BRUSSELS/BELGRADE (Reuters) – Crunch talks to end the ethnic partition of Serbia’s former Kosovo province broke up without result on Wednesday, in a potential blow to Serbia’s hopes of starting European Union membership negotiations this year.
Serbia is under pressure from the West to relinquish its hold on a Serb-populated pocket of majority-Albanian Kosovo if it is to secure accession talks with the EU, in what would be a major boost for the biggest economy to emerge from the collapse of federal Yugoslavia.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Crunch talks aimed at ending the ethnic partition of Serbia’s former Kosovo province broke up without result on Wednesday, in a major setback for Serbia’s hopes of starting European Union membership negotiations this year.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has been mediating months of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, said the gap between the two sides was “very narrow, but deep” after a marathon 12-hour session.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Bulgaria will provide more evidence Hezbollah planned an attack that killed five Israelis, in a move it said on Wednesday should convince European Union countries to put the Islamist group on its terrorist list.
Bulgaria accused the Lebanese militant movement on February 5 of carrying out a bomb attack on a bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas that killed the Israelis and their Bulgarian driver last July.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States is urging the European Union to impose sanctions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, which Washington believes helps finance North Korea’s ballistic missile program, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday.
North Korea earlier this month threatened the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike as the United Nations Security Council tightened sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union suspended most sanctions on Zimbabwe on Monday after voters there approved a new constitution paving the way for an election to decide whether President Robert Mugabe extends his 33-year rule.
The move is the most far-reaching step so far in the European Union’s strategy of easing sanctions to encourage political and economic reform in Zimbabwe.
DUBLIN (Reuters) – The European Union was left divided over how to increase its help to the Syrian opposition on Saturday after talks between foreign ministers failed to bridge differences on whether to exempt the rebels from an EU arms embargo.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, skeptical of a French and British drive to lift the arms ban on the rebels, said it was very difficult to detect any enthusiasm among EU foreign ministers meeting in Dublin “for further arming of a conflict that is already much too armed”.
DUBLIN (Reuters) – France and Britain failed to persuade the European Union to back their call to lift an arms embargo on Syrian rebels on Friday despite warning that President Bashar al-Assad could resort to using chemical weapons.
Paris and London want to exempt Assad’s opponents from an EU arms embargo, a step they believe would raise pressure on Assad to negotiate after two years of a civil war that has claimed 70,000 lives.
DUBLIN (Reuters) – France and Britain stepped up their drive on Friday for the European Union to lift its arms embargo to help Syrian rebels, but ran into strong opposition from other member countries who said sending more weapons could worsen the crisis.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said as he arrived for an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Dublin that there was a “very strong case” for lifting or seriously amending the ban on sending weapons to the opposition when EU sanctions on Syria come up for renewal on June 1.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The chief executive of European aerospace firm EADS (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), predicted more shake-ups in the defense industry on Thursday as he painted a gloomy outlook for the sector both domestically and in export markets.
“I think there will be more consolidation happening, but we had one prominent example last year where industry tried to provide some meaningful consolidation and politics interfered,” CEO Tom Enders said, speaking at the European Defence Agency’s annual conference.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The head of NATO said on Monday it was “absolutely ridiculous” for Afghan President Hamid Karzai to accuse the United States of colluding with the Taliban and said Kabul should recognize sacrifices made by other countries on Afghanistan’s behalf.
Karzai marred a debut visit to Afghanistan by the new U.S. defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, on March 10 by accusing Washington and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed beyond 2014, when NATO is set to wrap up its combat mission and most foreign troops are to withdraw.