Pompeo meets EU’s top diplomat after Pence’s Iran statement

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 February 2019
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Pompeo meets EU’s top diplomat after Pence’s Iran statement

  • Mogherini helped seal the 2005 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers
  • Trump last year pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran deal

BRUSSELS: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the EU’s top diplomat in Brussels on Friday, a day after Vice President Mike Pence accused America’s traditional European allies of trying to undermine US sanctions against Iran.
The meeting with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, was scheduled before Pence’s rebuke of European powers during a Middle East peace conference in Warsaw on Thursday, which Mogherini missed, citing a scheduling conflict at NATO.
Mogherini, who helped seal the 2005 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, greeted Pence in front of a bank of cameras at the EU’s headquarters in Brussels before they headed into a conference room for the breakfast meeting, that was scheduled to last for about an hour.
Mogherini shook her head and waved off a question from the media about what she thought of Pence’s speech in Warsaw on Thursday, where he accused the European Union of trying to break the impact of US economic sanctions on Iran.
Pence’s unusually tough words for allies Germany, France and Britain reflect Washington’s strategy to try to isolate Iran, in remarks that were likely to further strain transatlantic relations.
Trump last year pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran deal, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
On Thursday, speaking at NATO before Pence’s comments, Mogherini said the United States and the European Union had “different views” on the Iran nuclear deal and said upholding it was critical to European security because it prevented Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
European countries say they share Washington’s concerns about Iran’s involvement in wars in Yemen and Syria but believe withdrawing from the nuclear deal was a mistake, and have promised to try to salvage the deal as long as Iran continues to abide by it. In practice, European companies have accepted new US sanctions on Iran and abandoned plans to invest there.
France, Germany and Britain agreed in January to open a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avert US sanctions, through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) meant to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods.
However, the trade vehicle will likely take months to become operational and diplomats said it will be used only for smaller trade, for example of humanitarian products or food .


Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. (Supplied)
Updated 41 sec ago
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Key events in Egypt since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising

CAIRO: Here are key events in eight years of turmoil and transition in Egypt, leading up to a national referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

● Feb. 11, 2011: Autocrat Hosni Mubarak steps down after 18 days of nationwide protests against his nearly 30-year rule. The military takes over, dissolving Parliament and suspending the constitution after the uprising leaves hundreds of protesters dead in clashes with security forces.

● Nov. 28, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood wins nearly half the seats in multi-stage elections for the first post-Mubarak Parliament.

● June 30, 2012: The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Muhammad Mursi takes office as Egypt’s first freely elected president.

● Aug. 12, 2012: Mursi removes the defense minister and military chief, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and replaces him with El-Sisi.

● Nov. 22, 2012: Mursi unilaterally decrees greater powers for himself, a move that sparks days of protests.

● Dec. 15-22, 2012: Egyptians approve a constitution drafted and hastily passed by Parliament amid protests and walkouts by other groups.

● June 30, 2013: On Mursi’s anniversary in office, millions of Egyptians begin days of demonstrations demanding his resignation. The military gives him 48 hours to reach an agreement with his opponents, but he vows to remain in office.

● July 3, 2013: El-Sisi announces Mursi’s removal.

● Aug. 14, 2013: More than 600 people, mostly Mursi supporters, are killed when police clear two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo. Mursi supporters retaliate by torching government buildings, churches and police stations. Hundreds more die in subsequent violence.

● Dec. 25, 2013: The government designates the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

● May 26-28, 2014: Egyptians vote in a presidential election. El-Sisi wins with 96.9 percent of the vote.

● May 16, 2015: Mursi and more than 100 others are sentenced to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising.

● Oct. 2015: Egypt holds parliamentary elections, leading to an assembly packed with El-Sisi supporters.

● April 2, 2018: El-Sisi wins a second, four-year term in office, with more than 97 percent of the vote.
● Feb. 2019: Lawmakers submit proposed amendments to the constitution that allow El-Sisi to remain in power beyond his current second four-year term.

● April 10: President Donald Trump welcomes El-Sisi to the White House for a second official visit.

● April 17: The Parliament, packed with El-Sisi’s supporters, overwhelmingly passes the proposed amendments.

● April 18: Egypt’s National Election Authority schedules three days of voting in a nationwide referendum on the amendments. The vote takes place Saturday through Monday.