BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European states will take a step towards plugging a gap in their defenses on Monday by agreeing to work together to boost their air-to-air refueling capacity, a major European shortcoming in last year’s Libyan war.
A group of European Union countries will sign a “letter of intent” at an EU defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels to work together to expand their aerial refueling abilities from 2020, EU officials said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – New Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has said that “from today” he will work closely with his bitter political rival President Mikheil Saakashvili, rejecting suggestions that he has used the courts to settle scores after his election win.
The billionaire businessman seized a parliamentary majority from Saakashvili’s party last month, and the detention of an ex- minister and two army commanders for allegedly insulting servicemen a year ago has raised fears of a witch-hunt.
BRUSSELS/PRAGUE (Reuters) – NATO and European Union leaders upbraided Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Monday over the arrest of political opponents as he visited Brussels to try to bolster ties with the West.
Ivanishvili, a billionaire whose coalition won a parliamentary election last month, has been accused by opponents of being too close to Russia, but signaled by making Brussels his first foreign destination that relations with the West were his priority.
BRUSSELS, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Iran said on Tuesday it would go
to a proposed international conference in December on creating a
nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, but there was little hope
of progress even if the meeting goes ahead given deep-rooted
Tehran has been embroiled in a long stand-off with world
powers over allegations, which it denies, that it is seeking to
develop the means to produce nuclear weapons.
GARDEZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Military-led teams set up to deliver aid projects in Afghanistan are winding down their operations, sparking concern among some local officials that the government is not ready to take over their development role.
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) were a key part of U.S.-led forces’ strategy “to win hearts and minds” in both Iraq and Afghanistan, building schools, hospitals and roads.
MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan (Reuters) – NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged the Afghan government on Friday to strive for free, fair and transparent elections in the 2014 presidential poll, saying they marked a critical juncture in the country’s quest for peace.
His words came a day after President Hamid Karzai suggested foreign members be removed from the election watchdog, in a step that could be seen as bolstering his grip on power.
KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested on Thursday that foreign members be removed from the country’s election watchdog, in a step that could be aimed at bolstering his grip on power.
Two members of the five-member Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) are non-Afghan, a panel backed by the U.N. which threw out more than half a million votes cast for Karzai as fraudulent in the 2009 presidential poll.
KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan government’s efforts to encourage Taliban insurgents to enter peace talks are making progress despite apparent deadlock, a senior government negotiator said on Sunday.
Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, who was wounded in a Taliban attack a year ago, suggested there was behind-the-scenes activity to start a peace process in Afghanistan.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia will stop cooperating with NATO over Afghanistan after 2014 unless the alliance gets U.N. Security Council authorization for its new training mission in Afghanistan, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
A NATO official said only that it would be “helpful” to have a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the post-2014 training mission, but stopped short of saying it was essential.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO ministers wrestled on Tuesday with how to prevent austerity-driven defense cuts in many member countries from undermining the power of the 63-year-old Western alliance.
Many European countries have cut defense spending in recent years as they try to rein in budget deficits, deepening the gulf in military capabilities between the United States and the other 27 alliance members.