Andrew Hammond

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The meeting of EU leaders in Brussels taking place on Thursday and Friday sees British Prime Minister Theresa May on the Brexit backfoot.

Despite a recent diplomatic charm offensive in Brussels, she has not moved much closer to unlocking the second phase of EU exit talks, which would see the parties discuss their future relationship -- including a potential new trade deal.

At this moment of frustration for May, one of the great ironies of the UK's vote to leave the EU last year is becoming clearer: the monumental effort and time her government now needs to devote to Brussels is more so than perhaps all previous post-war UK administrations.…  Seguir leyendo »

After years of painstaking negotiations, the climate change deal struck by leaders of 195 countries on Saturday was a diplomatic success. It represents a welcome shot in the arm for attempts to tackle global warming and, crucially, establishes a new set of guidelines for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The more-ambitious-than-expected deal will see greenhouse gas emissions peak “as soon as possible,” and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of those gases in the second half of this century, with progress reviewed every five years. Countries will attempt to limit global temperature rise to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius, the level scientists say cannot be breached if we are to avoid the worst risks of global warming.…  Seguir leyendo »

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, the most deadly violence to strike France since World War Two, world leaders are convening on Sunday and Monday for the G20 summit in Turkey. The meeting, whose agenda now includes the attacks and their aftermath, will also focus on the migrant crisis in the Middle East and Europe, and could thus become one of the most important G20 summits since the April 2009 meeting that addressed the global financial crisis.

Collectively, the G20 presidents and prime ministers lead countries that account for some 90 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade, and around 66 percent of the global population.…  Seguir leyendo »

Following his Seattle stopover, Chinese President Xi Jinping will on Thursday make a landmark state visit to the White House before heading to New York for his first ever speech to the United Nations. The trip, billed as the most important U.S. visit by a Chinese leader in a generation, is drawing massive global attention, partly because of continuing concerns about the health of the Chinese economy.

However, the reasons for the international focus on the visit go well beyond that. Some 66 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the country now has massive international prominence, and Xi enjoys growing stature and credibility as a world statesman.…  Seguir leyendo »

A supporter of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani celebrates his victory in Iran’s presidential election along a street in Tehran June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Yalda Moayeri

In a dramatic breakthrough, Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, China, Russia, France, United Kingdom and Germany — reached on Tuesday a final, comprehensive deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program while gradually easing international sanctions. Despite criticism of it, the deal is a major historic landmark that could have profound geopolitical and economic consequences in the Middle East and beyond.

The importance, complexity and tough nature of the entire 18-month talks process is underlined by the fact that John Kerry stayed for almost 3 weeks in Vienna to seal the final deal, making his engagement the longest negotiation at a single site by a U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller agreed last week on a “roadmap” for a multi-billion dollar pipeline project to transport gas from Russia to Greece.  The long-term plan is a further sign of warming geopolitical ties between Athens and Moscow, at a moment when the Greek economic crisis appears to be worsening.

In effect, Greece is now engaged in a very high stakes game of poker. It has issued a legislative decree to tap pockets of cash reserves across the public sector and has reportedly made plans to potentially nationalize the banking sector and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills in the event its cash reserves are exhausted.…  Seguir leyendo »