Thursday, 30 March 2017


Palestinians are ready to conclude a peace treaty with Israel, if the occupation of Palestinian territories ends and two states, including the independent Palestinian one, are established, the Jordanian daily newspaper Al Ghad quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as saying. The Palestinians are ready to sign a peace treaty and finally solve all problems, “if the Israeli occupation ends and the principle of creating two independent states is implemented,” the Palestinian leader said. There is “no new plan or new initiative to establish peace” between Palestine and Israel, Abbas said, adding that Palestine is committed to the Arab peace plan without any changes, TASS reported.
Jordan’s King Abdullah said peace would not be attained in the Middle East without the creation of a Palestinian state under a two-state solution that would be the basis of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal. In a speech at the start of an Arab summit held beside the Dead Sea, King Abdullah said the kingdom’s western neighbor Israel was wrecking the chances of peace by accelerating settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory, Reuters reports. The summit on Wednesday is expected to endorse key Palestinian positions, signaling to US President Donald Trump ahead of White House meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan that a deal on Palestinian statehood must precede any Israeli-Arab normalization, AP said.


Poland temporarily closed its consulates in Ukraine after a grenade attack overnight at one of its buildings near the Polish border. No one was hurt but the roof of the Polish consulate there and some windows were damaged. Ukraine’s Security Service said the weapon used appeared to be a rocket from an RPG-26, a disposable anti-tank launcher. Relations between Poland and Ukraine have deteriorated in the past year in a row over World War Two atrocities, although Warsaw still strongly supports Western sanctions imposed on Russia.


Eight coaches of the Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed in the wee hours today near Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh. The Chief Public Relations Officer, North Central Railway said according to initial reports, around nine passengers have been injured in the incident. Rescue operations are on. The cause of derailment is yet to be ascertained.
The official said, an accident relief train has been rushed to the site and the injured have been given first-aid. Talking to AIR, Railways spokesman Anil Saxena said a probe has been ordered into the accident.
Railway officials have operationalised helplines at Jhansi, Gwalior and Banda to disseminate information to relatives of the passengers. The Helpline number for Jhansi is 0510-1072, Gwalior 0751-1072, Banda 05192-1072, Allahabad 0532-1072 and 2408149 and Kanpur 0512-1072.
One dozen trains have been either diverted or cancelled due to the accident on Jhansi-Mahoba rail section. MC Chauhan General manager of North Central Railway has ordered a probe into the accident and it will be conducted by a senior grade railway officer.


PRESS RELEASE – FTA: Brexit Also a Considerable Challenge for India
Brussels, 29 March 2017. Today, the British government will activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to formally launch the negotiations which will determine the conditions of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU). The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) is pushing for a sound strategy to mitigate negative impacts, promote possible opportunities and effectively represent the interest of its members. “The upcoming talks should be conducted in a spirit of fairness, trust and partnership to make sure the negotiations advance quickly, create legal clarity soon and prevent major business disruption in Europe and in longtime partner countries, such as India”, says Christian Ewert, FTA Director General.
Brexit has plunged the EU into a time of significant uncertainty given that it is the first time that a member state has opted to leave the Union, and therefore, many questions remain to be answered. Despite this high level of uncertainty, Brexit clearly has the potential of having a considerable – negative – effect on the business sector and India:
  • Tariffs and border checks are very likely to be imposed in the future EU-UK trade relations;
  • Brexit might negatively impact economic growth – and consequently consumption – in the UK, the EU, India and the world;
  • The EU will lose a liberal voice and we might see a shift towards a more ‘defensive’ EU trade policy with all consequences for India;
  • Brexit is a setback for the concept and reality of global value chains; erecting new borders is turning the clock back and substantially diminishing the output of Indian investment in the UK.
To limit the impact of this process, Mr. Ewert underlines the priorities of the international trade sector in these divorce talks: “We need to invent a magic formula which will guarantee the highest possible level of market integration while avoiding a domino effect triggering similar leave requests from other EU member states. At the same time, we need to leave the door open for the British government to exit Brexit as the political mood in the UK might change again.”
When it comes to the impact on India, it is important to stress that the relations with the EU should remain the priority, as the UK only represents 17% of the EU’s combined GDP. This does obviously not prevent India from pursuing active interests with the UK in the future, for instance by exploring the possibility of an investment or a free trade agreement. “However, one needs to make clear that the UK will not be able to start negotiating before they leave the EU. In addition, British interest is mostly on services, which tends to be the most difficult chapter in trade agreements”, Mr. Ewert concludes.
FTA will remain an active advocate for a smart Brexit process that safeguards open markets and business interests, against the current protectionist trends gaining ground in Europe and abroad.

– ENDS –
Ana María Martín
FTA Media and Editorial Planning Coordinator
ana.maria.martin@fta-intl.orgTel: +32 2 739 48 22
Twitter: @fta_intl

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