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EU Lifts Arms Embargo On Syria, Russia On The Defensive

FRANCE 24 (France), ITAR-TASS (Russia), BBC NEWS (UK), RT (Russia), LE MONDE (France)


BRUSSELSEuropean Union members decided not to renew the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition early Tuesday, in one of the strongest actions taken to date by the West against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

“Tonight EU nations agreed to bring the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition to an end,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement, adding that it was a “difficult decision for some countries,” France 24 reports.

After a 12-hour discussion in Brussels, Hague welcomed the lifting of the embargo, saying it was "important for Europe to send a clear signal to the Assad regime that it has to negotiate seriously and that all options remain on the table if it refuses to do so", the BBC reports.

Russia's envoy to NATO Aleksndr Grushko said that the abolition of the EU arms embargo on the Syrian opposition will only exacerbate armed conflict in the country. Russia has been delivering S-300 long-range air defense systems to the Syrian Government for two years. “We consider this delivery a factor of stabilization.” Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RT.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton declared at a news conference late on Monday that the member states had agreed not to "proceed at this stage with the delivery" of equipment until now subject to the ban," the BBC adds.

The European Union will consider again the problem of arms supplies in Syria before August 1, after the international peace conference “Geneva 2” scheduled for June, Itar-Tass reports.

Meanwhile, the fighting is still raging in Syria, especially around the strategic border town of Qusair. On Monday, France's Le Monde newspaper published first-hand accounts of apparent chemical attacks by Assad's forces.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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