TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Friday, Feb 03, 2023

UK says it will work ‘all day’ to persuade Europe to cut Russia off from Swift

UK says it will work ‘all day’ to persuade Europe to cut Russia off from Swift

Foreign secretary goes on diplomatic drive to rally support for peak sanctions measure

The UK has said it will work “all day” to persuade fellow European states to cut Russia off from the international Swift payment system.

The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, ended the pretence that Britain was not at odds with its fellow European leaders over the issue. He said there was still time for Russia to be excluded, and the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said: “The UK is working with allies to exclude Russia from the Swift financial system.”

Wallace added: “We will work all the magic, do everything we can in diplomacy.”

Truss is to undertake a round of shuttle diplomacy to try to rally support for the British position after the EU refused to adopt what has been billed as the “nuclear option” of sanctions.

British officials said that the EU, reflecting the divisions at its council meeting on Thursday, kept the Swift option on the table. UK diplomats are arguing that with Ukrainian forces mounting a defence of their country, and scattered signs of unease in Russian cities, this is the moment to try to get ahead of Putin for once and surprise him with a move that would send the Russian economy straight into the deep freeze.

The British position has the support of Canada and some US senators. British officials insist they will keep up the pressure for the policy even if Kyiv falls.

Boris Johnson lobbied the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Wednesday on the issue but made no progress. Johnson’s position, also raised at a virtual meeting of the G7, is backed by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer.

The Swift payment system (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is the main secure messaging system that banks use to make rapid and secure cross-border payments, allowing international trade to flow smoothly. It has become the principal mechanism for financing international trade. In 2020, about 38m transactions were sent each day over the Swift platform, facilitating trillions of dollars’ worth of deals.

Swift is incorporated under Belgian law and, although supervised by a complex web of central banks, it was forced in 2012 to comply with an EU regulation, as confirmed by its home country government, that had cut Iran off from the banking system.

Wallace said: “We would like to go further. We’d like to do the Swift system – that is the financial system that allows the Russians to move money around the world to receive payments for its gas – but … these are international organisations and if not every country wants them to be thrown out of the Swift system, it becomes difficult.”

Opponents of the move argue that it would incentivise Russia to try to use an alternative fledgling scheme. They also say it would be dangerous for countries highly dependent on Russia for their energy, principally Italy.

The Biden administration privately supports the Swift cutoff, but is also focused on maintaining transatlantic unity. Biden highlighted the other swingeing sanctions that the EU had agreed to take, arguing that they were more effective than Swift. He said: “It is always an option, but right now that’s not the position the rest of Europe wishes to take.”

Scholz said before an EU meeting to decide on sanctions late on Thursday night that it was important for the EU to hold measures in reserve to punish Russia further. “It’s very important that we decide on measures that have been prepared in recent weeks and reserve everything else for a situation where it is necessary to do other things as well,” he said.


The former European Council president Donald Tusk said on Friday that some EU governments had “disgraced themselves” by refusing to impose the toughest possible sanctions on Russia even as Vladimir Putin was bombing Kyiv.

The remarkable rebuke by Tusk, who led meetings of the council as president from 2014 to 2019, revealed deep divisions among Europe’s political elite at what is perhaps the continent’s most acute moment of crisis since the second world war.

“In this war everything is real: Putin’s madness and cruelty, Ukrainian victims, bombs falling on Kyiv,” Tusk posted on Twitter. “Only your sanctions are pretended [sic]. Those EU governments which blocked tough decisions (i.a. Germany, Hungary, Italy) have disgraced themselves.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
×