Boris’ Brexit Deal Approved
On Thursday, Oct. 17, the European Union Parliament approved U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newest Brexit deal in a unanimous vote that sends it to the British Parliament for a vote. That deal will be considered during a special session on Saturday. The deal prevents a hard border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it details the way in which the UK will actually break away from the EU more than three years after the referendum that began this process. Johnson said after the vote that “This is a great deal for our country. I also believe it’s a very good deal for our friends in the EU.”
On Saturday, Parliament delayed any decision on the PM’s newly approved deal until legislation to implement it had been passed. Johnson has promised that he “will not negotiate a delay with the EU,” and that he will meet the current deadline of Oct. 31. However, the window to ask the EU for an extension is fast approaching, and the Prime Minister is also bound by law to negotiate an approved deal with the EU before Britain actually leaves the union.
Turkey/Kurds: 5-day “ceasefire”
On Oct. 17, Vice President Mike Pence announced that an agreement had been reached concerning a ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria. This took place following diplomatic talks in Ankara, Turkey. However, it has been relatively unclear to what extent the talks were successful, because both Turkish and Kurdish officials have already refuted the details of Pence’s remarks.
The primary point of contention is the nature of the temporary hold on the violence in Syria. Following the remarks from Pence, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted that this pause was not a cease-fire, but the establishment of a temporary safe zone. According to Cavusoglu, the concept of a ceasefire requires two “legitimate” parties reaching an agreement ─ the Turkish government does not want to assign legitimacy to the Kurdish forces. As of yet, it appears that even the establishment of this safe zone has been unsuccessful; according to the Associated Press, the pause lasted only a few hours before the violence continued.
UK Diplomatic Immunity Case
A resolution has yet to be reached following a deadly car accident involving Anne Saccolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat, in the United Kingdom on Aug. 27. Saccolas was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road when she struck and killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was driving a motorcycle. Saccolas was questioned and released on the condition that she would remain in the country.
Instead, she opted to flee the U.K. while claiming a defense of diplomatic immunity.
The question of revoking diplomatic immunity is being debated, as well as the merits of diplomatic immunity and whether it applies in this particular situation. Although it is somewhat unclear whether Saccolas will be sent back to the U.K. to be investigated, President Donald Trump has indicated that her return is not an option. The present issue at hand is the prospect of justice for Dunn’s family; his parents have visited the United States in an attempt to lobby for her extradition.