Posts Tagged ‘john mccain’

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN WARNS OF PUTIN ON VISIT TO SWEDEN

August 20, 2015

thelocal.se on August 19, 2015, reported on US senator and former presidential candidate John McCain slamming Russia over its increased military activity in the Baltic region on a visit to Stockholm. Excerpts below:

John McCain spoke to reporters on August 19 on his brief visit to Stockholm with Republican party colleague John Barrasso and Democrat senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Top of the agenda were environmental issues, IT security and Russia.

“We underline our concern for Russia’s activities in the region and its military build-up,” McCain told Swedish media after he met Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson.

“We all need to understand who [Vladimir Putin] is and what he wants. He wants to restore the Russian Empire,” said the 79-year-old war veteran, who has been a member of the US senate for the state of Arizona since 1987.

McCain has long advocated a more aggressive approach towards Russia…

The two countries have enjoyed a strained relationship in the past year, with Sweden’s security service Säpo stating that Russia posed the biggest intelligence threat to the Nordic nation in 2014.

Earlier this year in June, a report for the US-based Center for European Policy Analysis (Cepa) claimed that some 33,000 Russian soldiers rehearsed a military takeover of the Baltic Sea area on March 21st to 25th, including practising the seizure of the island of Gotland off Sweden’s east coast.

The revelation followed an incident last September when two SU-24 fighter-bombers allegedly entered Swedish airspace in what the former Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called “the most serious aerial incursion by the Russians” in almost a decade.

The following month a foreign submarine was spotted in Swedish waters, although the Swedish military was unable to determine where it came from.

Sweden has announced it would be stepping up its military power, including stationing 230 Swedish troops on Gotland from 2018.

Commentary: It is important that the dire situation in the Baltic area is noted in the United States. The suggested stepping up of Swedish military expenditure is too small. The Swedish center-left government is endangering Sweden’s security by only improving the Swedish military slightly. It is impossible to defend the island of Gotland with only additional 230 troops. If Russia occupies the Aland archipelago between Sweden and Finland this would pose a great risk to the Stockholm area. This danger has been identified by highly placed politicians in Finland.

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OBAMA PRESSURED BY LAWMAKERS TO STAND GROUND AGAINST IRAN

September 24, 2013

Fox News on September 23, 2013, reported that on the heels of criticism over his handling of the stand-off with Syria, President Obama is facing pressure from Congress to stand his ground with Iran — in the run-up to the U.N. General Assembly session in New York where Hassan Rowhani will make his debut visit as Iran’s president. Excerpts below:

Rowhani has sent signals over the last few weeks that he’s willing to engage the U.S. in talks over his country’s nuclear program. Obama revealed in an interview a week ago that he and the newly elected Iranian leader have been exchanging letters.

The communication raised the possibility that Obama, or perhaps Secretary of State John Kerry, might meet on the sidelines of the U.N. session, and jump-start a new round of talks aimed at convincing Iran to abandon any pursuit of nuclear weapons and open up its program to inspectors.

Senators Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., though, urged Obama to tread cautiously.

“Like you, we viewed the election of Hassan Rouhani as an indicator of discontent amongst the Iranian people and we have taken note of recent diplomatic overtures by Iran,” they wrote. “However, whatever nice words we may hear from Mr. Rouhani, it is Iranian action that matters.”

They continued: “Iran is not a friend whose word can be taken as a promise. The test of Iranian seriousness must be verifiable action by Iran to terminate its nuclear weapons program.”

The senators specifically called on Obama to use his U.N. speech to reiterate the U.S. position that the country will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons capability, and that the U.S. demands “verifiable action” from Iran in order to reach a “diplomatic accord.”

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote Obama a similar letter, urging “that any diplomatic outreach to Iran reemphasize that the United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and that any relief from crippling economic sanctions on Iran will only be provided if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable actions to halt its nuclear activities.”

Iran’s support for Syria’s Bashar Assad has further complicated any attempt to re-start talks with the West over its nuclear program.