A decision on Brexit is solely the U.K.’s to make – at least that is what the EU would have everyone believe. The two sides are giving talks another go today and tomorrow in Brussels. The European Union thinks the outlines of a deal are in place, and that it’s on London to decide between what’s on the table and leaving in March without a deal. For their respective parliaments to ratify the deal by March, an agreement probably needs to be reached by December, according to EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Supposedly, Europe is even ready to offer a one-year extension to the Brexit transition period if it helps seal a deal by December – effectively keeping Britain in the EU’s single market and customs union indefinitely, while giving the two sides time to hammer out a new trade deal and resolve the status of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. At this point, the talks are perhaps less about negotiating a deal between the EU and U.K. than they are about resolving disputes within the U.K. itself.
Kosovo plans to create a national army. Already the government has started calling the Kosovo Security Force, a lightly armed force with just 2,500 members, the “Kosovo army.” And by late November, according to Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, parliament will approve draft legislation to expand the KSF’s mandate. The law would allow the KSF to recruit more people, purchase heavy weapons and establish a reserve force. Naturally, Serbia, which has been strengthening military ties with Moscow, opposes the move. More surprising is that NATO, which has some 4,500 soldiers stationed in Kosovo, and the U.S., Kosovo’s biggest foreign donor, are relatively unenthusiastic about it. They’re concerned it would derail peace talks, however underdeveloped those talks may be. Either way, Kosovo’s decision on the matter isn’t solely its own to make.
- The Trump administration officially notified Congress that it will start trade negotiations with Japan, the EU and the U.K. as soon as January.
- Turkey’s foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state held talks over the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They also discussed the fragile U.S.-Turkey deal over the disposition of forces around the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
- Australia became the fourth country to ratify the revived 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
- Moscow says a blast at a college in Crimea that killed at least 10 people and injured another 50 was caused by an explosive device. An unknown number of gunmen participated in the attack.
- Armenia’s prime minister resigned yesterday to pave the way for snap elections in December.
- Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza and closed its border crossings with the territory after a Palestinian rocket hit a house in the Israeli city of Beersheba.
- Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it killed the mastermind behind an attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz in September.