21 March 2019


Brexit delayed? PM May requests three-month extension, EU pushes back

KONFRONTASI-Prime Minister Theresa May asked for a three-month delay to Brexit on Wednesday to buy time to get her twice-rejected divorce deal though parliament, but the request faced immediate resistance from the European Commission.

May said Britain remained committed to leaving the European Union “in an orderly manner” and she wanted to postpone Britain’s departure to June 30.

But a European Commission document seen by Reuters said the delay should either be several weeks shorter, to avoid a clash with European elections in May, or extend at least until the end of the year, which would oblige Britain to take part in the elections.

The pound fell sharply as May requested her extension.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and nine days before the formal exit deadline, British politicians are still arguing over how, when or even if the world’s fifth largest economy should leave the bloc it first joined in 1973.

When May set the March 29 exit date two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, she declared there would be “no turning back” but parliament’s refusal to ratify the withdrawal deal she agreed with the EU has thrust her government into crisis.

Now May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.

“As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June,” May told a rowdy session of parliament.

“I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk, the president of the European Council, informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the Article 50 period until the 30th June,” she said.

She said she planned to ask parliament to vote a third time on her departure deal, which lawmakers have already voted down twice. She didn’t say when the vote would happen.

But May did say delaying Brexit did not rule out the possibility that Britain could leave without a deal.

The opposition Labour Party said by choosing a short delay May was forcing British lawmakers to decide between accepting a deal they have already rejected or leaving without a deal.

Pro-Brexit members of May’s Conservative Party are opposed to a longer delay because they fear it could mean Brexit might never happen.


Pompeo calls for Gulf unity at start of Middle East tour

KONFRONTASI-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for unity in the Gulf region, as he kicked off his Middle East tour with a stop in Kuwait City for the third US-Kuwait strategic dialogue session.

Pompeo will seek to strengthen cooperation on defence, cybersecurity and trade, during his stop in Kuwait, his spokesperson Robert Palladino said.  

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal said the US top diplomat would also focus on creating "a breakthrough in finding a resolution to the GCC crisis" describing Pompeo's visit to Kuwait as "the most challenging part of his trip".

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed an ongoing land, sea and air blockade on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorists. Qatar has vehemently denied these claims.

"The fact that these countries are not seeing eye to eye is stifling any sort of plans or policies the US wants to implement in the region," Elshayyal said.

US President Donald Trump initially backed the blockade on Qatar, but "it has since transpired that that was not only detrimental to the US' interests in the region but more so to the peoples' interests here in the region and the stability of the GCC," Elshayyal explained.

Kuwait has been at the forefront of trying to find a resolution to this crisis and mediate between the other Arab Gulf countries, which remains in deadlock.

Kuwait's foreign minister said that a long-awaited US peace proposal for the Middle East should factor in regional considerations and all stakeholders.

"We hope the plan will take into account the situation in the region and all the relevant parties," Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah told a joint press conference with Pompeo.

Pompeo took time to pose for photographs with US embassy personnel and their families and met with members of the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as with US and Kuwaiti business leaders.

He also met recent Kuwaiti graduates of US universities and exchange programmes.

Powerful Algerian party abandons beleaguered Bouteflika

KONFRONTASI-An influential Algerian party that was a long-time supporter of Abdelaziz Bouteflika has criticized the ailing president for seeking to stay in power, another setback for the ruling elite in the face of mass demonstrations.

The National Rally for Democracy (RND), a member of the ruling coalition, has joined ruling party officials, unions and business tycoons who have abandoned Bouteflika in recent days, after nearly a month of street demonstrations protests.

PM should stop thinking people are fools, they see through everything: Priyanka Gandhi

KONFRONTASI -   Prime Minister,  

Gambar mungkin berisi: teks

Indonesia Investment Chief Warns of Market Slump If Jokowi Loses

KONFRONTASI -  Indonesia’s investment chief warned of a severe sell-off in the nation’s currency and stocks if voters deliver an upset victory for the opposition in next month’s presidential election.

“If there was an election surprise, I think the markets will crash. The currency will probably crash,” Tom Lembong, chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, said in an interview Monday in Jakarta.

French Cardinal Barbarin says pope refused his offer to resign over sex abuse case

KONFRONTASI-Philippe Barbarin, the French Roman Catholic cardinal convicted of failing to report sexual abuse charges, said on Tuesday that Pope Francis had turned down his offer to resign but had suggested he stand aside “for a while”.

Barbarin, who is appealing his guilty verdict, said in a statement that he had agreed to the idea for the good of the diocese in the city of Lyon.

Air strike kills four people in Somalia

KONFRONTASI-An air strike near the Somalian town of Afgoye has killed four people, a relative of one of the victims told Reuters on Tuesday.

Abdiqadir Nur, an employee of telecommunications company Hormuud Telecom, and three others died at around 01:30 GMT as they drove through the village of Laanta Buuro in the country’s southwestern Lower Shabelle region, about 45km (28 miles) from the capital Mogadishu.

“Nur and three others died on the spot. His brother Mahad Nur is totally burnt,” Nur’s cousin Abdullahi Ali said.

U.S. says Iran missile program detribalizing Middle East

KONFRONTASI-A senior U.S. arms control official said on Tuesday that Iran’s missile program is detribalizing the Middle East and raising the risk of a “regional arms race” through the provision of such weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen.

U.S. President Donald Trump said when he quit a landmark 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that it failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

Women support group wants justice for Rohingya refugees

KONFRONTASI-A female Rohingya refugee, Hamida Khatoon, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the first time last week.

Khatoon is part of a women's support group called Shanti Mohila, which means "peace women" in Rohingya.

Brought together by their trauma, they began meeting in the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

But they are much more than just a support group, they want justice and are actively fighting for it.

Police say one killed in shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

KONFRONTASI-One person has been killed and several wounded after a gunman opened fire in a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht.

Police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area after the shooting happened on Tuesday morning at a busy traffic intersection in a residential neighbourhood.

A witness told local broadcaster RTV Utrecht that the shooting took place inside the tram at the 24 Oktoberplein in the city's west.