Displaying items by tag: agreement
On 15 November, Pakistan reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of a $700 million tranche, part of a larger $3 billion bailout package agreed in July. This announcement constitutes a significant relief for the struggling economy, as Pakistan is facing a severe balance of payments crisis and dwindling foreign exchange reserves. The leader of the IMF team noted several causes for encouragement; he said that inflation is expected to decline over the coming months amid receding supply constraints and modest demand, together with aid from international partners, leading to improved economic confidence. However, he warned that Pakistan remains vulnerable to global risks like geopolitical tensions, commodity price fluctuations, and tightening global financial conditions. This agreement comes as Pakistan prepares for general elections in February 2024 and aims to stabilise its economy, which has been in free fall for years, leading to rampant inflation and widespread financial hardship.
Britain and France have now agreed to unite to stop illegal migrants from crossing the Channel. Interior minister Suella Braverman said Britain faced an ‘invasion’ from people in small boats, saying, ‘It is in the interests of the UK and French governments to solve this problem together. There are no quick fixes, but this arrangement means we can have more gendarmes patrolling French beaches and ensure UK and French officers work hand in hand to stop people smugglers.’ There will be 40% more UK-funded officers patrolling French beaches in the next five months. A task force will focus on reversing the rise in Albanian nationals and organised crime groups exploiting illegal routes. British officers will work in French-led control rooms and on the ground to improve coordination and intelligence sharing. There will be drones, detection dog teams, CCTV, and helicopters to help discover and prevent crossings, plus reception and removal centres in France to prevent journeys to the UK of economic migrants.
On 25 March the Solomon Islands government announced it was ‘expanding’ security arrangements, ‘diversifying the country's security partnership with China’. Beijing is moving from island to island and wants to upgrade an airstrip in Kiribati for civilian purposes; yet the military uses are apparent. Kiribati is 1,900 miles south of Hawaii. A five-year deal, with automatic renewals, will allow Beijing to base its military in the Solomon Islands. If applied to its full extent, the Framework Agreement will give China the ability to sever shipping lanes and air links connecting the USA with its treaty ally Australia and partner New Zealand. For decades the US allowed Canberra and Wellington to manage the Solomons and its region. Beijing, through payoffs now detailed in public, essentially owns the Solomon Islands government. There is also now talk that China will ink a security agreement with Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia.
EU leaders have agreed on a 750 billion euro coronavirus relief package, both in loans and grants. A major accomplishment: for the first time all 27 members agreed to share the financial burden to rescue some of its members. However this is just the first step on a long road to recovery. The fine print is thorny. Any individual member state can delay disbursement of funds to another member by questioning the recipient's spending plans. For example, this would allow a country to put a temporary hold on funds for another if the Hague has a bone to pick about overspending. Not a veto, but it could delay the release of much-needed funds and pit countries against each other. Also money will not be released until 2022. So if Italy and Spain continue borrowing to pay for their domestic rescue plans, they will owe much more a year from now and be in a worse financial position to respond to any second coronavirus wave.