African Press International (API)

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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Good news: Syria has announced that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

Welcome agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons

“I welcome the agreement reached by Russia and the US on the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons. This is a breakthrough for diplomacy in what has been a deadlocked conflict. Russia and the US must be commended for their efforts to achieve this agreement. I hope this will be the first step in a new diplomatic initiative to bring the civil war in Syria to an end,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The US and Russia announced on Saturday that they had reached agreement on how the Syrian regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons is to be destroyed. Under the deal, Syria has to provide details of its chemical weapons, including where they are located, within a week. Failure on the part of the Assad regime to comply could lead to a UN Security Council resolution that opens up for the use of force.

Norway, together with the rest of the world, has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria. At the same time, we have emphasised that it is the Security Council’s responsibility to respond to serious violations of international law. This agreement makes it very clear that the use of chemical weapons will not be accepted by the international community. And the fact that the US and Russia have agreed that further steps must be endorsed by the Security Council is important in itself,” said Mr Eide.

Syria announced Friday (13th of september) that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Syria already had extensive obligations under international law. All the same, it is a positive sign that Syria has now announced that it wants to join the Convention, and it is one of the last countries to do so. It is crucial that the Syrian authorities now cooperate fully with the international community to reach a rapid solution to the present situation. This also applies to other issues in addition to the obligations Syria is taking on under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” commented Mr Eide.

 

As a member of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Norway will continue its efforts to persuade the small number of states that still have not joined the convention to do so as soon as possible.

 

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The world has recorded quite a few droughts in recent years

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

The world has also recorded quite a few droughts in recent years

JOHANNESBURG,  – As the latest Superman movie – which shows the superhero’s home planet being destroyed by the unsustainable use of its natural resources – hits theatres, a new report reveals that the earth is warming faster than ever in recorded history.

The report, released today, is based on an analysis of temperature and precipitation data recorded from 2001 to 2010.

Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which did the analysis, said in a statement, “Global warming accelerated in the four decades of 1971 to 2010… The decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat.”

“The 2001-2010 decade was the warmest since modern meteorological records began (around 1850) for both land-only and ocean-only surface temperatures”

He continued: “Natural climate variability, caused in part by interactions between our atmosphere and oceans – as evidenced by El Niño and La Niña events – means that some years are cooler than others. On an annual basis, the global temperature curve is not a smooth one. On a long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction, more so in recent times.”

Some key findings from the analysis include:

1. The 2001-2010 decade was the warmest since modern meteorological records began (around 1850) for both land-only and ocean-only surface temperatures.

2. Over the past four decades (1971-2010), the global temperature increased at an average estimated rate of 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade, while the trend from 1880-2010 had been only 0.062 degrees per decade.

3. Nine of the years in the 2001-2010 decade were among the 10 warmest years on record. The warmest year ever recorded was 2010, the year Russia experienced a severe heat wave that killed about 55,000 people. It was also the wettest on record, with Pakistan experiencing one of the worst floods in recent times, claiming 2,000 lives.

4. The high temperatures caused widespread melting of Arctic ice and the thermal expansion of sea water, causing global mean sea levels to rise by an estimated 3mm per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year. “Global sea level, averaged over the decade, was about 20cm higher than that of 1880,” the report says.

5. If this trend continues, melting ice sheets will contribute more to sea level rise in the 21st century than any other factor.

6. The world’s glaciers lost more mass in 2001-2010 than in any decade since records began.

7. Nearly 94 percent of countries whose data were assessed had their warmest decade in 2001-2010.

8. Africa experienced warmer-than-normal conditions in every year of 2001-2010.

9. Floods were the most frequently experienced extreme event over the course of the decade.

10. The decade saw the most tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Basin since 1855.

jk/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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Norway welcomes President Obama’s new nuclear disarmament initiative

Posted by African Press International on June 23, 2013

“I am pleased that the US is now seeking further cuts in deployed strategic nuclear weapons,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

In a speech in Berlin on Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would negotiate with Russia with a view to reducing US strategic nuclear weapons by up to a third. The new initiative was launched shortly after President Obama’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

The initiative is consistent with President Obama’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, which he launched in a speech in Prague in 2009, and will build on the progress already achieved with the New START Treaty in 2010.

President Obama also said that he would seek mutual bold reductions in tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. This is a category of nuclear weapons that is currently not covered by any disarmament agreement.

“We welcome the fact that President Obama intends to work with NATO allies to cut the number of short-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Together with Poland and other allies, Norway has put this topic on the Alliance’s agenda, and we are ready to work together with the US on this issue,” Mr Eide said.

 

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Norway welcomes President Obama’s new nuclear disarmament initiative

Posted by African Press International on June 21, 2013

“I am pleased that the US is now seeking further cuts in deployed strategic nuclear weapons,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

In a speech in Berlin on Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would negotiate with Russia with a view to reducing US strategic nuclear weapons by up to a third. The new initiative was launched shortly after President Obama’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

The initiative is consistent with President Obama’s vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, which he launched in a speech in Prague in 2009, and will build on the progress already achieved with the New START Treaty in 2010.

President Obama also said that he would seek mutual bold reductions in tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. This is a category of nuclear weapons that is currently not covered by any disarmament agreement.

“We welcome the fact that President Obama intends to work with NATO allies to cut the number of short-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Together with Poland and other allies, Norway has put this topic on the Alliance’s agenda, and we are ready to work together with the US on this issue,” Mr Eide said.

 

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Foreign Minister Eide critical of new Russian bill against gay “propaganda”

Posted by African Press International on June 19, 2013

“I am concerned by the fact that the Russian State Duma recently passed a bill that prohibits the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” aimed at under-18s. This is yet another example of respect for minorities being eroded in Eastern Europe,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The bill was first presented to the State Duma in January. Before it can become law, it must be passed by the Federation Council and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

“I am concerned that the bill, in practice, criminalises the provision of information about homosexuality and openness about gay relationships. It contributes to the marginalisation of sexual minorities in Russia, and in specific cases it may come into conflict with fundamental human rights. Human rights apply to all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Mr Eide.

Developments in Russia must be viewed in the context of the situation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community (LGBT) in Eastern Europe in general. Similar bills were presented in Lithuania in 2010 and in Ukraine in 2012. The Council of Europe has adopted clear recommendations to member states on measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and on ensuring the freedom of association and of expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and organisations.

“As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia has an obligation to respect sexual minorities. Norway has raised this issue directly with the Russian authorities and in meetings of the Council of Europe,” Mr Eide said.

Norway also provides financial support for strengthening the Council of Europe’s efforts to protect the rights of sexual minorities.

 

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Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe

Posted by African Press International on April 1, 2013

The Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe will be convened on 3-5 April 2013 in Saint Petersburg, the Russian Federation.

During these days the members of the Committee are expected to further advance the draft negotiating text, inter alia, general provisions, terms and definitions, finance and secretariat arrangements, including possible interim solutions.

The Committee will consider possibilities for bringing the agreement under the United Nations umbrella.

 

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