[Feb 7] MSEAP members this week: Dialogue for Peace, Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, Strengthening Bilateral Relations, Cooperation with International Organizations, Parliament Updates
MSEAP Members this week
Dialogue for Peace
On February 5, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced during his State of the Union address to Congress that he and Kim Jong-un of North Korea are to hold their second summit in Vietnam on February 27-28. South Korean president Moon Jae-in welcomed this announcement, and Japan said it hoped the summit would be meaningful and lead to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. During this meeting, Trump is also expected to meet China’s president Xi Jinping to finalize a trade deal before the March 1 deadline imposed by both countries in their efforts to resolve the trade war.
Representatives of Taliban met with the Afghan delegation led by former President Hamid Karzai in Moscow on February 5, despite the absence of Kabul government representatives and continued military attacks back in Afghanistan. The talks are expected to be attended by delegates from Afghan diaspora from the countries of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Europe, as well as representatives from Iran and Pakistan.
In Kuwait, the Parliament speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim traveled to Geneva on February 7 to attend a scheduled meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. Four days ago on February 3, the speaker attended a conference with the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cairo.
Qatari Speaker of the Shura (Advisory) Council, Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud, met with the president of Asia-Pacific Group in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on February 1, 2019. The meeting discussed relations between the Advisory Council and IPU’s Asia-Pacific Gropu, as well as ongoing arrangements for the 140th IPU General Assembly to be hosted by Qatar from April 6 to 10.
Strengthening Bilateral Relations
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abul Mahdi and Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz met on February 2 to discuss the implementation of cooperation agreements signed last December during Razzaz’s visit to Iraq. The deals in the agreement include renovation of the Baghdad-Amman international road and creation of a joint industrial zone at the border.
From February 5 to 6, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Turkey. Prior to the PM’s visit, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Binali Yildirim said on February 2 that Turkey aimed to “enhance friendship” and “reduce animosity” between the two countries. During his visit, PM Tsipras called on the EU to “do all it can to support Turkey” in the refugee issue, and said that both sides shold continue working for a “fair and viable solution based on UN Security Council decisions” in the Cyprus issue.
Greece is also working with Croatia to strengthen bilateral cooperation. On February 5, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic and Greek president Prokopios Pavlopoulos met to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation. The two representatives highlighted the importance of parliamentary cooperation in multilateral and regional forums, and expressed their desire to further strengthen relationships at the bilateral level.
Cooperation with International Organizations
On January 31, the 16th meeting of the Kazakhstan-European Union Parliamentary Cooperation Committee took place at the European Parliament. The event was chaired by Mukhtar Yerman, Head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Security of the Majilis (lower house of Kazakh Parliament), and Iveta Gringule-Peterse, Head of the European Parliament Delegation for Central Asia. The chairs underlined the importance of developing inter-parliamentary dialogue to enhance relations between the two parties.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak attended an informal meeting of EU, Western Balkans and Turkey foreign ministers in Bucharest on February 2. During the meeting, he welcomed the decision of Romania to keep EU enlargement policy in the Western Balkans among the priorities of the six-month presidency of the EU council, and expressed the hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina will complete the technical part of the coordination mechanism as soon as possible, in relation to BiH’s status of candidate of EU membership.
Kyrgyz Parliament Speaker Dastanbek Dzhumabekov received the head of the Programme Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bishkek Pierre von Arx on February 5, 2019. The leaders discussed issues of strengthening ties between the two parties, as well as in the framework of the partnership of the Kogorku Kenesh (the Kyrgyz Parliament) and the OSCE PA.
Russia’s Chairman of the State Duma Viacheslav Volodin said on February 5 that the draft law of the Ukrainian Parliament restricting the observer’s rights at the elections of the President of Ukraine was discriminatory and violated international law. He called the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to intervene and to “do everything to protect democracy and the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine”.
On February 6, NATO’s 29 members signed an accession agreement with Macedonia, a key step toward Skopje becoming the military alliance’s 30th member. The move followed a historic deal between Macedonia and Greece under which the former Yugoslav republic agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, removing Athens’ objections and normalizing relations between the neighbors.
Mongolian Parliament elected its new Speaker, Gombojav Zadanshatar of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), on February 1, 2019. The new speaker was elected with 95.2% of votes in the 76-seat parliament. The previous Speaker Miyegombo Enkhbold was dismissed from his post on Tuesday, January 29. The new Speaker vowed to pay special attention to unity of parliament, employment, poverty, and income inequality in the country.
Also on February 1, the Speaker of Parliament of Bulgaria Tsveta Karayanchev paid tribute to the victims of communism. Death sentences pronounced by communist People’s Court and extra-judicial killings in the 1940s accounted for an estimated 30,000 lives. Speaker Karayancheva expressed concern that the evil that ended with the fall of communism in Bulgaria three decades ago was seeking to return.
In Myanmar, nearly 67% of Union Parliament lawmakers voted on February 5 to form a committee to draft amendments to Myanmar’s undemocratic Constitution. Following the vote, Speaker U T Khun Myat announced that the committee would be chaired by Deputy Speaker U Tun Tun Hein, comprise an equal number of lawmakers from both houses of Parliament, and include military representatives and independents.
The Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani said on February 6 that the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khameini has ordered for reforms in the country’s energy structure within the next four months, with an aim to improve people’s livelihood. In addition, the Speaker called for the use of opportunities in the sanctions era to serve the self-sufficiency of the country’s economy.
BY MSEAP Cyber Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org)