BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors pledged 3.25 billion euros (2.77 billion pounds) on Wednesday to help Mali recover from a conflict with al Qaeda-linked Islamists, exceeding the West African country’s target.
The development drive for Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, is aimed at halting a resurgence of the rebels driven out of major northern towns by a French-led offensive this year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France is floating a proposal that the European Union ease an arms embargo for Syrian rebels but delay acting on the decision to intensify pressure on Damascus to negotiate an end to Syria’s civil war, a French diplomat said on Wednesday.
Sweden, Austria and some other EU member states are resisting efforts by France and Britain to modify the ban to strengthen rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Mali will ask international donors for nearly two billion euros ($2.6 billion) to help rebuild the country and try to halt a resurgence of al Qaeda-linked Islamists who were driven out of the major northern towns by a French-led offensive.
Paris launched a ground and air operation in its former colony in January to break the Islamist rebel hold on the northern two-thirds of the country, saying the militants posed a threat to the security of West Africa and Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The government has launched a push to have the European Union’s arms embargo on Syrian rebels lifted, saying doing so would strengthen the moderate opposition and ensure the EU could respond to any chemical weapons attack.
EU member states are sharply divided over easing the embargo for the rebels. Negotiations over whether to take such a bold step are expected to run until close to June 1, the expiry date of the existing sanctions against Syria. EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the issue on May 27.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pakistan must crack down on militants who use the country as a sanctuary to launch attacks in Afghanistan, the head of NATO said on Tuesday, before a U.S.-chaired meeting that will try to ease friction between the neighbors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior Pakistan officials in Brussels on Wednesday, with the aim of calming tension over border disputes and a stalled peace process.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pakistan must play a positive role in bringing stability to Afghanistan as foreign troops prepare to leave in 2014, the head of NATO said on Tuesday, before a U.S.-chaired meeting that will try to ease friction between often feuding neighbors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior Pakistan officials in Brussels on Wednesday, with the aim of calming tension over border disputes and the stalled peace process.
LUXEMBOURG, April 22 (Reuters) – European Union governments
agreed on Monday to ease sanctions on Syria to allow purchases
of oil from the opposition, in the hope of throwing a financial
lifeline to rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
The decision, taken at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in
Luxembourg, will allow European importers to buy crude oil from
Syria, if authorised by an opposition umbrella grouping.
LUXEMBOURG, April 22 (Reuters) – The European Union agreed
on Monday to lift all sanctions on Myanmar, except for an arms
embargo, despite a Human Rights Watch report which accused
authorities of complicity in the mass killing of Muslims in the
west of the country last year.
Lifting the sanctions gives more certainty to European firms
contemplating investments in one of the least developed markets
in Asia. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has significant
natural resources and borders economic giants China and India.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The Syrian crisis risks unsettling Lebanon and causing a humanitarian catastrophe in Europe’s backyard, the European Union’s humanitarian chief said on Monday, calling for a new drive to help refugees and strained neighboring states.
Kristalina Georgieva said the two-year-old crisis in Syria was the most dramatic of recent years with 4.3 million people internally displaced and nearly 1.4 million refugees in neighboring countries.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Commission encouraged EU governments on Monday to start membership talks with Serbia, in recognition of Belgrade’s accord with Kosovo last week that marked a milestone for the Balkans’ recovery from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Talks could start within the year – if all European Union capitals agree at a meeting in June – provided Serbia puts in place all the conditions of the deal meant to address the status of the Serb-populated northern part of its former province.