I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.
You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader—American President Franklin Roosevelt—King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy—and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.
Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.
I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.
Investors breathed a sigh of relief following the first-place showing of centrist and pro-European Union candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of France’s presidential elections Sunday, sending the Euro to a five-month high relative to the dollar. Populist Marine Le Pen ranked second in the voting.
Why it matters: The results make it more likely that Macron will be France’s next president, keeping France in the EU. That should have a positive impact on both French stocks and the U.S. economy.
Paris rising: High Frequency Economics’ Carl Weinberg predicts that French stocks will rally in trading Monday, and that interest rates on French government debt will fall. France isn’t out of the woods, however. Weinberg writes that Macron will have a tough time corralling a divided Parliament to implement pro-growth reforms.
Domestic affairs: A Blackrock Investment Institute note to clients calls Macron a “business friendly” candidate that will not get in the way of Europe’s improving economy. The U.S. economy has seen the benefits of faster growth in Europe—political stability across the Atlantic is good for business here.
Caveat: David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments warns that “it’s not a done deal yet,” and that the push and pull of a high profile election will cause “markets to remain volatile in the run-up to the final round of voting on May 7 and potentially even beyond.”
A U.N. Security Council statement condemning North Korea’s latest attempted missile launch was obstructed Wednesday following Russian objections to its tough stance.
The statement would have demanded an immediate end to violations of Security Council resolutions sanctioning the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and underscored the “vital importance” of Pyongyang “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization.”
Russia objected to the removal of language promoting a settlement “through dialogue,” according to diplomatic sources.
North Korea’s failed test of a ballistic missile Sunday came the day after a major military parade in celebration of the birth anniversary of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung. The missile exploded shortly after launch.
A previous Security Council statement, released two days after Pyongyang’s April 4 missile test launch, noted the commitment of council members to “a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation and welcomed efforts by council members, as well as other states, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.”
The current statement was drafted by the U.S. — which is presiding over the council for the month of April — and takes a stronger position than previous council statements.
With over 97% of ballots counted, Turkey’s president Erdogan and soon, quasi dictator, declared victory in the Turkish referendum and called the leaders of three political parties supporting changes to the constitution to congratulate them on the victory, Anadolu news agency reported, and added rather comically that “many world leaders send congratulatory messages to President Erdogan.” One wonders who exactly…
Absent some last minute fireworks, Turkey is now set to shift to a presidential system as the outcome of the referendum puts “Yes” votes at 51.3%, according to unofficial sources.
“Yes” votes were ahead at 51.3% or 24.598.880 votes, while “No” votes fell behind at 48.6% or 23,326,636 votes. “Yes” votes prevailed in four of Turkey’s seven regions, including southeastern Anatolia.
The reforms were approved by 339 deputies on January 21st, and Erdo?an signed the amendments on February 10th. Under the proposed changes, the post of prime minister is abolished and the president, vice president(s) and cabinet officials can be investigated by the parliament. The current system has no mechanism that monitors presidential conduct.
Theresa May’s letter to Donald Tusk has been released in full. Here it is.
Among the key points…
“We must work hard” to avoid falling back on WTO trade terms, and security is at stake
In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek.
“The UK does not seek membership of the single market.” On having cake and eating it…
We understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and there can be no “cherry picking”. We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part – just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.
Saudi Arabia hailed yesterday’s meeting as a “historical turning point” in relations with the United States. He met with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is the economic power broker in the kingdom.
The White House said they discussed development of a new US-Saudi program with initiatives including infrastructure and energy worth potentially more than $200 billion.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has hinted at his support to have a second referendum if a “significant part” of those who voted for Brexit change their mind.
Speaking to launch his campaign to “persuade” people not to leave the EU, Mr Blair said:
If a significant part of that 52 per cent show real change of mind, however you measure it, we should have the opportunity to reconsider the decision.
Whether you do it through another referendum, or another method, that’s a second order question.
The former leader of the Labour party also invoked the “propensity for revolt” seen across the developed to call on pro-EU supporters to convince people who “voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit”.
“As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do”, he added.
Mr Blair said he wanted to “strengthen the hand of the MPs who are with us and let those against know they have serious opposition to Brexit At Any Cost”, adding:
This is not the time for retreat, indifference or despair; but the time to rise up in defence of what we believe – calmly, patiently, winning the argument by the force of argument; but without fear and with the conviction we act in the true interests of Britain.