The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Kremlin, White House issue joint statement on Syria:  In a joint statement issued Saturday by President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both leaders agreed the Syria conflict has “no military solution.”

Meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Vietnam, Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin agreed the six-year-old crisis in Syria must be resolved in accordance with UNSCR 2254, the UN Security Council’s proposal reaffirming Syria’s sovereignty.

The statement also included an endorsement of the Geneva peace talks sponsored by the UN, a desire for all parties to observe designated areas of deescelation, to promote the delivery of humanitarian aid, and a commitment to the defeat of the Islamic State.

11 Pacific Rim nations move ahead on trade agreement; Canada’s Trudeau expresses concern:  Eleven member states previously involved with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) abandoned by America in January have agreed to a set of “core elements,” which will allow them to advance a new trade agreement.

Renamed the “Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the pact will not include either the U.S. or China.

According to a joint statement issued by 11 trade ministers, the new agreement will maintain “high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities.”

Addressing APEC over the weekend, President Trump reiterated his opposition to TPP and declared the U.S. “would not be taken advantage of anymore” in respect to trade agreements; Canadian Prime Minister signaled more tepid opposition, saying Saturday the pact must do more to guarantee protection of his country’s automobile and cultural industries.

Massive earthquake rocks Iran, Iraq, killing hundreds:  Rescue efforts are underway in both Iran and Iraq after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake jolted a region along the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday.  So powerful was the seismic activity, tremors were registered far away as Turkey, Israel and Kuwait.

Tremors continued into Monday as first responders attempted to dig survivors from the rubble.  Over 530 people have been killed, with another 7,460 reported injured.

A map showing an earthquake in the Iran-Iraq border region

According to UN estimates, over 100 million are believed to live in the area affected by the quake.

Ex-Catalonia leaders surrender in Belgium; Thousands rally in Barcelona:  Days after fleeing Catalonia, former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four Catalan cabinet ministers surrendered to Belgian authorities following arrest warrants issued by Spanish officials.

Puigdemont and former Agriculture Minister Meritxell Serret, former Health Minister Antoni Comín, former Culture Minister Lluis Puig and former Education Minister Clara Ponsatí were later released conditionally.

Facing extradition, all four are scheduled to appear in front of a Belgian judge on Nov. 17.

Responding to the arrests, an estimated 750,000 protesters took to the streets of Barcelona Saturday to demand the release of a total of 10 Catalan separatist leaders

In late October, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule over Catalonia.  On Wednesday, the Spanish High Court nullified Catalonia’s Oct. 27 independence declaration.  Over 2,000 Catalan headquartered businesses have moved out of Spain’s northeastern region to-date due to fears of retribution from the EU.


Editor’s note: This article has been updated as to the Iran-Iraq earthquake death toll. 


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