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Flemish nationalists tread cautiously on Scottish independence vote BRUSSELS: Scotland's independence vote inspires Flemish nationalists with hope but, with negotiations underway on forming a new Belgian government, they also have their reasons to tread carefully, analysts say.Born in 1830 as an independent state to act as a buffer between France and Germany, Belgium is an uneasy mix of a Flemish-speaking, more conservative north critical of a French and left-leaning south.Those differences have become even more pronounced in recent years, with Flemish nationalist sentiment more powerful than ever.It latest political incarnation, Bart De Wever's New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) won a third of the votes in Flanders in May elections, emerging as the country's single largest party.As such, the N-VA, which supports independence for Flanders in the long term, is set to be the cornerstone of the new right-leaning federal government now being formed.De Wever has nevertheless refused the post of prime minister, preferring to continue pulling the strings from ...

EU delays entry into force of free trade pact with Ukraine BRUSSELS: The European Union, Russia and Ukraine agreed on Friday to delay the application of an EU-Ukraine free trade pact until the end of next year, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said. Ukraine will continue to enjoy privileged access to the EU market until that date, he said. Russia had threatened to introduce import tariffs on Ukrainian goods if Kiev proceeds with the planned trade agreement from Nov. 1. "We agreed on delaying the ...
Putin says considering retaliation against ‘strange’ Western sanctions DUSHANBE: President Vladimir Putin said on Friday new Western sanctions against Russia looked "a bit strange" given his backing of peace efforts in eastern Ukraine, and warned he was considering taking fresh retaliation. The European Union and the United States have tightened economic penalties on Moscow, accusing it of sending troops to back pro-Moscow separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern regions. Putin, who has regularly denied any involvement and already responded with import bans ...
European rights envoy says pro-Ukraine activists face abuses in Crimea MOSCOW: Pro-Ukrainian activists and Tatar ethnic minorities in Crimea have found their lives under increased threat since the Ukrainian territory was annexed by Russia in March, a top European human rights diplomat said on Friday.Following the first international rights mission to Crimea since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, Nils Muiznieks, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, described an atmosphere of fear for ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, a Muslim ethnic ...
Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport says EU sanctions won't hurt MOSCOW: Russian state-owned arms exporting firm Rosoboronexport does not expect the latest European Union's sanctions over Ukraine to hurt its exports, Russian news agencies quoted the company's deputy head as saying on Friday."According to our forecasts and conclusions, and taking into account the task of import substitution, we are not expecting any significant impact of the new sanctions on our exports," Sergei Goreslavsky was quoted by state news agency Itar-Tass as saying.Earlier, the European Union ...
US sanctions are 'disconnected from reality': Russian parliament speaker MOSCOW: The speaker of Russian parliament's lower house on Friday denounced a new set of US sanctions against Moscow as punitive measures that were out of touch with reality. "The sanctions announced by President Obama are already disconnected from reality," State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Putin looks to Asia as EU announces new sanctions DUSHANBE: President Vladimir Putin called on Friday for new efforts to boost cooperation with China and former Soviet republics in Central Asia after the European Union announced new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis."I believe it is necessary to further improve the efficiency of our interaction to meet the challenges of the time," Putin said at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a security bloc, in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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