Germany disappointed by May’s Brexit plan, suggests second referendum

Britain and the EU sealed a divorce deal in November after months of tense negotiations, despite increasing opposition against Brexit. (AP)
Updated 22 January 2019

Germany disappointed by May’s Brexit plan, suggests second referendum

  • ‘Yes, I’m disappointed ... that’s not the way forward’
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she would do all she could to make sure Britain leaves the EU with an agreement.

BERLIN: German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said on Tuesday she was disappointed by British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to break a deadlock over Brexit and suggested Britain hold a second referendum.
May on Monday sought to break the parliamentary impasse over Britain’s exit from the European Union by proposing to seek further concessions from the EU on a plan to prevent customs checks on the Irish border.
“Yes, I’m disappointed ... that’s not the way forward,” Barley told Deutschlandfunk radio. She said May had missed an opportunity to drum up support for the Brexit deal agreed with the EU.
Barley, who has both German and British citizenship, said the draft deal would not be changed. But she added there could be leeway in terms of time if there was a second referendum. “This could pacify the situation,” she said.
Michael Roth, German minister for European affairs, also expressed his disappointment with May’s speech, saying on Twitter: “Where is the plan B? Just asking for a friend ...”
A German government spokesman said late on Monday that Germany continued to advocate for an orderly exit and that it expected the British government to agree soon on proposals that are backed by a majority of parliament.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would do all she could to make sure Britain leaves the EU with an agreement.


Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

Updated 22 August 2019

Taliban talks resume amid hopes of deal

  • The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday
  • Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month

DOHA: The US and the Taliban met in Doha on Thursday, an American source close to the talks said, for potentially decisive dialogue to allow Washington to drawdown militarily in Afghanistan.
The source said the talks started around 1300 GMT — the ninth time the two foes have met face-to-face.
The disclosure came in a context of ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan after NATO said two US military personnel were killed Wednesday, blasts rocked Jalalabad Monday, and the death toll from a weekend wedding bombing reached 80.
Washington’s top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller was at the talks venue, according to an AFP correspondent.
The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the insurgent group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.
Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.
Taliban lead negotiator Abbas Stanikzai told AFP Thursday that overall talks had been “going well.”
The talks are expected to focus on establishing a timeline for the US withdrawal of its more than 13,000 troops in Afghanistan.
“We’ve been there for 18 years, it’s ridiculous,” US President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday.
“We are negotiating with the government and we are negotiating with the Taliban,” he said.
“We have good talks going and we will see what happens.”
But the thorny issues of power-sharing with the Taliban, the role of regional powers including Pakistan and India, and the fate of Afghanistan’s incumbent administration remain unresolved.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to bolster optimism for a peace agreement last week when he said in a tweet that he hoped this is the final year that the country is at war.