Порошенко подякував Трампу і Помпео за «надійне плече підтримки»

Президент України Петро Порошенко назвав «обнадійливими» результати роботи відновленої після тривалої паузи українсько-американської Комісії стратегічного партнерства.

«Вдячний президенту Трампу, держсекретареві Помпео та всім американським друзям за надійне плече підтримки і непохитну солідарність з Україною! Закладено надійну основу для нарощування успіху нашої двосторонньої співпраці в політичній, безпековій, оборонній, інвестиційно-економічній та енергетичній галузях», – вказав Порошенко.

За його словами, спільна заява, ухвалена за результатами засідання, «відкриває широкі горизонти партнерства – від спільної протидії російській агресії та зміцнення політики міжнародних санкцій проти Кремля, підтримку інтеграції в НАТО – до зміцнення торговельних відносин, збільшення інвестицій, посилення військового співробітництва та протидії російській енергетичній експансії».

«Ніколи в історії українсько-американські взаємини не були настільки міцними, плідними та багатообіцяючими», – відзначив президент України.

Учасник засідання Комісії стратегічного партнерства, міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін заявив, що має «гарний настрій» після зустрічей у Вашингтоні.

«Вчора Майк Помпео сказав: «В України немає кращого друга ніж США. Ми з вами!» У цьому і є сенс нашего стратегічного партнерства. Українці вважають США найкращим другом і союзником», – наголосив Клімкін у мережі Twitter.

На зустрічі з Клімкіним 16 листопада Помпео наголосив, що США ніколи не погодяться зі спробою Росії анексувати український Крим. «Ми й надалі будемо запроваджувати наслідки для Росії, поки Москва повністю не виконає Мінські угоди і не поверне контроль над Кримом Україні», – заявив держсекретар.

Клімкін, зі свого боку, повідомив, що Україна та США «стоять пліч-о-пліч в боротьбі з російською агресією». Він зазначив, що така агресія має багато форм – це як анексія Криму та війна на сході України, так і зусилля Росії, спрямовані на те, щоб підірвати демократичні інститути в США і Європі. Сама Росія відкидає ці звинувачення.

У березні 2014 року Росія анексувала український півострів Крим. Міжнародні організації визнали анексію Криму незаконною і засудили дії Росії, країни Заходу запровадили проти неї економічні санкції. Кремль заперечує анексію півострова і називає це «відновленням історичної справедливості».

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської анексії Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці сепаратистів. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці». За даними ООН, за час конфлікту загинули понад 10 300 людей.

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Медведчук повідомив про висунення Бойка кандидатом у президенти України

«Наше об’єднання… буде на президентських, парламентських і місцевих виборах представляти інтереси жителів Південного Сходу…»

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Arab Media Report IS Fighters, Family Members Killed in US Coalition Airstrikes in Syria

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed more than 40 people in the village of Abu Husn in the region of Deir el-Zor, near the Iraqi border.

Arab media announced the deaths of several dozen people, most of whom appeared to have been Islamic State group fighters, during bitter fighting in the Deir el-Zor region of eastern Syria, not far from the Iraqi border.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that about three dozen Islamic State fighters were killed in the airstrikes on the village of Abu Husn. A number of civilians and family members of the IS fighters also were killed.

Abdel Rahman insisted that “it was the highest death toll in coalition airstrikes since (U.S.-aligned Kurdish fighters) launched their attack against this (particular northeastern Syrian) Islamic State pocket in September.

U.S. Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan told the French news agency earlier this week “the avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions.”

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, tells VOA that bad weather conditions in recent days have allowed IS fighters to gain ground against the U.S.-led alliance of Kurdish SDF fighters, alongside U.S. and French forces, prompting strong efforts to push them back.

He says that the final pockets of Islamic State fighters have taken advantage of poor weather conditions (and cloud cover) to capture positions and equipment belonging to the U.S. coalition, prompting fierce fighting in an effort to recapture lost ground.

Abou Diab says the Islamic State pocket in the region of Deir el-Zour is one of several he says are supported by different countries involved in the Syria conflict. He argues that a separate Islamic State faction, supported by the Syrian government, has been involved in attacking Druze civilians and holding them hostage in the southern region of Sweida.

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Taliban ‘Optimistic’ About Dialogue With U Son Afghan Peace

The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has held another round of marathon discussions with Qatar-based Taliban officials to push for a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year war.

Khalilzad’s three days of meetings with the Islamist insurgency concluded on Friday and both sides were “optimistic about the dialogue process,” multiple Taliban sources said Saturday.

Neither side, however, has officially confirmed or released details of this week’s talks in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation, which houses the so-called “political office” of the Afghan Taliban.

 

This was Khalilzad’s second interaction with the Taliban in more than a month. The Trump administration appointed him to the office in September with the goal of bringing the Afghan government and the insurgent group to the negotiating table.

Insurgent sources noted that former prisoners of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention center, Mullah Fazal and Mullah Khairkhaw, also joined the Taliban delegation in talks with the U.S. team.

The Taliban says its dialogue process with Washington is aimed at securing a timetable for the withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan to pave the way for an intra-Afghan dialogue.

“When we reach a solution about the pullout of all their forces then we enter a second phase (of discussions) among Afghans (themselves) on how to bring about peace and form a government in Afghanistan,” Sohail Shaheen, who speaks for the Taliban’s Qatar office, told reporters in Moscow last week.

Shaheen was in the Russian capital as part of a five-member Taliban delegation that attended for the first time an international conference Russia hosted to discuss Afghan peace efforts.

The insurgent group says in meetings with the U.S., it also is seeking the release of its prisoners and the removal of international travel restrictions on senior Taliban leaders.

After last month’s meetings with Afghan officials and Taliban representatives, Khalilzad had called for both sides to form their respective authorized teams for peace talks.

 

Since then, the Taliban has inducted into its Doha “political office” five senior insurgent leaders, who were swapped for the freedom of an American hostage in 2014. The United States released the men from its Guantanamo detention center to authorities in Qatar, in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier taken prisoner by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

For his part, Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has been holding discussions with leaders and representatives of Afghan political parties, as well as civil society organizations for the formation of an “advisory council and a negotiating team.”

Ghani’s office said Saturday the meetings will continue for several more days and the government is determined to proceed with a peace process based on national consensus.

It quoted the president as cautioning “the route to peace is full of obstacles, and we need to be ready to employ all available tools for gaining a positive outcome.”

Speaking this week via video link to an audience in Washington, the Afghan president appeared upbeat about the prospects of peace talks. Responding to domestic critics that the U.S. has not taken Kabul into its confidence before opening talk with the Taliban, Ghani noted that many of the ideas and the plans Khalilzad is discussing with the Taliban actually have come from the Afghan government.

“The U.S. engagement (with the Taliban) is to ensure that talks with the Taliban result not in negotiations with (the) Taliban but direct talks between the Afghan government and (the) Taliban,” Ghani said.

The president said his government is prepared to tackle all the issues on the negotiating table to try to bring an end to the deadly war in Afghanistan. He disclosed in his speech that since 2015, his government security forces have lost more than 28,500 personnel in the battle with the Taliban but Ghani denied the insurgents were in a winning position on the battlefield.

A senior Afghan peace negotiator who met Khalilzad during his recent trip told reporters in Kabul the American envoy has been given six months to produce an outcome for the U.S. administration.

Khalilzad’s office has neither commented on these assertions nor onengagements with the Taliban.

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Trump Defends Deployment of US Troops Sent to Southern Border

U.S. President Donald Trump again defended sending U.S. troops to the southern border with Mexico, questioning the migrants’ motives for making the perilous journey, citing a strong U.S. economy.

Speaking with reporters at the White House House Saturday morning before departing for California to tour the devastation from wildfires burning in the state, the president said, “Yeah, we have a tremendous military force in the south, on the border, on the southern border. We have large numbers of people trying to get into our country. I must say the reason it’s increased so much is because we’re doing so well as opposed to the rest of the world. And if you look at south of our border, it’s not doing so well.

“But regardless, we have millions of people on line to get into our country legally, and those people have preference. They have to have preference. They’ve been waiting for a long time, they’ve done it legally.”

 

Trump continued, “They’re coming up and they’re talking about, oh, their great fear, oh, their problems with their country, but they’re all waving their country’s flag. What is that all about? If they have such fear and such problems and they hate their country, why do we see all the flags being waved for Guatemala, for Honduras, for El Salvador? We’re seeing flags all over the place. Why are they waving flags? This has nothing to do with asylum, this has to do with getting into our country illegally. And we have to know who wants to come into our country.”

The number of U.S. troops on the border with Mexico has reached its upper limit, top Pentagon officials said earlier this week.  

More than 5,800 active duty and 2,100 National Guard troops are currently deployed to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection strengthen barriers, build housing, operate aircraft and other activities intended to help the U.S. Border Patrol.  Earlier this week, President Trump said the force might be larger.   

“We’re pretty much peaked in terms of the number of people that are down there,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.

The troops were sent to the U.S. southern border at the request of the Department of Homeland Security. Shanahan said the troops may stay through Dec. 15. The military is legally prohibited from domestic law enforcement, such as arresting migrants crossing the border. 

 

In the meantime, several hundred Central American migrants arrived midweek in the Mexican border city of Tijuana after a month of traveling away from poverty and violence at home, in hopes of entering the United States.

About 800 migrants are now in Tijuana. Many said they would stay there and wait for the rest of their caravan to arrive and for leaders to advise them of their options for seeking asylum in the United States.Some of the early arrivals went to the border fence to celebrate.

The migrants in Tijuana got a generally warm greeting from locals, but some were met with hostility from an upper middle-class beach neighborhood.

Residents shouted, “You’re not welcome!” and “Get out!” to a group of about 100 Central Americans. Police kept the two sides apart. One protester said the hostility had nothing to do with race, but with safety.

A Tijuana city official said the city is not prepared for such a large number of arrivals. Most migrant shelters are already full. The official said she hopes the Mexican federal government will offer the migrants asylum and jobs.

The bulk of the migrant caravan of about 4,000 people, mostly Honduras, is making its way through the state of Sonora and is expected to arrive soon in Tijuana.

The San Ysidro port linking Tijuana to the U.S. city of San Diego, is the busiest crossing on the border. But it only processes about 100 asylum claims per day, meaning those in the caravan who seek that route face a long wait.

Trump has sharply criticized the caravans, casting them as a “national emergency.”He signed a proclamation last week declaring migrants who enter the country illegally ineligible for asylum.That goes against federal laws stating anyone is eligible for asylum, no matter how he or she entered the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups quickly filed a legal challenge and sought an injunction against the new rules while the case makes its way through the courts.A federal judge has set a hearing on the injunction for Nov. 19.

In addition to the caravan at or nearing the border, two others have made their way to Mexico City with more than 2,000 people.

Mexico said last week it had issued about 2,700 temporary visas to individuals and families, allowing them to work while their refugee applications proceed.

VOA Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb contributed to this story.

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Радіо Свобода знайшло матеріали КДБ щодо родини Віктора Медведчука

Працюючи з архівно-слідчими матеріалами щодо репресованих українців, Радіо Свобода знайшло та проаналізувало справу батька Віктора Медведчука Володимира та низку раніше невідомих документів КДБ, пов’язаних з нею.

Журналісти встановили, що засуджений у 1944-му на 8 років таборів і 4 роки обмеження у правах Володимир Медведчук під час німецької окупації його рідного села Корнин, що на Житомирщині, добровільно пішов працювати в райуправу, де був статистиком у земельному відділі, а потім рахівником у фінвідділі. Зі слів ще одного підозрюваного в цій справі Валентина Превара, Медведчук також два тижні працював у нього, начальника трудового відділу, писарем.

Радянський суд ухвалив вирок батьку Віктора Медведчука за співпрацю з ОУН. Утім, журналісти на підставі аналізу архівних документів встановили, що він, якщо і був у націоналістичному підпіллі, то мав незначну роль.

Окрім того, авторам розслідування вдалося знайти матеріали, які доводять, що справою Володимира Медведчука цікавилася не тільки радянська, а згодом і українська військові прокуратури, але й МВС УРСР, ГПУ і неодноразово Комітет державної безпеки СРСР.

«Враховуючи, що Володимир на той час уже помер, цими документами, очевидно, цікавилися вже з огляду на його синів», – зазначають журналісти.

Наприклад, у 1978 році справу Володимира Медведчука піднімали саме через діяльність його сина Віктора, який у той час розпочинав свою кар’єру як адвокат Київської міської колегії адвокатів. Такий висновок автори розслідування роблять на підставі того, що справу вивчали представники 5-го управління Комітету держбезпеки, яке, зокрема, займалося дисидентами, і пізніше Віктор Медведчук уже сам брав участь у політичних процесах над інакодумцями як державний захисник.

«Починаючи з 1978 року і аж до розпаду СРСР, ім’я Віктора Медведчука неодноразово згадувалось в оперативному внутрішньому листуванні кадебістів, і деякі з її епізодів дають підстави припускати, що такий інтерес КДБ до цієї персони міг бути невипадковим», – зазначають журналісти.

Сам Віктор Медведчук натомість неодноразово заявляв про те, що саме через минуле його батька він не міг досягнути за часів СРСР того, чого хотів.

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Report: CIA Concludes Saudi Prince Ordered Journalist’s Killing

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, The Washington Post reported Friday, a finding that contradicted Saudi government assertions that he was not involved. 

The Post said U.S. officials had expressed high confidence in the CIA assessment, which was the most definitive to date linking Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler to the killing and complicated President Donald Trump’s efforts to preserve U.S. ties with one of the closest American allies in the region. 

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the accuracy of the report, but a source familiar with U.S. intelligence assessments told Reuters U.S. government experts assessed with confidence that the crown prince had ordered the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death. The Saudi government denied the allegation. 

The White House declined to comment on the Post report, saying it was an intelligence matter. The State Department also declined to comment. 

Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for the Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 when he went there to pick up documents he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman. 

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, had resisted pressure from Riyadh for him to return home. Saudi officials have said a team of 15 Saudi nationals were sent to confront Khashoggi at the consulate and that he was accidentally killed in a chokehold by men who were trying to force him to return to the kingdom. 

Pressure on Saudis

Turkish officials have said the killing was intentional and have been pressuring Saudi Arabia to extradite those responsible to stand trial. An adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of trying to cover up the killing. 

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said he was seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in Khashoggi’s killing. The Saudi prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, told reporters the Saudi crown prince knew nothing of the operation, in which Khashoggi’s body was dismembered and removed from the consulate. 

The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA reached its conclusions after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi. 

Khalid told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said. 

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the call, said it was not clear whether Khalid knew Khashoggi would be killed but that he made the call at his brother’s direction. 

‘I never talked to him’

Khalid bin Salman said in a Twitter post on Friday that the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on Oct. 26, 2017, nearly a year before the journalist’s death. 

“I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the U.S. government to release any information regarding this claim,” he said in his Twitter message.  

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Late US Senator McCain Honored for Defending Russian Human Rights

U.S. Sen. John McCain was posthumously given the 2018 Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Award in a ceremony in London on Thursday night. The award recognizes those who have fought for human rights in Russia and is named after a lawyer who was killed in a Moscow jail in 2009.

John McCain’s daughter Meghan accepted the award on behalf of her late father. In a speech she contrasted his legacy with what she called the “bloody-handed dictator of Russia.”

“John McCain defended and vindicated the memory of ordinary men and women with integrity, like Sergei Magnitsky. Vladimir Putin has them murdered. John McCain was a strong man. Vladimir Putin is weak man’s idea of a strong man. John McCain on his death was remembered with gratitude and praised by the nation he served and loved. Vladimir Putin knows well that the greatest risk to his own life is his own people, and that he will be remembered as a tyrant and a thief,” Meghan McCain told the audience in London.

John McCain became a prominent critic of Donald Trump’s dealings with Russian leader Putin, criticism that the U.S. president strongly rejected.

McCain died in August from brain cancer at age 81.

Several other awards were made Thursday night, including to Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and to the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year jail term in Russia.

Magnitsky was beaten to death in police custody in 2009 after investigating a $230 million tax fraud allegedly carried out by senior Russian officials.

Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, employed Magnitsky to investigate the fraud. He campaigned for the U.S. to adopt the Magnitsky Act in 2012, which allows the withholding of visas and the freezing of assets of human rights offenders. John McCain was key in pushing the legislation through Congress. Several other countries have since adopted similar legislation, including Canada and Britain.

“And so starting next year, we’re not just going to honor Russian heroes, but in the spirit of the global Magnitsky Act, we’re going to honor heroes from around the world,” Browder said Thursday night.

Meanwhile this week, the United States used the Magnitsky Act to sanction 17 Saudi officials accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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