Politics

Syria Peace Talks Hinge on Envoy’s Answers

BEIRUT/GENEVA/PARIS, Jan 27 – The Syrian opposition is awaiting clarification on key points from the United Nations before deciding whether to attend peace negotiations planned for Friday. The Syrian government has already agreed to join the talks that U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura hopes to convene in an indirect format in Geneva with the aim

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Iran Warns U.S. Warship to Leave Area of Naval Exercise

DUBAI, Jan 27 – Iran’s navy on Wednesday warned a U.S. warship to leave an area of the Sea of Oman where the Iranians were holding an exercise, the Tasnim news agency said. The agency, close to the Revolutionary Guards, reported that after the warning to the vessel, it left the area instantly and “the

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Syrian Opposition’s Manna Says No Peace Talks Without Kurds

By Cecile Mantovani LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Jan 27 – The co-leader of the Syrian Democratic Council, Haytham Manna, on Wednesday he would not take part in peace talks in Geneva unless two Kurdish leaders, Saleh Muslim and Ilham Ahmed, were also invited to participate. “I’ll go with my friends or not (at all). There is no

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Qatar Emir Names New Foreign Minister in Cabinet Reshuffle

DOHA, Jan 27 – Qatar’s emir issued a decree on Wednesday replacing the foreign minister and merging some portfolios, state news agency QNA reported, in what was seen as a move to consolidate his power and cut costs after the sharp drop in oil prices. Qatar, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporter, is one

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U.N. Invites Warring Parties to Syria Talks This Week

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Tom Perry and Tom Miles AMMAN/BEIRUT/GENEVA, Jan 27  – The United Nations invited Syria’s government and opposition to peace talks in Geneva on Friday, but Saudi-backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad have yet to decide whether to drop their objections to taking part. The U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura,

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Libya’s Recognized Parliament Rejects U.N.-Backed Unity Gov’t.

By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI, Libya, Jan 25 – Libya’s internationally recognized parliament voted on Monday to reject a unity government proposed under a United Nations-backed plan to resolve the country’s political crisis and armed conflict. Though not a surprise, the rejection was a setback in efforts to heal Libya’s deep divides. Of 104 members who

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Syria Peace Talks Stalled Over Who Represents Opposition

By Lisa Barrington and David Brunnstrom BEIRUT/VIENTIANE, Jan 25 – Syrian peace talks meant to begin this week were stalled on Monday partly over the question of who would represent the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he expected clarity within a day or two, and expressed support for

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Syria’s Opposition to Meet Tuesday, Blames Russia for “Obstacles”

BEIRUT, Jan 25 – Syria’s opposition will meet on Tuesday to discuss U.N.-led efforts to convene delayed peace talks, an opposition spokesman said, repeating a call for goodwill steps from the government including a halt to bombardments before any talks happen. The United Nations is trying to convene the first talks in two years to

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Iran, Saudi Should De-Escalate Tensions: Saudi Foreign Minister

TEHRAN, Jan 25 – Iran and Saudi Arabia should take every step to de-escalate the tension between them, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Monday. Tensions between the regional rivals escalated this month after Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric triggered an attack by Iranian protesters on its Tehran embassy, leading the kingdom to

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Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Opposition Will Join Work on New Constitution

By Gulsen Solaker ANKARA, Jan 25 – Turkey‘s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said on Sunday it would take part in a parliamentary commission charged with drafting a new constitution and would challenge the ruling AK Party’s plans for a strong executive presidency. The AK Party has broad cross-party support for overhauling Turkey‘s constitution, which

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