PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VISITED MARIUPOL
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Mariupol late on Saturday and overnight into Sunday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Sunday.
"It was late - late yesterday and last night in fact," he said when asked a respective question.
Putin also plans visits to a number of the country’s regions in coming 2-3 weeks, Peskov added.
"The president has plans to visit regions in coming 2-3 weeks," he said.
Putin will give instructions on solving the issues of Mariupol residents that he was told about, Peskov told TASS on Sunday.
"When speaking with President Mariupol residents raised issues related to pay pauses, registration of the Russian citizenship and Russian passports. President will give instructions to tackle those issues," he said.
SERBIA, KOSOVO AGREE ON SEQUENCE OF MEASURES TO NORMALIZE TIES
Serbia and Kosovo have agreed on the sequence of measures to normalize bilateral relations, the first of them being Kosovo’s implementation of its commitments regarding self-management of Serbian communities in Kosovo, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell told reporters early on Sunday.
"I am glad to announce that finally, after 12 hours [of negotiations] we have a deal," the EU foreign policy chief said after the 12-hour EU-mediated talks with the prime minister of the unrecognized Kosovo republic, Albin Kurti, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. "Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on implementation annex of the Agreement on the path of normalization of relations between them."
"Kosovo has agreed to launch immediately - and when I’m saying immediately, I mean immediately - negotiations within European Union-facilitated dialogue on establishing specific arrangements and guarantees to ensure an appropriate level of self-management for the Serbian communities in Kosovo," he added.
"What the parties have accepted: the agreement [reached in Brussels on February 27] and its implementation through the annex will become an integral part of their respective European Union paths," Borrell continued.
He said he would immediately begin work to include all those provisions into official documents within the framework of Kosovo and Serbia’s admission process.
Borrell added that the sides decided not to sign the deal, although they agreed to start implementing it. Therefore, the EU official continued, "the annex and the agreement are considered adopted through my statement that will be published [soon]," but not through a joint statement signed by all parties, as was initially planned.
ASADOV CALLED FOR CONSUMPTIVE USE OF WATER RESOURCES
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov called on residents to use water resources sparingly.
“Water security has become one of the most important issues against the backdrop of climate change, reduction of surface water from neighboring countries, population growth, and economic development,” Asadov said.
The media report that citizens in Azerbaijan regularly hold protests against the lack of water. Recently, the residents of Saatly District tried to block the highway leading to Baku, they claimed that the agricultural land has not received water for a long time. The police used force against the protesters. There are injuries and arrests.
ANKARA AND CAIRO EXPECT TO DEVELOP RELATIONS
Ankara and Cairo agreed to maximize the diplomatic relations that were stalled after the 2013 military coup in Egypt, according to Turkey’s foreign minister, Anadolu reports.
"We agreed to maximize our diplomatic relations. We have evaluated what steps we will take in the next process. I invited him (Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry) to Ankara. I said that I wanted to host him, especially during the month of Ramadan," Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.
Cavusoglu's remarks came after he met with Shoukry in the capital Cairo on Saturday, where the two ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional and international issues.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Egypt have been at the level of charges d'affaires on both sides since Egypt's 2013 military coup which overthrew the late President Mohammed Morsi.
Cavusoglu is the first foreign minister to visit Egypt from Turkey in 11 years.
About the appointment of ambassadors, Cavusoglu said it was previously planned that if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi got together, they would announce it.
"We were expecting the highest level of the announcement. If the (presidents') meeting is delayed after the election (in Turkey), we will consult again. We will decide on this soon. But we have already announced at the news conference that we have started this process," he added.
After the Feb. 6 quakes in Turkey, Shoukry visited the quake-hit Adana and Mersin provinces, and his visit to Turkey was the first by an Egyptian foreign minister in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, al-Sisi was among the leaders who made a phone call with Erdogan following the earthquakes, offering his condolences to the quake victims.
Cavusoglu said they have discussed ways to develop bilateral relations and "discussed existing matters, issues to overcome."
"We exchanged views, especially on regional issues. Then we held a meeting between delegations and discussed everything. In other words, we touched on all matters from energy, shipping, transportation to our companies, and investments here," he said, adding that topics related to "energy, logistics, education, and culture" were also addressed.
Noting that the Egyptian side wants Turkish companies to increase their investments in Egypt, Cavusoglu said the bilateral trade volume currently nears $10 billion.
PROTESTS CONTINUE IN FRANCE
Protests continued in France on Sunday over What pension reforms with President Emanuel Macron's government set to face no-confidence motions in the National Assembly on Monday. Thousands have taken to the streets of Paris in the past week over the government's decision to raise the state pension age without a parliamentary vote. Multiple refinery strikes are also taking place across France.
The upper house of Parliament, the Senate, approved the Bill on Thursday morning. But the more powerful National Assembly - where Macron's party and its allies hold only a slim majority - did not have enough votes to pass the Bill.
The official retirement age is being raised from 62 to 64 and increases the number of years people must pay into the system to receive a full pension. The change will be gradual with the retirement age increasing by three months each year, starting from September until 2030.
Macron has argued that requiring people in France to work two more years is needed to invigorate the country's economy and to prevent its pension system from falling into a deficit as the population ages.
PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL AND US PRESIDENT TALKED ON PHONE
US President Joe Biden raised his concerns with the judicial overhaul being advanced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government during a “candid and constructive” phone call with the premier on Sunday, according to a senior US administration official, The Times of Israel reports.
Biden reiterated previously voiced US calls for the Netanyahu government to secure “as broad a consensus as possible” for the fundamental changes aimed at curbing the High Court of Justice’s powers, the administration official said, and also expressed support for President Isaac Herzog’s efforts toward a compromise between the hardline coalition and the wide-ranging opposition.
Herzog has presented an alternative framework to the contentious package of legislation, a proposal that was quickly rejected by the coalition.
“The president underscored his belief that democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the US-Israel relationship, that democratic societies are strengthened by genuine checks and balances, and that fundamental changes should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support,” according to a White House readout. “The President offered support for efforts underway to forge a compromise on proposed judicial reforms consistent with those core principles.”
According to the Israeli readout, Netanyahu responded to Biden “that Israel was, and will remain, a strong and vibrant democracy.”