BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO and Afghan officials started work on Saturday on drawing up a framework for the alliance to stay on after 2014 despite the fact that a separate pact with the United States, which contributes the bulk of the forces, has still not been signed.
President Hamid Karzai last month defied a consensus in Afghanistan’s grand assembly in favor of the security agreement with the United States, and said he would not sign unless certain conditions were met, and even then, not until after April elections.
BRUSSELS, Dec 19 (Reuters) – European Union leaders agreed
on Thursday to work together more closely on defence and make
falling defence budgets stretch further, but British Prime
Minister David Cameron said London would resist any attempt to
form a European army.
Austerity-hit EU countries have slashed spending in response
to the financial crisis, scaling back on ships, tanks and
fighter jets and undermining Europe’s military strength, much to
the concern of the United States, its critical ally.
BRUSSELS, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Ukraine could have been in line
to receive at least 19 billion euros ($26 billion) in European
Union loans and grants over the next seven years if it had
signed a trade and cooperation agreement with the bloc,
according to internal EU estimates.
Ukraine last month abandoned plans to sign the trade
agreement with Brussels at the last moment in favour of closer
ties with former Soviet overlord Russia, sparking huge
demonstrations in protest.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The heads of the U.N. and European Union aid agencies called on Wednesday for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Syria to allow convoys to deliver help to areas that aid workers cannot reach.
The officials urged all sides in the Syrian war to allow free access for humanitarian groups, saying aid should not be held hostage to political or military considerations.
BRUSSELS/BERLIN, Dec 17 (Reuters) – After many false starts,
Europe looks ready to back plans for a drone development
programme aimed at cutting its reliance on U.S. and Israeli
rivals and bolstering its position in the industry.
European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and
Friday will throw their weight behind a drive to build a
next-generation European surveillance drone by 2020 to 2025,
according to a draft communique seen by Reuters.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union said on Monday it remained ready to sign a trade agreement with Ukraine, despite a snub by President Viktor Yanukovich, and it tried to reassure Moscow that closer EU-Ukraine relations posed no threat to Russia.
Brussels also sought to paper over apparent divisions in its approach to Ukraine, as the Dutch foreign minister slapped down a senior EU official for announcing on Twitter that he had suspended work on the trade pact.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Divisions emerged in the European Union’s policy towards Ukraine on Monday as the Dutch foreign minister slapped down a senior EU official for announcing on Twitter that he had suspended work on a trade agreement with Kiev.
EU foreign ministers arriving for talks on the EU’s relations with Ukraine and Russia said the door remained open for Ukraine to seal a far-reaching trade and political agreement with Brussels despite Kiev’s last-minute decision in November to pull back from signing the deal.
VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Iran’s anger over a new U.S. sanctions measure may have been behind its move to interrupt talks with world powers over how to implement last month’s breakthrough nuclear agreement, two diplomats said on Friday.
Several envoys stressed, however, that the inconclusive outcome of the December 9-12 expert-level discussions in Vienna should not be seen as a sign that the political deal hammered out nearly three weeks ago was in serious trouble.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia criticized “aggressive actions” by Ukrainian demonstrators and the Western response to the protests on Wednesday, saying outsiders should not interfere in Ukraine’s affairs.
President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision last week to spurn a trade and cooperation pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia has triggered days of mass protests.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s defense minister or government, instead of a reluctant President Hamid Karzai, could sign a security pact enabling some U.S. troops to stay in the country after 2014.
An assembly of Afghan elders, the Loya Jirga, last month endorsed the security deal with the United States, but Karzai said he might not sign it until after elections next April.