

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as the Next NATO Secretary General

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 28, 2014:
"We welcome the selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s next Secretary General, beginning October 1, 2014.  Mr. Stoltenberg is a proven leader with a demonstrated commitment to the transatlantic Alliance.  As Prime Minister, he built Norway’s military capabilities and actively contributed to NATO operations and political dialogue.  We are confident he is the best person to ensure the continued strength and unity of the NATO Alliance.

We also are grateful for the service of current NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and will rely on his expertise to bring the Alliance through the NATO Summit in September.  Secretary General Rasmussen has been an exceptional leader at an extraordinary time.  His vision and dedication have strengthened the Alliance’s strategic direction and focus on ways to bolster defense capabilities while reinforcing the commitments and values underpinning it.  From preparing for NATO’s transition in Afghanistan, to seeing us through the intervention in Libya, and – now – to providing strong leadership in the face of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Secretary General Rasmussen has been a steadfast partner and a trusted friend of the United States throughout his tenure.  We know that Mr. Stoltenberg will prove the same."

Σάββατο, Μαρτίου 08, 2014

White House: Obama calls 6 world leaders about Ukraine crisis

KEY LARGO, Florida - President Barack Obama made a series of phone calls on Saturday to world leaders about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi the White House said.
He also held a conference call about the situation with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.


  • No further details about the discussions were immediately available. 


Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 01, 2013

Nοrth Korean Leader Makes Overture to South/ Kim Jong Un kündigt Ende der Konfrontation an

SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an end to the "confrontation" with rival South Korea on Tuesday in what appeared to be an overture to the incoming South Korean president as she was cobbling together South Korea’s new policy on the North. 

North Korea on Tuesday issued a major policy statement on New Year’s Day, following a tradition set by Mr. Kim’s late grandfather, the North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, and his late father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December last year, bequeathing the dynastic rule to Mr. Kim.

Mr. Kim was the first supreme North Korean leader to issue the statement as his personal speech since his grandfather last did so before his death in 1994. During the rule of his reclusive father, Kim Jong-il, the statement — which laid out policy guidelines for the new year and was studied by all branches of the party, state and military— was issued as a joint editorial of the country’s main official media.
Mr. Kim’s speech on Tuesday, which was broadcast through the North’s state-run television and radio stations, was another sign that the young leader was trying to imitate his grandfather Kim Il-sung, who in life was considered a more people-friendly leader and is still widely revered among North Koreans.
Although Mr. Kim inherited the key policies of his father, outside analysts see him as trying to distance himself from the ruling style of his father, Kim Jong-il, who was more feared than respected among his people and whose rule was marked by a famine.
In his speech, Mr. Kim, echoed themes of previous New Year’s  messages, emphasizing that improving the living standards of North Koreans and rejuvenating the agricultural and light industries were among the improvised country’s main priorities.
But he revealed no details of any planned economic policy changes. He only mentioned a need to "improve economic leadership and management" and "spread useful  experiences created in various work units."
Since July, various news outlets in South Korea have reported that Mr. Kim’s new regime has begun carrying out cautious economic incentives aimed at boosting productivity at farms and factories. Some reports said the state was considering letting farmers keep at least 30 percent of their yield; currently, it is believed, they are allowed to sell only a surplus beyond a government-set quota that is rarely met.
Mr. Kim also vowed to strengthen his country’s military, calling for the development of more advanced weapons. But he made no mention of relations with the United States or the international efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program. He simply reiterated that his government was willing to "expand and improve upon friendly and cooperative relationships with all countries friendly to us." 
Mr. Kim’s speech followed the successful launching of a satellite aboad a long-range rocket in December. North Korea’s propagandists have since been busy  billing the launch as a symbol of what they called the North’s soaring technological might and Mr. Kim’s peerless leadership. Washington considered it a test of long-range ballistic missile technology and a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning such tests, and is seeking more sanctions to impose on the isolated country.
But it was his allusion to relations with South Korea that marked a departure in tone.
"A key to ending the divide of the nation and achieving reunification is to end the situation of confrontation between the North and the South," Mr. Kim said. "A basic precondition to improving North-South relations and advancing national reunification is to honor and implement North-South joint declarations."
He was referring to two inter-Korean summit agreements, signed in 2000 and 2007, when the then South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were pursuing a  “Sunshine Policy” of reconciliation and economic cooperation with North Korea and met his father in Pyongyang.
As a result of those agreements, billions of dollars of South Korean investment, aid and trade flowed into the North. Billions more were promised in investments in shipyards and factory parks, as the South Korean leaders believed that economic good will was the best way of encouraging North Korea to shed its isolation and hostility while reducing the economic gap between the two Koreas and the cost of reunification in the future. 
But that warming of ties ended when conservatives came to power in Seoul with the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008. When Mr. Lee was president-elect, North Korea offered a similar overture as Tuesday’s. But Mr. Lee suspended any large aid or investment barring a significant progress toward dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons programs, and inter-Korean relations spiraled down, further aggravated by the North’s shelling of a South Korean island in 2010.  
The incoming leader of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, who is the presidential candidate of Mr. Lee’s governing party, kept the conservatives in power by winning the Dec. 19 election. She is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, the former military strongman under whose rule from 1961 till 1979 a  staunchly anti-Communist, pro-American political establishment took root in South Korea.
North Korea had engineered a couple of assassination attempts on Ms. Park’s father, one of which resulted in her mother’s death in 1974. But Ms. Park also traveled to Pyongyang in 2002 and discussed inter-Korean reconciliation with Kim Jong-il.
During her campaign for president, she said that if elected, she would decouple humanitarian aid from politics and try to hold a summit meeting with Kim Jong-un. She was in part reacting to widespread criticism in South Korea that Mr. Lee’s hard-line policy did little to change the North’s behavior.
During the campaign, however, Ms. Park stuck to Mr. Lee’s stance on the most contentious issue of large-scale investment, which the North considers crucial.
Ms. Park, like the current president, insisted that any large-scale economic investments be preceded by the “building of trust” through progress in denuclearizing North Korea.
Peace bought with “shoveling” of unrestrained aid under the Sunshine Policy was “a fake,” she said, citing the North’s long history of using military threats to win economic concessions.
North Korea called her a “confrontational maniac” and "fascist." But since her election, it has refrained from attacking her. 
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  • [EL] Τερματισμό στην κόντρα με τη Νότια Κορέα θέλει να δώσει η Πιονγκγιάνγκ

O βορειοκορεάτης ηγέτης Κιμ Γιονγκ Ουν κάλεσε σήμερα να τεθεί τέρμα στην αναμέτρηση με τη Νότια Κορέα και να υπάρξει μια ριζική στροφή που θα επιτρέψει την ανάδυση ενός "οικονομικού γίγαντα", στο πρώτο πρωτοχρονιάτικο μήνυμα βορειοκορεάτη ηγέτη τα τελευταία 19 χρόνια. Η οικονομική πολιτική πρέπει να επικεντρωθεί στη ριζική αύξηση της παραγωγής και σε βελτιώσεις στις συνθήκες διαβίωσης, ενώ άλλος σημαντικός στόχος είναι η άμβλυνση των εντάσεων με τη Νότια Κορέα, είπε ο αρχηγός του κράτους.

Είναι η πρώτη φορά που βορειοκορεάτης ηγέτης αναγιγνώσκει το μήνυμά του για τη νέα χρονιά από το 1994, όταν ο παππούς του, ο Κιμ Ιλ Σουνγκ, απηύθυνε ομιλία το έτος που απεβίωσε. Εκτοτε το πρωτοχρονιάτικο μήνυμα της ηγεσίας δημοσιοποιείται σε μορφή άρθρου στις εφημερίδες.

"Για να τερματιστεί ο διχασμός της χώρας και να επιτύχουμε την ενοποίηση είναι σημαντικό να σταματήσει η αναμέτρηση ανάμεσα στο βορρά και το νότο", δήλωσε ο νέος ηγέτης του κομμουνιστικού καθεστώτος στο μήνυμα που μεταδόθηκε από την κρατική ραδιοφωνία και την τηλεόραση. "Η ιστορία των ενδοκορεατικών σχέσεων δείχνει ότι η αναμέτρηση μεταξύ συμπατριωτών δεν οδηγεί πουθενά παρά μόνο στον πόλεμο".....................protothema.gr 1/1/12
  • [DE] Nordkorea Kim Jong Un kündigt Ende der Konfrontation an

Nordkoreas Machthaber Kim Jong Un hat sich für einen radikalen Wechsel in der Politik seines seit Jahrzehnten abgeschotteten Landes ausgesprochen. "Es ist wichtig, die Konfrontation zwischen dem Norden und dem Süden zu beenden", sagte Kim Jong Un in seiner Neujahrsbotschaft. So könne "die Teilung des Landes beendet und seine Wiedervereinigung erreicht werden". Die Vergangenheit zeige, dass Konfrontation zwischen Landsleuten zu nichts als Krieg führe.
Weiter erklärte Kim Jong Un zu seinem obersten Ziel für das neue Jahr, die Lebensbedingungen seines Volkes zu verbessern.  2013 werde ein Jahr "großer Schöpfungen und Veränderungen sein, die einen radikalen Umschwung bewirken", sagte er. Nordkorea solle zu einem "wirtschaftlichen Riesen" werden, sagte Kim Jong Un. Die Landwirtschaft und Leichtindustrie stünden dabei im Zentrum.
Der erfolgreiche Start einer Weltraumrakete in Nordkorea im Dezember soll dabei laut Kim Jong Un den Menschen als Ansporn dienen. Die USA, Südkorea und andere Staaten sehen in dem Start am 12. Dezember einen verdeckten Test für die Entwicklung von Interkontinentalraketen, die mit Atomsprengköpfen bestückt werden können. Nordkorea spricht von einem Satellitenstart zu friedlichen Zwecken.
Zugleich sagte Jin Jong Un, das Land könne sich "nur unter der Bedingung entwickeln, dass es seine militärische Macht in allen Bereichen ausbaut". Es sei dringend nötig, bessere Waffen zu konstruieren.
Erste Audiobotschaft seit 1994
Es war die erste Audiobotschaft eines nordkoreanischen Machthabers, seitdem Kim Jong Uns Großvater Kim Il Sung sich im Jahr seines Todes 1994 an die Öffentlichkeit gewandt hatte. Bislang hatte sich Kim Jong Un vor allem über Leitartikel führender, staatlicher Zeitungen zu Wort gemeldet. Kim Jong Un ist seit dem Tod seines Vaters Kim Jong Il im Dezember 2011 im Amt.
Südkorea hatte Mitte Dezember die konservative Politikerin Park Geun Hye als Präsidentin gewählt. Sie distanzierte sich von der harten Linie ihres Vorgängers Lee Myung Bak gegenüber der Regierung in Pjöngjang und sprach sich für eine stärkere Zusammenarbeit aus. Zur Voraussetzung macht sie jedoch einen Verzicht des Nordens auf sein Atomprogramm, was der aber ablehnt. Auffallend an der Neujahrsansprache war, dass genau dieses Atomprogramm keine Erwähnung fand.
Die Beziehungen zwischen den beiden Staaten sind seit dem Koreakrieg in den 1950er Jahren gespannt. Gegen Nordkorea wurden wegen seiner Atomwaffenversuche und Raketentests mehrfach UN-Sanktionen beschlossen. Die Bevölkerung Nordkoreas leidet unter extremer Armut, während die Streitkräfte des Landes zahlenmäßig stark und hochgerüstet sind.

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