BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The small military force the European Union plans to send to violence-torn Central African Republic will focus on swiftly creating a safe haven in part of the capital Bangui, its French commander said on Thursday.
The 500-strong force will have just six months from when it becomes fully operational to help improve security and so “must attain visible results very quickly,” Major-General Philippe Ponties told a news conference.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is to further ease sanctions on Zimbabwe next week, but will keep a travel ban and asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and his wife, EU sources said on Tuesday.
But the EU has held out an olive branch to Mugabe, inviting him to take part in an EU-Africa summit in Brussels in April and granting him an exemption from sanctions to visit Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO criticized Russia on Wednesday for expanding its border deeper into Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region, a move Moscow has portrayed as a temporary step to expand a security zone around the Sochi Winter Olympics.
“We have noted the recent decision to temporarily extend the so-called border zone of Abkhazia further into Georgian territory without the Georgian government’s consent,” NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
BRUSSELS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Georgia is determined to sign a
trade and cooperation agreement with the European Union by
August and will not be pushed off course by Russian pressure as
Ukraine was, Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili said on
“Nothing will stop us … We see our future in the European
Union,” Garibashvili told Reuters during his first visit to
Brussels since he became prime minister in November.
BRUSSELS, Feb 3 (Reuters) – The European Union played down
reports on Monday that it was working on a large aid package to
help Ukraine through its economic crisis, saying it had no
intention of getting into a bidding war with Moscow to buy
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the
EU was discussing with partners if it could do something to help
Ukraine through its current difficulties but that it was wrong
to think the EU must pay to entice countries such as Ukraine
into a closer relationship.
MUNICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister held rare
private talks with his U.S. counterpart on Sunday and said it
would be a “disaster” if Tehran did not turn a provisional
agreement to defuse a decade-old dispute over its nuclear
programme into a permanent deal.
In a sign of the thawing climate between the Islamic
Republic and the West, Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had
held bilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as
well as with other ministers from the six powers negotiating
with Tehran, during a three-day security conference in Munich.
MUNICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of the
United States and Iran held rare private talks in Germany on
Sunday to discuss the next stage in efforts to reach a
definitive agreement to end a decade-old dispute over Iran’s
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on the sidelines of the Munich
Security Conference to talk about nuclear negotiations between
six world powers and Iran that will resume in Vienna on Feb. 18.
MUNICH, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Iran is not prepared to give up
research on centrifuges used to purify uranium as part of a
final deal to address international concerns over its nuclear
activities, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on
Iran reached a landmark preliminary agreement with six world
powers in November to halt its most sensitive nuclear
operations, winning some relief from sanctions in return.
MUNICH (Reuters) – President Hamid Karzai is unlikely to sign a pact for U.S. and NATO forces to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and will probably leave the choice for his successor, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Saturday.
Kabul and Washington spent months negotiating a legal framework for some U.S. troops to stay on after the end of 2014, when NATO-led forces are due to end combat operations, leaving behind a much smaller training and advisory mission.
MUNICH (Reuters) – Britain is close to placing its first order for Lockheed Martin-built (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) F-35 super-stealth jets, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Saturday.
Reuters cited sources last week as saying that Britain was likely to announce an order soon for 14 of the advanced jets, marking Britain’s first firm F-35 purchase since it committed to buying 48 planes in 2012.