15/12/2017 World News Today


15/12/2017

The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

This is BBC World News Today.

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I'm Ben Bland.

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Our top stories...

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Austria becomes the only country in

Europe for the far right party in

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power.

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Brexit negotiations are moving on.

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EU leaders give the green light

for talks to proceed to phase two

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but warn the next stage

will be even tougher.

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We are able to conclude that

sufficient progress has been made.

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Now it's up to us to draft

the withdrawal agreement together

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with our British friends.

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The United States and North Korea

trade barbs at a sitting of the UN

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Security Council in New York,

as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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suggests Washington could be open

to dialogue with Pyongyang.

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And...

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Save the date - Prince Harry

and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle

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will wed at Windsor Castle

on the 19th of May.

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Hello and welcome

to World News Today.

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In Austria, a coalition deal between

the Conservative's People's party

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and the far right Freedom party has

been announced. It paves the way for

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this man to become the next

Chancellor. The deal comes two

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months after the original

parliamentary election. It means

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Austria will become the only western

European party with the far right

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party in government.

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Do we expect to see politics in

Austria shifting to the right?

It

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appears so, yes. We have a

government which is conservative and

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far right and it was noticeable

that, during the election campaign,

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it was dominated by the question of

anti-migrant feeling. The Freedom

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party even accused the Conservatives

of stealing their position when it

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came to anti-migrants. What lobby

interesting to see though is how the

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two parties have balanced out the

ministries. They announced this

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coalition deal but could not give

any details, the two leaders. They

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say tomorrow they will meet

Austria's president, who basically

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give the green light to this

coalition to go ahead. They will

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then speak to the parties. It will

be very interesting to see the

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similarities and differences.

We

will not get the details of what

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they agree until Saturday, but any

kind of ideas as to what the junior

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coalition party might extract is a

price for propping up the

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government?

They have had a very

long coalition negotiation. The

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Freedom party is not that much

smaller than the Conservative Party.

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One of the things that did emerge a

few days ago that we know about is

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repealing a proposed total smoking

ban in Austria's restaurants and

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bars, but we do not know what else

they have managed to get. There is

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speculation that the Freedom party

may have charged both the Foreign

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Ministry and the Interior Ministry

and possibly the Justice Ministry,

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but we do not have confirmation of

that yet, we will have to wait and

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see what emerges over the next

couple of days. But I think a lot of

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people will be wondering exactly how

the Freedom party will in

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government. Sebastien and his

Conservatives, some people say they

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will tame the Freedom party from its

populism, others will say they are

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being pushed more towards the right,

so this will be what the Austrians

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will be watching in the months

ahead.

Thank you very much, Bethany.

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It's been a big day for the future

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of the United Kingdom,

as it continues the process

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of removing itself

from the European Union.

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The 27 other EU leaders have

officially given the green light

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for a change in gear,

from purely divorce

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talks to negotiating

the relationship to come.

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The UK hopes that will include

a generous trade deal in due course.

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The British Prime Minister Theresa

May has hailed the progress

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as an "important step" forward.

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But she still faces differences

of opinion in her own government

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and suffered an embarrassing House

of Commons defeat on Brexit

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earlier this week.

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Damian Gramatticas has more.

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On a big day for the EU,

a barrage of questions.

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Last night, these leaders gave

Theresa May a round of applause.

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Not very enthusiastically,

but it was well-deserved.

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Angela Merkel led that gesture,

appreciative after Mrs May told EU

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leaders she wants a smooth Brexit.

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It's what they want, too.

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The one leader who isn't

here is Theresa May herself,

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the leader for whom this matters

more than any other,

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getting the green light

in the Brexit process,

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to move to the next stage.

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And so, the looming question -

exactly what does the UK want future

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ties with the EU to look like?

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I think the first big step

is for the United Kingdom to say

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very clearly what it wants

in clear terms.

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I think if this happens in the next

few weeks we can start in earnest

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and by March we will have a very

clear European position.

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Thank you.

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First, the EU 27 agreed,

as expected, sufficient

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progress has been made.

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Then the discussions turned

to the EU's terms for phase

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two of the negotiations

and a new set of guidelines.

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They say talks will only move

on if all commitments the UK has

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made so far are respected in full -

so no backtracking on the financial

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and citizens' deals.

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And for a transition,

the EU's terms are, the UK

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will continue to participate

in the customs union and single

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market - so little change -

but the UK will not have a part

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in EU decision-making and will have

to accept all the same rules

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as everyone else including any

new EU regulations and be bound

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by the European Court of Justice.

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As for the framework

for future relations,

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it is now time for internal EU 27

preparations and

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contact with the UK.

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To get more clarity on their vision.

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As for what the UK wants most

of all, in-depth discussions

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about the future ties,

they will have to wait until March,

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EU leaders said, indicating

it is the EU who is firmly

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in control of the Brexit process.

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My colleague Christian Fraser

is in Brussels for the summit

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and gave us this assessment

of the talks finally

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came to a conclusion.

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I think what we take away from this

summit is that the EU side really

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does want to deal with Theresa May.

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They see her as their best

chance for a smooth Brexit

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and also they think that,

with her, they can ensure

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that there aren't the same sort

of hiccups that we might have seen

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over the course of the last

eight or nine months.

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Let's talk to Damian Grammaticas,

our Europe our Europe

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correspondent, about that.

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Is that a broad assessment

of where we're at, that they see

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Theresa May as their best chance?

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Well, I think they want a stable

Prime Minister in the UK who can

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make difficult compromises

for the UK because that is going

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to continue to happen,

and who can deliver those.

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So, that is crucial.

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There was a real sort

of audible sigh of relief

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in this building today.

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And it's interesting -

the end of this year is actually

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quite a good point to take stock

because we had the triggering

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of Article 50 at the

beginning of the year.

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All sorts of confusion

about what was going to happen.

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As you said, real down

points when it looked

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like everything might fall apart,

and they're back on track

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and I think that's what

matters to the Europeans.

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What do you make of where

we're at now in terms

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of the future relationship?

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Because Theresa May's not

spelt out much of that,

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but then perhaps that's not a bad

strategy because, if you look at how

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she's dealt with the first phase,

she didn't spell much of that out

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to her own side, either.

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Well, what I can say, I think,

is that the EU side,

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the messages they've put out,

is that they find that quite

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frustrating, actually, I think,

because they want to know more -

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they want to engage in this

discussion, and I think they feel

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that the UK side hasn't yet.

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We know the UK Cabinet hasn't yet

engaged fully with discussing

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what the future will look

like and the EU feeling, I think,

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certainly, is that these are really

difficult things that have got to be

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grappled with and that the earlier

the UK does that, the better,

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because then the EU can engage

with what the UK wants

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and that's what we're

going to start to see next year.

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Yeah.

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Having said that, they have

all been prime ministers,

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Jean-Claude Juncker included.

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Some of them lead minority

governments, some of them

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are at the head of weak coalitions.

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They know how difficult it is to be

a Prime Minister and they're

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painfully aware of the maths back

in the UK.

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They are, and I think

that's an important point,

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actually, to make.

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It's an important point to remember

in that there's a lot of sort

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of concern in the UK,

I think, watching the progress

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of legislation through Parliament.

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Here, that is viewed as a normal,

natural part of this process.

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Every parliament in Europe

is going to have to look

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at what happens in this process,

what comes out at the end

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of it, and approve it.

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So, they think it's fine that the UK

is doing the same thing.

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But, actually, I think

the EU side see that...

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They don't see that as in any way,

I think, weakening Theresa May.

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In a way, I think they'd be glad

of the fact that the parliament

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will approve something because,

as I say, they want a sort

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of durable outcome from this

that works all round,

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however hard it is to get to that.

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So, in the New Year,

they move on to the next

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part of negotiation.

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One thing we should just say

about the withdrawal process.

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They are saying in the document

that they released today

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that they expect the withdrawal

agreement to be put

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into a legal text.

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They want it to be legally binding.

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And there is still a little bit

of work to finish on that,

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particularly when it comes

to citizens' rights.

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They're hoping that that can be done

in parallel with the talks

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about the future negotiation.

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But that is the situation

here in Brussels at the end

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of this EU summit.

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Christian Fraser there

at the summit in Brussels.

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The US Secretary of State says

North Korea needs to show

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a "sustained cessation

of threatening behaviour" before

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meaningful talks can begin.

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Rex Tillerson was speaking

at a meeting of the UN

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Security Council in New York.

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Mr Tillerson also questioned

the commitment of Moscow,

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and especially Beijing,

in trying to reign in the secretive

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state's nuclear and ballistic

missile programmes.

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There's Chinese crude oil flows

to North Korean refineries.

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The United States questions China's

commitment to solving an issue that

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has serious implications

for the security

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of its own citizens.

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Recently, the North Korean regime

has sought to portray UN sanctions

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as harmful to women and children,

but this is a regime that

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hypocritically spends billions

on nuclear and ballistic missile

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programmes while its own people

suffer great poverty.

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The regime could feed and care

for women, children and ordinary

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people of North Korea if it chose

the welfare of its people over

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weapons development.

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Let's speak to the BBC's

Nada Tawfik who is in New York.

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Many may remember that just

on Tuesday when Rex Tillerson

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was addressing an audience

at a think tank event

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on North Korea.

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He said the US was ready to enter

into talks without preconditions.

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The White House quickly came

out and denied that,

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saying the US policy had not changed

at all and so today we saw

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Rex Tillerson toughening his stance

there, saying North Korea had

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to earn its rights to get

to the negotiating table

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and they really had to show

a commitment walking

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back its nuclear programme before

those talks could get under way.

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It's interesting because it

really echoes a lot

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of what the US' allies have said.

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For example, the Japanese Foreign

Minister, who presided over

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this high-level meeting,

he said that we shouldn't be

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conducting dialogue

for the sake of dialogue,

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that these resolutions are very

clear, that North Korea has

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to end its programme

and there should be no

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compromise on that front.

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How did North Korea respond?

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Well, it was a rare appearance

that we got from North Korea's

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ambassador and he said

that the nuclear programme was

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a self defensive measure to protect

against the United States.

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He said, if anyone was to blame

it was the US, that North Korea

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was a peace-loving country,

it was a responsible nuclear power

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and that, as long as North Korea's

rights were not infringed upon,

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no state should be worried

about them using their arsenal.

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Rex Tillerson hit back at that,

saying that the only country

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responsible and who held

the solution to this

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issue was North Korea

itself as the aggressor.

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How did all of this go down

with the other members

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of the Security Council present?

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Well, the Europeans kind of endorsed

this maximum pressure along

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with the diplomacy approach,

saying it was important that

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North Korea, that sanctions

were implemented and pressure

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was put on North Korea so they could

come to the negotiating table.

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Russia and China, on the other hand,

again, they feel that North Korea

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needs to abide by its obligations

under the Security Council

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resolutions, but they did show

concern about the increased rhetoric

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we're seeing in the region,

saying it is unhelpful

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and could lead to unintended

consequences if there's any

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miscalculation that goes forward.

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They reiterated their call,

this proposal that Russia

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and China have put out,

that says the US and Japan

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and South Korea should

cease military activities

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in the region in return

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for North Korea stopping

their programme.

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They called for that as a possible

resolution to this issue.

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Thank you.

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Let's take a look at some of

the other stories making the news.

0:14:520:14:55

Police in the Netherlands have shot

and wounded a man who was armed

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with a knife in the country's main

airport, Schipol, just

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outside Amsterdam.

0:15:010:15:02

The main entrance to

the airport was evacuated -

0:15:020:15:04

but has now re-opened.

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The man is in custody.

0:15:050:15:06

There were no reports

of other injuries.

0:15:060:15:08

Zimbabwe's ruling party has

endorsed the new president,

0:15:080:15:10

Emmerson Mnangagwa, as their leader

and candidate in next year's

0:15:100:15:12

presidential elections.

0:15:120:15:22

The Oxford English Dictionary

has chosen "youthquake"

0:15:280:15:29

as its word of the year.

0:15:290:15:31

The word - first used in the 1960s -

is defined as a "significant

0:15:310:15:34

cultural, political,

or social change arising

0:15:340:15:36

from the actions or influence

of young people".

0:15:360:15:38

It's been used more recently

in relation to the effect of young

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voters on politics in Britain,

France and New Zealand.

0:15:410:15:51

Still to come... The UN warns the

United States is becoming the world

0:15:510:15:58

champion of inequality under Donald

Trump.

0:15:580:16:07

The signatures took only a few

minutes but they brought a formal

0:16:210:16:24

end to three and a half years of

conflict, conflict has claimed more

0:16:240:16:28

than 200,000 lives. The presence of

Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia put their

0:16:280:16:34

names to the peace agreement.

The

Romanian border was sealed in silent

0:16:340:16:45

today. Flamini has cut itself off

from the outside world to prevent

0:16:450:16:49

the details of the presumed massacre

from leaking out.

The Lewinsky

0:16:490:16:59

affair tonight guaranteed Bill

Clinton his place in history is only

0:16:590:17:03

the second president ever to be

impeached.

0:17:030:17:14

Austria will become the only Western

European country with a far right

0:17:200:17:24

party in power. The Conservatives

have reached a deal with the

0:17:240:17:29

anti-immigration Freedom party.

Britain's drawn-out divorce from the

0:17:290:17:32

EU seems to be making progress. EU

leaders have given the green light

0:17:320:17:36

for talks to progress to two.

0:17:360:17:47

England's cricketers will begin day

three of the third Ashes Test in

0:17:490:17:54

Perth. But they will need to

dispense with Steve Smith early on.

0:17:540:18:00

He is unbeaten 92 and knows victory

will secure the series and the

0:18:000:18:03

famous trophy.

If day one of this

Test match belonged to England, day

0:18:030:18:13

two has belonged to Australia. Not

that it seemed that way at first.

0:18:130:18:20

Jonny Bairstow reached his century

and celebrated by head-butting his

0:18:200:18:27

helmet, a reference to that infamous

incident in a bar in Perth. But when

0:18:270:18:32

Milan went for 140, the rest

0:18:320:18:37

of England's batting collapsed

horribly. They lost their last six

0:18:370:18:42

wickets for 35 runs, 403 all out and

will feel they should have gotten a

0:18:420:18:46

lot more than that. But England's

bowlers set about repairing the

0:18:460:18:52

damage, two wickets for Craig

Overton but than a half-century and

0:18:520:18:55

92 not out from Captain Steve Smith

turn things around in Australia's

0:18:550:19:02

favour. In the end, it was

Australia's day but Jonny Bairstow

0:19:020:19:07

with that century, these were his

thoughts afterwards.

It was my

0:19:070:19:15

favourite one in many ways. I have

played in a few Ashes Series so far.

0:19:150:19:19

The score and Ashes hundreds of

something you dream about as a kid.

0:19:190:19:23

It has eluded me until now. A whole

heap of emotions came through.

0:19:230:19:32

Australia will feel they are right

back in this. One of the key men,

0:19:320:19:39

are battling half-century helping to

turn things around, afterwards he

0:19:390:19:42

said he was surprised by the speed

of England's batting collapse.

It

0:19:420:19:46

was not that England have a history

of collapsing, we just knew that if

0:19:460:19:52

we had a breakthrough, the new

batsmen would find it tough coming

0:19:520:19:54

in. Leading into the tail, another

wicket, it is never an easy place to

0:19:540:20:08

bat.

A good day for Australia. Steve

Smith the captain is very much the

0:20:080:20:14

key man. 92 not out going into day

three. If he gets a big century,

0:20:140:20:20

Australia will still be hopeful of

securing a first innings lead and

0:20:200:20:24

potentially match-winning and Ashes

winning position.

Pep Guardiola is

0:20:240:20:32

adamant his Manchester City side or

not go all season unbeaten. City are

0:20:320:20:37

11 points ahead of the English

Premier League table after a record

0:20:370:20:42

16th consecutive win. They play

Spurs at home on Saturday.

That

0:20:420:20:48

belongs to Arsene Wenger. We will

lose games. Today's completely

0:20:480:20:56

different. Now what has happened is

an exception. That is not normal,

0:20:560:21:07

but we have done.

The former head of

cycling's International governing

0:21:070:21:12

body has told the BBC the Chris

Froome's adverse drugs test is a

0:21:120:21:16

disaster for the sport that could

use Team Sky or its credibility too.

0:21:160:21:21

Chris Froome was found to have had

double the permitted level of an

0:21:210:21:25

illegal drug in his system. He said

he was following doctors' advice.

0:21:250:21:34

The president said it would be very

hard for the Britain to avoid a ban.

0:21:340:21:47

A senior UN official has criticised

the rich and poor gap in America. He

0:21:500:21:55

says the Trump administration's

policies could make the situation

0:21:550:21:59

even worse. President Trump has

argued that cutting tax will result

0:21:590:22:04

in the US economy performing more

robust you. Let's speak to David

0:22:040:22:09

Willis. What are the other points

that Mr Ulster made?

This is a

0:22:090:22:18

scathing report on the state of

poverty in one of the richest

0:22:180:22:21

nations of the world. The UN special

rapid tour basically making the

0:22:210:22:27

point, after spending two weeks here

and talking to a local and federal

0:22:270:22:34

government official as well as poor

and homeless people, but the

0:22:340:22:37

American dream is becoming an

illusion, the land of opportunity

0:22:370:22:43

fast becoming a land of inequality.

He makes the point that his visit

0:22:430:22:48

here coincided with a change in

direction in US policy on poverty.

0:22:480:22:55

The Trump administration has

proposed a tax reform package making

0:22:550:23:00

its way through Congress. He said,

we will make the United States one

0:23:000:23:05

of the most unequal societies in the

world as far as wealth is concerned

0:23:050:23:08

and widened the gap between the

richest here and the poorest. There

0:23:080:23:13

is a telling phrase, talking about

this notion of American

0:23:130:23:18

exceptionalism, he says the US has

proved itself to be exceptional in

0:23:180:23:23

ways that are shockingly at odds

with its immense wealth and founding

0:23:230:23:28

commitment to human rights. As a

result, contrasts between private

0:23:280:23:33

wealth and public squalor abound.

I

suppose the counter argument of

0:23:330:23:39

those who support the tax cuts would

say that, if it does stimulate the

0:23:390:23:44

US economy, then everyone benefits

from that.

That certainly is

0:23:440:23:50

President Trump's contention. He

says this is a tax reform Bill aimed

0:23:500:23:55

at the middle classes, but critics

say that the main beneficiaries will

0:23:550:24:00

be business and the very wealthy. As

a result, the Democrats are refusing

0:24:000:24:06

en masse to support this bill which

has been going through Congress, and

0:24:060:24:12

indeed there were further

developments today with certain

0:24:120:24:15

clauses being tightened up and so

on. It is expected that legislation

0:24:150:24:20

to go to a vote of both houses next

week and beyond president Trump's

0:24:200:24:29

desk for signing before Christmas.

President Trump is not known as a

0:24:290:24:33

man to take criticism without

putting forward his own side of

0:24:330:24:36

things. Has it responded to this

report?

No response so far, but it

0:24:360:24:42

will not be favourable if the

response comes. We can expect

0:24:420:24:45

tweeting over the weekend in

response to this if it picks up

0:24:450:24:49

traction here on American cable news

outlets. But there is certainly

0:24:490:24:55

damning stuff in that report. No

question about that. Not least as

0:24:550:24:59

well about how the so-called social

safety net has basically been eroded

0:24:590:25:06

to the point where it is no longer

functioning properly and serving

0:25:060:25:11

those that it is intended to serve

him.

0:25:110:25:17

If you have your diary to hand,

you may want to note down

0:25:170:25:20

Saturday 19th of May, 2018.

0:25:200:25:22

That is the date that's been set

for the royal wedding

0:25:220:25:24

of Prince Harry and his fiancee,

actress Meghan Markle.

0:25:240:25:26

The pair announced their

engagement last month.

0:25:260:25:28

They will marry in St George's

Chapel at Windsor Castle.

0:25:280:25:38

Don't forget you can get

in touch with me and some

0:25:460:25:49

of the team on Twitter -

I'm @BenMBland.

0:25:490:25:59

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