BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief urged caution on Saturday about a Franco-British drive to lift an EU arms embargo to help rebels in Syria, questioning the impact such a step might have on attempts to reach a political settlement there.
Other EU governments rebuffed efforts by Paris and London at an EU summit on Friday to lift the Syrian arms embargo to help opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, although they asked foreign ministers to discuss it again next week.
BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) – France will urge other European Union governments at a summit on Thursday to lift an embargo on supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition, President Francois Hollande said, saying Europe could not allow the Syrian people to be massacred.
Hollande justified his call to increase European help to the Syrian opposition after a two-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad by saying that weapons were being delivered to Assad’s government, particularly by Russia.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France urged the European Union to look again at lifting an arms embargo on Syria to help rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, putting it at odds with Germany which said such a step could spread conflict in the region.
Highlighting the different approaches of two of the European Union’s heavyweights, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday said lifting the arms embargo would help level the playing field in the two-year-old conflict in which 70,000 people have died.
BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and
world powers this week were more constructive and positive than
in the past, but Iran’s willingness to negotiate seriously will
not become clear until an April meeting, a senior Western
diplomat said on Thursday.
The diplomat was more upbeat about the talks in Kazakhstan
than other Western officials have been, suggesting there could
be a chance of diplomatic progress in the long standoff over
Iran’s nuclear activities.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers this week were more constructive and positive than in the past, but Iran’s willingness to negotiate seriously will not become clear until an April meeting, a senior Western diplomat said on Thursday.
The diplomat was more upbeat about the talks in Kazakhstan than other Western officials have been, suggesting there could be a chance of diplomatic progress in the long standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU leaders on Monday gave visiting Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich until May to show his nation had made progress towards political reform if it is serious about clinching a free trade deal which would move it away from Moscow’s orbit.
Both the European Union and Ukraine are keen to cut their dependency on gas giant Russia, but Ukraine has yet to make a clear choice between closer EU ties or tighter links with Moscow.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Defense cuts and U.S. budget gridlock are jeopardizing NATO’s effectiveness, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned on Friday.
Leaving his last NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, Panetta joined those warning of the effects of deep Defense cuts in many Western countries and said it would be an “irresponsible act of political dysfunction” if the U.S. Congress permitted sweeping across-the-board Defense cuts to take place.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Allies are discussing keeping a training force of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops in Afghanistan after most foreign soldiers leave in 2014, the United States said on Friday.
NATO-led forces are gradually handing over responsibility for security to their Afghan counterparts as the bulk of foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw by the end of next year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO officials are strongly considering a proposal to keep Afghan forces at their peak strength of 352,000 until at least 2018, as opposed to current plans to cut the force by a third after 2015, alliance officials said on Thursday.
Backers say the proposal, disclosed to a small group of reporters during NATO talks in Brussels, would send a crucial signal of enduring support for Afghanistan and bolster Afghan confidence after the United States and its allies declare their long, unpopular war in the country over at the end of 2014.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged allies on Thursday to reverse damaging defense-spending cuts once their economies improve as U.S. officials warned of the impact that across-the-board U.S. budget reductions could have on the alliance.
“If defense cuts continue, it will have a negative impact on our ability to provide effective defense and protection of our populations,” Rasmussen told reporters at the start of a NATO defense ministers’ meeting.