MUNICH (Reuters) – President Hamid Karzai is unlikely to sign a pact for U.S. and NATO forces to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and will probably leave the choice for his successor, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Saturday.
Kabul and Washington spent months negotiating a legal framework for some U.S. troops to stay on after the end of 2014, when NATO-led forces are due to end combat operations, leaving behind a much smaller training and advisory mission.
MUNICH (Reuters) – Britain is close to placing its first order for Lockheed Martin-built (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) F-35 super-stealth jets, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Saturday.
Reuters cited sources last week as saying that Britain was likely to announce an order soon for 14 of the advanced jets, marking Britain’s first firm F-35 purchase since it committed to buying 48 planes in 2012.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and the European Union’s top two officials were set to hold “clear the air” talks in Brussels on Tuesday after months of growing tension over Ukraine and trade and energy disputes.
Instead of the normal two-day summit, the EU decided to cut out dinner with Putin on Monday night, sending a message to the Russian leader that it is no longer “business as usual”, with relations at their lowest point in years.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO faces tough decisions next month about whether to pull all its troops out of Afghanistan after this year if President Hamid Karzai does not sign accords allowing them to stay, the alliance’s leader said on Monday.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen repeated his warning that the 28-nation alliance would be forced to pull all its troops out of Afghanistan by year-end if it does not have a legal framework in place to keep some there.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union and Russian leaders will trade recriminations over Ukraine at a summit on Tuesday, as the former Soviet republic reels from violent unrest after spurning the EU’s embrace and lurching back towards Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Brussels for talks with EU leaders at a time when relations are strained over Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision in November to turn his back on a trade and political agreement with the EU in favour of closer trade ties with Russia.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia, caught in a pre-Sochi Olympic uproar over gay rights, accuses the European Union in a new report of trying to enforce “an alien view” of homosexuality on other countries.
The accusation is contained in a 153-page “Report on the human rights situation in the European Union”, in which Moscow hits back at human rights criticism it regularly faces from the West by listing what it sees as rights failings in EU nations.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russian natural gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will hold more talks with the European Commission on Thursday aimed at settling a European Union antitrust investigation, Russia’s ambassador to the EU said on Wednesday.
The Brussels meeting between Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, a Gazprom representative and EU antitrust officials will be the first since Gazprom offered last month to settle an EU investigation into its business practices, a person familiar with the matter said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, making his first visit to Brussels in five years, faced sharp criticism from European Union leaders on Tuesday over a crackdown on the judiciary and police that has rattled investors.
Erdogan has purged hundreds of police and moved to impose tighter control on the courts in response to a corruption inquiry that has rocked his centre-right AK Party, which has Islamist roots and has been in power for more than a decade.
BANGUI/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Central African Republic lawmakers chose their capital’s mayor to become interim president on Monday and lead the country out of months of sectarian killings, as the European Union agreed to send in 500 troops to help restore order.
The change in leadership and deepening international involvement in the former French colony follow waves of killing and looting that have forced 1 million people – nearly a quarter of the population – to flee.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union decided on Monday to send troops to help stabilize Central African Republic, deploying its first major army operation in six years, but the force will be smaller than originally expected at around 500-strong.
The EU has been spurred into action by communal bloodshed in Central African Republic that led a senior U.N. official to warn last week of a risk of genocide there without a more decisive international response.