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UK PM faces backlash over Brexit compromise

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LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May will not “trap” Britain in an endless customs union with the European Union after Brexit, her office insisted Friday amid growing unease in her cabinet and party that this might be the price of a divorce deal.
Negotiations in Brussels have stepped up in recent days ahead of a high-stakes EU summit next week, with both sides seeking a breakthrough less than six months before Brexit in March 2019.
May briefed selected members of her cabinet late Thursday on the talks, at which several ministers reportedly expressed deep unease at a plan to avoid frontier checks with EU member Ireland.
Some eurosceptics, notably House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, are said to be considering quitting. Britain has proposed that it continue to follow EU customs rules after Brexit as a fall-back option to keep open the land border with Ireland until a wider trade deal is agreed that avoids the need for frontier checks.
May says this will only be temporary, but her spokeswoman was forced to clarify the point after media reports that the final “backstop” arrangement will have no legal end date.
“The prime minister would never agree to a deal which could trap the UK in a backstop permanently,” she said. The Downing Street spokeswoman repeated that Britain wanted a new trade deal by the end of December 2021 at the latest, although she declined to confirm the backstop would be “time-limited”.
Her careful words only fuelled speculation of a compromise with Brussels, although Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab later said the backstop would have to be “finite”, “short” and “time-limited”.

 

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Europe

DG ISPR briefs British parliamentarians

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LONDON: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor here on Tuesday visited British  Parliament and briefed the parliamentarians about the Pakistan Army’s role in the war against terrorism.
He visited the British Parliament at the invitation of the parliamentarians of House of Commons and House of  Lords, a statement of Pakistan High Commission said.
The parliamentarians highly appreciated the role of Pakistan in the war against terrorism. Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Syeeda Warsi were also present on the occasion.

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Europe

Salvini, Macron clash after France caught migrant dumping

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ROME: Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini hit out at President Emmanuel Macron after French police were caught committing the “unprecedented offense” of dumping migrants in Italian woods.
Salvini, also deputy prime minister and head of the anti-immigrant League party, on Monday, demanded a “clear response” after French authorities admitted to returning migrants to Italy in “error”.
A French police van was seen on Friday driving into Italy to return recently-arrived migrants to the town of Claviere.
“It was an error to enter Italian territory without the authorization of the Italian police,” said Cecile Bigot-Dekeyzer, the top official in the Hautes-Alpes region.
“The police had no right to enter Italian territory,” the prefect said.
An outraged Salvini batted away that explanation, while France said the incident should be “kept in perspective”.
“Abandoning migrants in an Italian wood can’t be just a mistake or an incident,” Salvini said on social media. “What happened in Claviere is an unprecedented offense towards our country.”
“Does Paris, which claims to be civil, find it normal to throw people into the woods?… We’re dealing with an international shame, and Mr. Macron can’t pretend he doesn’t know. We won’t accept any excuses,” Salvini wrote.
– ‘It was a mistake’ –
“Let’s keep this in perspective,” an official in the French president’s office told journalists on Tuesday.
“It was a mistake, the authorities have admitted that. There was an incursion, not planned or according to the procedure, into Italian territory, where two people were dropped off.”
Thousands of migrants are caught each year trying to enter France and returned to the Italian border. Last year AFP journalists saw French police dropping off migrants in front of Bardonecchia train station, in Italy.
A source close to Macron slammed Salvini’s “essentially individual political exploitation” of the incident.
Italian Prime Minister “Giuseppe Conte hasn’t turned this incident into proof of a crisis,” the French presidency said.
“We manage our shared border together and there are occasional small regrettable incidents on both sides.”
Relations between Rome and Paris have been increasingly tense in recent months, with Italy’s populist government accusing France and others of failing to share the burden of the 700,000 migrants and asylum seekers that have crossed the Mediterranean to come to Italy since 2013.
French police in March sparked outrage by carrying out identity checks at Bardonecchia station, with the Italian foreign ministry summoning the French ambassador to protest.
In June, Macron criticized Salvini for closing Italian ports to the Aquarius migrant rescue boat, prompting a fresh summoning of the ambassador.

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Business

German business delegation due on 22nd Oct.

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KARACHI: A thirty-member business delegation from Germany -representing important sectors like energy, engineering, security technology, financial services, and construction- will be on a two-day visit to Karachi, from 22ns October.
This delegation was the result of joint efforts by Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology; Pakistan Embassy in Berlin with support of Dr. Poetis, who is Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Munich; the Embassy of Germany in Pakistan and the German Consulate in Karachi, President GPCCI, Qazi Sajid Ali told APP here today.
On the first day, German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry has arranged a conference on the trade and investment opportunities in Germany and Pakistan. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is expected to inaugurate this programme.
Then, the delegation would visit Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Sindh Board of Investment, Pakistan Business Council’s secretariat and the Governor House.
Qazi said that after a long period of time, a business delegation from Germany was coming to Karachi for business discussion with Pakistani counterparts and would finalize the projects of mutual interest for the bilateral business growth. Some of the German businessmen are also interested in the joint ventures. The visit would encourage German investment here and exports of Pakistani goods to Germany.

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