MOSCOW, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday that a new US bill on sanctions against Moscow does not bode well for Russia's relations with the United States.
The US Congress published on Tuesday the text of a bipartisan bill that among other things includes restrictions on investment in new Russian sovereign debt and bans several state-run Russian banks from operating in the United States.
"We maintain our stance on these restrictive measures. This does not bode well for the bilateral relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a conference call.
ISTANBUL, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey will boycott electronic products from the United States, retaliating in a dispute with Washington that has helped drive the lira to record lows.
The lira has lost more than 40 per cent this year and crashed to an all-time low of 7.24 to the dollar on Monday, hit by worries over Erdogan's calls for lower interest rates and worsening ties with the United States.
The weakness of the Turkish currency has rippled through global markets. Its drop of as much as 18 per cent on Friday hit US and European stocks as investors fretted about banks' exposure to Turkey.
On Tuesday the lira recovered some ground, trading at 6.53 to the dollar at 09:18 GMT, up around five per cent on the day.
It was supported by news of a planned conference call in which the finance minister will seek to reassure investors concerned by Erdogan's control of the economy and his resistance to interest rate hikes to tackle double-digit inflation .
Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency.
"Together with our people, we will stand decisively against the dollar, forex prices, inflation and interest rates. We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together," he told members of his AK Party in a speech.
"We will impose a boycott on US electronic products. If they have iPhones, there is Samsung on the other side, and we have our own Vestel here," he said, referring to the Turkish electronics company, whose shares rose five per cent.
The United States has imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the trial on terrorism charges of a US evangelical pastor in Turkey, and last week Washington raised tariffs on Turkish metal exports.
Erdogan said his government would offer further incentives to companies planning to invest in Turkey and said firms should not be put off by economic uncertainty.
"If we postpone our investments, if we convert our currency to foreign exchange because there's danger, then we will have given into the enemy," he said.
Los Angeles, August l4, 20l8 (News Wires) - Taiwan's president has given a speech in the United States -- the first time in 15 years that a leader of the island has spoken publicly on American soil -- in a move likely to anger Beijing.
During a stopover en route to Paraguay, Tsai Ing-wen, whose government refuses to endorse Beijing's view that Taiwan is part of China, vowed to defend democratic values.
"We will keep our pledge that we are willing to jointly promote regional stability and peace under the principles of national interests, freedom and democracy," she said on Monday.
China views Taiwan as part of its own territory -- to be reunified by force if necessary -- even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.
Beijing is always swift to condemn any move that could be interpreted as de facto diplomatic recognition of the government in Taipei and has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), came to power in 2016.
Tsai made her speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, whose namesake she praised for his contribution to Taiwan-US relations, including a commitment not to pressure Taipei to negotiate with Beijing.
Her transit in Los Angeles was the most high-profile since former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian's 2003 stopover in New York, where he accepted a human rights award and delivered several public speeches.
Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979, but it remains the island's biggest arms supplier and most important unofficial ally.
Ties have warmed further since Donald Trump came to power, and were further bolstered by the passage this week of the National Defence Authorisation Act, which includes a commitment to military support of Taiwan.
Last month, the US sent two warships into the Taiwan Strait. That followed a string of military drills staged by Beijing around the island.
Chinese state newspaper Global Times accused the US and Taiwan of "shady dealings", warning that the mainland was capable of giving the Taiwanese authorities "a drastic punishment".
Tsai's trip to Paraguay comes as Taiwan seeks to firm up ties with its dwindling band of diplomatic allies, whose number fell to 18 after Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic switched recognition to Beijing in May.
Under pressure from Beijing, a growing number of international airlines and companies have also edited their websites to refer to the territory as "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei".
ISTANBUL, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Turkey has done enough to repair its ties with the United States, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, adding that Washington had acted contrary to their alliance regarding fundamental security issues.
Cavusoglu made the comments during a speech to ambassadors in Ankara. He also said the United States should learn that it will not achieve any results by threatening Turkey.
ANKARA, August 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticised the government for economic mismanagement after US imposed biting sanctions on the country, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.
"More than (US) sanctions, economic mismanagement is putting pressure on ordinary Iranians ... I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management," Khamenei was quoted as saying.
The United States reimposed strict sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, with Trump threatening to penalise businesses from third countries that continue to operate in the Islamic Republic. Iran has denounced the sanctions as "US unilateralism".
LONDON, August 12, 2018 (Reuters) - The United States urged Britain on Sunday to ditch its support for a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and instead join forces with Washington to counter the global threat it says Tehran poses.
Despite opposition from European allies, U.S. President Trump in May pulled the United States out of a deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.
Since then, Britain, France and Germany have sought to keep the deal alive, while Trump has prepared new sanctions, saying a broader and more balanced deal is needed. Iran has denounced the sanctions as "U.S. unilateralism".
U.S. Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson criticized Tehran for funding "proxy wars and malign activities" instead of investing in its economy. He said Iran needed to make tangible and sustained changes to behave like a normal country.
"Until then, America is turning up the pressure and we want the UK by our side," Johnson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
"It is time to move on from the flawed 2015 deal. We are asking global Britain to use its considerable diplomatic power and influence and join us as we lead a concerted global effort towards a genuinely comprehensive agreement."
Asked about Johnson's article, the British foreign office pointed to comments from Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who last week ruled out Britain going along with the United States.
Burt said the deal was an important part of regional security and that, with the European Union, the government was trying to protect British companies from the U.S. sanctions when dealing with Iran. Britain remained open to talks with the United States on how to address concerns about Iran.