(EurActiv) — Theresa May rushed to Brussels in the early hours of Friday morning (8 December), after the European Commission said all-night divorce talks had made “sufficient progress” to move on to the second phase of Brexit negotiations.
May and Juncker outlined the progress made on the three issues of citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the divorce bill, and agreed to move on to talks about the UK’s future relationship with the bloc, at a joint press conference at Commission headquarters on Friday morning.
Speculation that a deal had been reached mounted after Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr tweeted a picture of white smoke earlier on Friday morning.
The agreement will be passed on to the European Council and member states will decide whether or not to accept it in time for next week’s summit (14-15 December).
“The decision is now in the hands of the 27 heads of state and government,” Juncker said. “I am sure they will share our appraisal.”
The Commission president welcomed the deal on citizens’ rights, saying: “Today we bring back certainty” for EU citizens in the UK. He stressed that the right of EU citizens in the UK – and UK citizens in the EU – to live, work and study would remain the same, and that they would retain the right to family reunification, healthcare and social security.
Under the deal struck, these rights would be protected by UK law, not the European Court of Justice. Read the text of the deal here.
On Ireland, Juncker said he had spoken first with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar then May on Thursday night in a bid to break a deadlock over the wording of a deal on future border arrangements.
“The peace process is a priority,” the Commission president said, adding that the EU would continue to support peace and reconciliation on the island.
“The EU27 stand firmly behind Ireland and the peace process,” he said.
May also hailed Friday’s agreement as “a significant improvement” on the version that was rejected by her Northern Irish coalition partners the Democratic Unionist Party earlier in the week.
She stressed that it had required “give and take on both sides” but that the deal to be put to the European Council was “a hard-won agreement in all our interests”.
Juncker highlighted that today’s announced breakthrough does not constitute a final deal, but a step along the road: “Let me be clear: we still have a lot of work to do. This is not the withdrawal agreement.”
Afghanistan to build first Women’s Police Town
KABUL: To encourage more women to join the police force in this deeply conservative and male-dominated society, Afghanistan has launched a housing project for female officers.
Women’s Police Town was inaugurated on Monday in Kabul and is funded by international donors, with Canada providing $26 million for its first phase.
It includes construction of 10 apartment buildings, each with 30 units and able to house 300 policewomen and their families in Kabul, the US-led coalition and Afghan officials said.
“This is the first such project for female police in the history of Afghanistan,” Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh told Arab News on Tuesday.
“It will be expanded to other parts of the country in later stages. The purpose is to encourage women to join the police ranks.” The project is due to be completed by 2020.
The proposed complex will be constructed in four phases, and will include an elementary school, child day-care facility, medical clinic, fitness center and community center, officials said. The government will manage and operate the school and day-care facility, they added.
Wounded Taliban undergo for treatment inTajikistan,claims Afghan MP
KABUL:Afghan MP claims that wounded Taliban militants are undergoing medical treatment in hospitals in Tajikistan.
According to VOA, member of Loya Jirga from Kunduz province, Eng. Kamal Sapai, said on Wednesday that Taliban militants who have been wounded in clashes with government forces in Kunduz province are undergoing medical treatment in hospitals in Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, the Tajik authorities deny this statement as absolutely ‘unfounded’.
“Information spread by Afghan parliamentarian through the Ashna TV is an egregious lie,” Muhammad Ulughkhojayev, a spokesman for the main Border Guard Directorate at the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) of Tajikistan, told media in an interview .
“The Taliban Movement is designated as a terrorist organization and any contacts with it are banned by Tajikistan’s legislation,” said Ulughkhojayev. “Official Dushanbe has never had any contacts with Taliban and that’s the end of it.”
Senior Cleric Says Iran ‘Fully Determined’ To Boost Missile Power
Tehran interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatolllah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully determined to upgrade its missile power aimed at “confronting whatever threat posed by Israel”, IRNA reports.
Addressing the worshipers at Tehran University, Ayatollah Khatami said “in a world where wolves rule and there is no logic in their behavior, the Islamic Republic should be armed and powerful”.
The senior cleric said Iran’s military missile might is one of the main components of the country’s policy of deterrence.
“We have missiles, we would continue building more missiles and increase their ranges”, he added.
The senior cleric further said that the most important principle of Iran’s military power is defense through deterrence.
Ayatollah Khatami said Iran would never make atomic bombs, adding that based on a Fatwa issued by Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran remains to believe that it should not develop and possess nuclear weapons.
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