RIGA (Reuters) – Newly re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron will have his first talks with other European Union leaders on Friday on reforms he is seeking to the EU before holding a referendum by 2017 on Britain’s membership of the bloc.
Cameron will use a summit in the Latvian capital between the EU and six former Soviet republics as an opportunity to sound out other EU leaders on his demands for changes that could influence whether Britain remains part of the 28-nation union.
RIGA, May 21 (Reuters) – European Union leaders met six
ex-Soviet neighbours on Thursday in Riga, rejecting Russian
“bullying” in the 18 months since their last summit in a once
Kremlin-ruled EU capital sparked conflict in Ukraine.
“The European Union stays the course despite the
intimidation, the aggression, even the war, of the last year,”
said summit chair Donald Tusk. He dismissed Moscow’s fear the EU
was wooing away its former vassals but accused it of “bullying”
them to make up for Russia’s lack of attractions as an ally.
RIGA (Reuters) – European Union leaders began a tense summit in Latvia on Thursday with ex-Soviet neighbors that was overshadowed by the continuing confrontation with Russia triggered by the last such event 18 months ago.
Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU’s reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its “Eastern Partnership”, has marked the preparations.
RIGA, May 21 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
French President Francois Hollande aim to outline solutions to
the Greek debt crisis in talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras later on Thursday, Hollande said.
The new Greek government has held four months of talks with
the EU and International Monetary Fund to try to reach a deal
that could release up to 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in
aid, but talks have stumbled over pension, labour reform, fiscal
targets and hikes in value-added tax.
YAVORIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Tense Ukrainian soldiers with assault rifles creep stealthily around mock houses before bursting in to clear out gunmen, while others practice setting ambushes or infantry assaults, all under the watchful eyes of U.S. Army trainers.
Dotted around the vast, wooded Yavoriv military training area in western Ukraine, soldiers of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade are instructing Ukrainian national guardsmen in techniques designed to help them in the simmering war against pro-Russian separatists hundreds of miles to the east.
ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – NATO and the EU agreed on Thursday to work together more to counter “hybrid warfare”, the blend of unidentified troops, propaganda and economic pressure that the military alliance says Russia has used against Ukraine.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also briefed NATO foreign ministers meeting in Turkey on her plans for an EU operation to destroy boats used to smuggle thousands of migrants from Libya to Europe. NATO said it would consider any request for help with the operation but the EU had not so far made any.
ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – NATO’s military commander accused Russia on Wednesday of making irresponsible nuclear threats, which he said were intended to make NATO think twice about how it responded to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, also voiced concern at an increase in fighting in several areas of eastern Ukraine despite a declared ceasefire.
ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – NATO will keep some troops in Afghanistan even after its current training mission ends around the end of next year, the alliance said on Wednesday, in a signal of support for Afghan security forces struggling to repel a Taliban offensive.
Afghan government forces, now largely without foreign military support, have suffered heavy casualties this year battling the Taliban who have expanded their attacks to the north from their traditional southern and eastern strongholds.
ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for a halt to fighting around the Ukrainian coastal town of Shyrokyne on Wednesday as NATO backed his demand that Russia fully implement a Ukraine ceasefire agreement.
Despite the February truce, shooting has continued around the coastal town of Shyrokyne, near the strategic port city of Mariupol. Kiev fears separatists may try to seize the port to help cement a long-term hold on eastern districts of Ukraine.
ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – A clearer security arrangement between Gulf countries and the United States is critical to fighting terrorism, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, ahead of a summit in Washington with Arab leaders.
U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington’s Oval Office later, before the summit with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).