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Sep 7, 2013

EU blames Assad for chemical attack in nuanced message

VILNIUS (Reuters) – The European Union on Saturday laid the blame for an August chemical attack in Syria on the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but stopped short of explicitly supporting a military response by the West.

The carefully worded message from foreign ministers of 28 EU governments meeting in Vilnius allowed France to claim victory in its push to get the EU to agree that Assad was responsible for the attack in which more than 1,400 may have been killed.

Sep 6, 2013

France seeks EU backing for Syria stance but meets scepticism

VILNIUS (Reuters) – France, which backs military action to punish Syria for a deadly chemical weapons attack, tried to rally support from its European Union partners on Friday but met scepticism from governments wary of turning their backs on the United Nations.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sought agreement from EU counterparts meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius that President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an August 21 gas attack that the United States says killed more than 1,400 people, a source close to Fabius said.

Sep 6, 2013

Sweden lashes out at Russian “economic warfare” in east Europe

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Sweden accused Russia on Friday of waging “economic warfare” against former Soviet republics that have been considering closer trade relations with the European Union and said the EU needed a strategy to resist Moscow.

The EU is planning to take steps towards signing trade deals with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova at a summit of regional and EU leaders in November in Lithuania, and could seal a similar agreement with Ukraine.

Sep 6, 2013

EU, Iran to prepare nuclear diplomacy during U.N. meeting

VILNIUS (Reuters) – The European Union and Iran will discuss a resumption of nuclear negotiations during a United Nations gathering this month, possibly setting a date for a new round of talks aimed ultimately at preventing a new Middle East war.

Talks between Iran and six world powers overseen by the EU’s top diplomat have been stalled since April. The West is keen to resume them with Iran having elected a moderate president but still expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and Israel brandishing hints of bombing runs on Iranian nuclear sites.

Sep 5, 2013

Belgium pushes EU to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe diamond miner

BRUSSELS, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Belgium, centre of the global
diamond trade, is demanding that the European Union lift
sanctions on a Zimbabwean mining firm despite deep concerns
within the bloc over alleged fraud in a July election that kept
President Robert Mugabe in power.

Belgium’s call for the removal of sanctions on the state-run
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has put it at
odds with other EU countries such as Britain which is reluctant
to rush into a move that could be seen as rewarding Mugabe.

Jul 30, 2013

NATO commander hopes for post-2014 Afghan plan by late this year

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) – NATO hopes to deliver a detailed operations plan for its smaller post-2014 mission in Afghanistan, including numbers of soldiers involved, by late this year, NATO’s new top military commander said on Tuesday.

NATO plans to keep a slimmed-down training and advisory mission in Afghanistan after 2014, when most foreign combat troops will have left after handing over responsibilities for fighting Taliban insurgents to Afghan security forces.

Jul 26, 2013

EU wants to strengthen its fledgling diplomatic service

BRUSSELS, July 26 (Reuters) – The European Union’s fledgling
diplomatic service, which has faced criticism over its
leadership and focus, should take a stronger role in drawing up
sanctions and look at making its overseas posts more like
embassies, an EU report said on Friday.

The European External Action Service was launched in 2011
under reforms intended to simplify EU decision-making and give
the bloc, which now has 28 members, more clout in world affairs.

Jul 24, 2013

EU seeks to boost Europe’s defence industry

BRUSSELS, July 24 (Reuters) – The European Commission
proposed helping Europe’s defence industry cope with pressure
from falling military budgets by funding research and aiding the
development of new technologies with military uses.

The European Union’s executive body, which has traditionally
left defence responsibilities to its 28 member states, also on
Wednesday raised the possibility that the EU itself could buy
and operate some equipment needed for military missions.

Jul 24, 2013

EU seeks to make Europe’s defence industry more competitive

BRUSSELS, July 24 (Reuters) – The European Commission
proposed on Wednesday to help Europe’s defence industry cope
with pressure from falling military budgets by funding research
and helping to develop new military technologies.

The European Union’s executive body, which has traditionally
left defence responsibilities to its 28 member states, also
raised the possibility that the EU itself could buy and operate
some equipment needed for military missions.

Jul 22, 2013

EU adds Hezbollah’s military wing to terrorism list

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist, a move driven by concerns over the Lebanese militant group’s involvement in a deadly bus bombing in Bulgaria and the Syrian war.

The powerful Lebanese Shi’ite movement, an ally of Iran, has attracted concern in Europe and around the world in recent months for its role in sending thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, an intervention that has turned the tide of Syria’s two-year-old civil war.

    • About Adrian

      "I am part of Reuters UK reporting team, writing mainly about UK politics and foreign policy. My previous postings with Reuters were in Spain, Belgium, the United States, Colombia, Nicaragua and South Africa."
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