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WASHINGTON, 29 January 2022, (TON): Washington is awaiting the reaction of the Russian authorities to the US written response to Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, which can be expressed in a telephone conversation or a personal meeting.

This was stated on Friday at an online briefing by US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan.

He said “we will wait for the reaction and assessment of the Russian government to the written responses of the United States. Further, as Secretary of State Blinken noted, there will be a telephone conversation or a meeting. But nothing has been agreed yet.”

The ambassador noted that such contact could happen in a short time and added that its date would depend on the Russian leadership.

Sullivan said “it all depends on the Russian government, on their response to the documents provided by the US and NATO, and when they want to continue the discussion.”

He stressed that the response that the United States provided to Russia carries a call for a de-escalation of the current situation. The Ambassador expressed hope that the document handed over by Washington to Moscow would influence this.

Sullivan said “US responses to Russian proposals for security assurances contain counterproposals in the area of arms control and take into account Russian concerns.”

DUSHANBE, 29 January 2022, (TON): Tajikistan said that two of its citizens were killed and 10 injured during overnight clashes at its contested border with Kyrgyzstan, where a ceasefire is now in place.

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan said they had reached a ceasefire early Friday following the latest lethal flare up at the pair’s contested border.

The violence that broke out Thursday evening was the bloodiest escalation between the countries since clashes that killed dozens last year.

The Kyrgyz and Tajik frontier communities regularly clash over land and water supplies, with border guards often involved.

Tajikistan’s national security committee said in a statement “as a result of the latest conflict 10 people were injured on the Tajik side, of which six were servicemen and four were civilians.”

Tajikistan added that the two dead were a man born in 1986 “killed by a mortar shell fired by Kyrgyz soldiers into his yard” and an ambulance driver born in 1964.

Following the overnight clashes, Kyrgyzstan’s national security committee said that it had reached an agreement for “a complete ceasefire” with Tajikistan during a meeting at the border between provincial governors and border service representatives.

MOSCOW, 29 January 2022, (TON): The White House says President Joe Biden warned Ukraine’s president that there is a distinct possibility Russia could take military action against Ukraine in February.

The Kremlin likewise sounded a grim note, saying it saw little ground for optimism in resolving the crisis after the U.S. this week again rejected Russia’s main demands.

Russian officials said dialogue was still possible to end the crisis, but Biden again offered a stark warning amid growing concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin will give the go-ahead for a further invasion of Ukrainian territory in the not-so-distant future.

The White House said Biden’s comments to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a phone call amplified concerns that administration officials have been making for some time.

“President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said. “He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. ”

LONDON, 29 January 2022, (TON): British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the UK stands “with our Emirati friends” following a deadly attack by Yemen’s Houthi militia last week.

Speaking during a phone call with her UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Truss strongly condemned the attack that killed three people and wounded seven others.

The Iran-backed Houthis launched a number of ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones toward Abu Dhabi on Jan. 17 targeting fuel facilities of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the airport.

The militia renewed its attack on the capital on Monday and launched two ballistic missiles that were intercepted by the UAE with US support.

Truss said “she and Sheikh Abdullah agreed that Houthi attacks must stop, a diplomatic solution was needed, and to continue to work closely on regional stability.”

Emirates news agency WAM reported “they also stressed that these terrorist attacks undermine efforts to achieve security and stability in the region.”

MOSCOW, 29 January 2022, (TON): Russian Foreign Ministry stated in the message that Moscow, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity and parity, decided to expand the response list of EU representatives who are banned from entering Russia.

The ministry said “the Russian Federation has repeatedly warned the EU side against using instruments of unilateral restrictions that are illegitimate in international law. In connection with the decisions taken by the European Union, Moscow has openly stated that it reserves the right to retaliate.

It added “in this regard, the Russian side, guided by the principle of reciprocity and parity , has decided to expand the response list of representatives of EU member states and institutions who are prohibited from entering the territory of the Russian Federation.”

According to the diplomatic department, the black list includes the heads of European PMCs operating in various regions of the world, as well as representatives of law enforcement agencies, legislative and executive authorities of a number of EU member countries, who are personally responsible for promoting anti-Russian policy and “imposing” measures that infringe legal rights of Russian-speaking residents and the media.

“A note from the Russian Foreign Ministry informing about this step has been sent to the European Union Delegation in Russia in accordance with the established procedure,” they added on Smolenskaya Square.

The ministry stressed that the EU continues “an illegal, destructive and senseless policy of unilateral restrictions against Russia.”

BRUSSELS, 29 January 2022, (TON): According to a statement released by the EU Foreign Service “the eighth round of consultations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna has been suspended until early next week, the delegations will return to their capitals.”

The document says “the eighth round of negotiations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in Vienna has been suspended. Participants will return to their capitals for consultations with their governments. Negotiations will resume next week.”

The document says “the meeting participants will continue discussions about the possibility of the US returning to the JCPOA and how to achieve full and effective implementation of the agreement by all parties.”

BANGKOK, 29 January 2022, (TON): Thailand’s labor and tourism sector chiefs said “they were looking forward to exploring opportunities in Saudi Arabia in the wake of a restoration of ties between the two countries following the Thai prime minister’s visit to Riyadh.”

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was in the Saudi capital on Jan. 25 and 26 on the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first top leadership meeting between the nations in more than three decades.

One of the agreements signed during the trip was a labor cooperation deal, which Thai government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Thursday was expected to take force within two months.

Saudi Arabia was at one time a popular destination for Thai expats with more than 300,000 of them living and working in the Kingdom during the 1980s.

According to Thailand’s labor ministry data “currently, there are less than 1,350 Thai workers in Saudi Arabia, employed mainly as welders, technicians, and household staff.”

Aranya Sakulkosol, chairman of the Thai Overseas Manpower Association, a government-affiliated recruitment agency for overseas jobs, told Arab News that the resumption of diplomatic relations was “good news, as Saudi Arabia is also carrying on the developing plan that will provide opportunity for Thai laborers especially those with skills.”

RIYADH, 29 January 2022, (TON): The Kingdom’s defense ministry said “the Royal Saudi Naval Forces continued a mixed bilateral maritime exercise with their Egyptian counterparts in the Red Sea.”

The Morjan 17 exercise, which began on Jan. 23, is being held at King Faisal Naval Base in the Western Fleet.

The exercise witnessed a number of combat hypotheses, such as dealing with hostile targets using live ammunition, storming buildings, reconnaissance of beaches and islands, maneuvers for naval vessels in the Red Sea, and several lectures on various maritime and strategic fields.

The ministry said “this exercise aims to strengthen relations and joint cooperation and raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the Egyptian Navy.”

MOSCOW, 29 January 2022, (TON): Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock in a telephone conversation on Friday expressed support for the work of the Normandy format to promote the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Russian diplomatic service said in a statement “mutual support was expressed for the work within the framework of the Normandy format to promote the full implementation of the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine.”

Lavrov also shared with Burbock Russia’s first reaction to the US and NATO responses on security assurances.

The Russian diplomatic agency said in a statement “Lavrov again drew attention to Russian initiatives on security guarantees in Europe and shared the first reaction to the US and NATO documents received in response to these initiatives, emphasizing the priority of the tasks of not expanding the North Atlantic Alliance and not deploying strike weapons that threaten Russia.”

MOSCOW, 29 January 2022, (TON): Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock in a telephone conversation on Friday expressed support for the work of the Normandy format to promote the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Russian diplomatic service said in a statement “mutual support was expressed for the work within the framework of the Normandy format to promote the full implementation of the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine.”

Lavrov also shared with Burbock Russia’s first reaction to the US and NATO responses on security assurances.

The Russian diplomatic agency said in a statement “Lavrov again drew attention to Russian initiatives on security guarantees in Europe and shared the first reaction to the US and NATO documents received in response to these initiatives, emphasizing the priority of the tasks of not expanding the North Atlantic Alliance and not deploying strike weapons that threaten Russia.”

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