Foreign Affairs Round Up Of The Week

PRIME Minister David Cameron gave his much anticipated speech on Britain’s place in Europe, and pledged that if a Conservative government was returned in 2015 it would hold an “In/Out” referendum on British membership of the EU. Cameron went further than some expected by commenting that this would be the case in a Coalition, indicating that it would be a deal breaker if the Liberal Democrats were to enter into talks.

There was some confusion in the Labour, with Ed Milliband initially opposing the idea of a referendum, only for aides to later state that he had not meant to rule out the idea of a referendum in the future.

The speech is a double edged sword for UKIP. On the one hand it’s a moral vindication for the party who’ve put euroscepticism at the heart of their message. They can, with some credence, claim that Cameron would never had made such a speech without them looming like a nightmare in marginal Tory seats. On the other hand, the move threatens to deprive the party of much of its support, relaying heavily as it does on disgruntled former Tories.

A British woman has been sentenced to death by firing squad in Bali. The 52 year old was found guilty of smuggling over £1 million worth of drugs into the Indonesian island. The prosecution had only sought a fifteen year sentence, but the judge said that the case had damaged Bali’s reputation abroad, and that death was required to serve as a deterrent.

French forces continued their push north on Mali, taking back ground previously held by Islamist rebels. At the same time, an armoured column from neighbouring Chad was pushing in from the east, though they had yet to meet resistance. There are reports that rebels have started to ditch their trademark Bedouin robes in order to blend in with the local populous.

Despite losing 11 seats, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in Israeli parliamentary elections. His block is the largest in the Knesset, holding 31 of the 120 seats.

In WashingtonDC Barak Obama was sworn in as President, starting his second term in the White House. His inauguration speech was well received, with references to gay rights being especially welcomed. Notably absent were hints towards tacking a tougher line with President Assad of Syria, or with assistance in Mali.

 

 

 

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