Global leaders are reportedly engaged in urgently-called security/defense meetings, but no official explanation has been offered. And, according to Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, the public may not know why for weeks.
First, President Donald Trump’s schedule for today was completely devoid of public events – a rare occurrence on a workday.
Second, Air Force 2, carrying Vice President Mike Pence, was initially reported to have been turned around mid-air on Tuesday so that he could return to Washington, D.C.
Later, Pence’s press secretary said that he had never actually left D.C.
The White House stated Tuesday that Pence’s return to the White House had nothing to do with the Russian submarine fire, Putin’s schedule or the president’s health.
The vice president was scheduled to appear at a political event in New Hampshire and his chief of staff, Marc Short, told a reporter that the public will find out what happened “in a few weeks.”
Third, Russian President Vladimir Putin cleared his public schedule today so that he could attend an urgent meeting with his Defense Minister. The TASS news agency confirmed this report with the Kremlin.
Then, an unconfirmed report from an Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that the European Union’s Security Council (he probably meant the Council of the European Union Security Committee) has been called for a previously unscheduled meeting, but that tweet was later deleted without explanation.
About that same time, the European Council held a press conference to announce the outcome of a special meeting they have been holding for two days to select commission positions.
It is unclear if this is the special meeting to which the Israeli reporter referred.
The reports of the sudden gathering of global leaders comes as Iran declared that it had violated the terms of the nuclear deal still in-force between it, Europe (P5+1 countries minus the U.S.) and Russia.
7/2 1:58 PM: EU Foreign Ministers drop press release on Iran violations:
In a joint statement France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European External Action Service said:
The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the UK, and the High Representative are extremely concerned at Iran’s announcement that it has exceeded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action stockpile limit for low enriched uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed this information.
We have been consistent and clear that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran. We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation.
We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal. We are urgently considering next steps under the terms of the JCPoA in close coordination with other JCPoA participants.
7/3 9:00 AM – The White House has offered no additional information on Pence’s sudden return to D.C. yesterday. They continue to insist that there was no emergency, just something “came up” that “needed the Vice President’s attention.”
7/3 9:05 AM – After their previously reported meeting on Tuesday, Putin announced that he was sending Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Severomorsk to personally head the investigation into the deaths of 14 crew aboard a Russian submarine that occurred on Monday. While this correlates with Putin canceling his events on Tuesday, it leaves the Vice President’s sudden return to Washington a mystery.
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