American officials confirmed late last week that a Canadian intelligence official who was detained for giving information to Russia in January, had access to top-secret files from the Five Eyes: an alliance group comprised of the US, Canada, Australia, Britain, & New Zealand. This development will most likely hurt the Canadian-American relationship in terms of intelligence sharing for the future, which will be a setback considering the security protocols in place since 2001.
In what should be yet another upset to the Ukrainian-Russian relationship, Ukraine announced yesterday that it was interested in participating in the proposed Trans-Caspian Pipeline project that would deliver gas from Central Asia to Central Europe. If carried out, the pipeline would bypass both Russia and Iran and deny both these oil-rich nations the chance to levy taxes, and use the pipeline for political reasons. This is a very tactical move for Ukraine to make, especially as Russia attempts to lure it into the new Eurasian Union.
Portugal declared on Finnish TV yesterday that the EU should be ready to provide additional aid to the country in the near future. Portugal received $101.8B (78bn euro) in loans from the EU last May. While shelling out more money is the last thing the EU wants to do at the moment, last week’s decision to increase its bailout fund to 940bn probably came at a good time.
The UN peacekeeping team is due to arrive in Syria today, as government troops begin to withdraw from around the country. As Kofi Annan’s six-part peace process comes into effect, we would expect more international delegations are expected to be asked to help oversee the transition to peace. While things may seem to be on the right track with this crisis, a number of unanswered questions remain, most notably the US’ calls for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down. We anticipate this will come to a head sooner than later, and will require the US convincing Russia to side with them on this issue for change to take place.
For the top news from Africa, Asia, and Oceania, click below.