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Sep 28, 2013

U.N. Security Council demands elimination of Syria chemical arms

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution on Friday that demands the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons but does not threaten automatic punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government if it does not comply.

The unanimous vote by the 15-member Security Council ended weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States. It was based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier this month following an August 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

Sep 27, 2013

Syria rebels struggle to rally practical backing on U.N. stage

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – International opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reaffirmed support for the country’s opposition coalition at the U.N. General Assembly this week, but with rebel forces splitting and delivery of weapons slow, the coalition looks increasingly marginalized.

After weeks of frustration as the international community turned its attention to negotiating a deal to rid Assad of his chemical weapons, the Syrian National Coalition, or SNC, had hoped to use the annual meeting to push its cause.

Sep 27, 2013

U.N. Security Council set to vote on Syria chemical weapons resolution

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution on Friday on eradicating Syria’s chemical arsenal after Russia and the United States overcame a bitter deadlock to avert U.S. military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Amid newfound unity of the veto-wielding council members – Russia, China, France, the United States and Britain – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he hopes a date will also be agreed on Friday for so-called Geneva 2 peace talks on Syria.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S., Russia agree on Syria U.N. chemical arms measure

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock, the United States and Russia reached an agreement on Thursday on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ridding Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said a deal was struck with Russia “legally obligating” Syria to give up its chemical stockpile and the measure would go to the full Security Council on Thursday night. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an “understanding” had been hammered out.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S., China want quick, binding U.N. resolution on Syria, U.S. says

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The United States and
China strongly agree on the need for the U.N. Security Council
to quickly adopt a binding resolution on eradicating Syria’s
chemical weapons arsenal, a senior U.S. official said on
Thursday in remarks that appeared aimed at putting pressure on
Russia to accept the measure.

Russia appeared unswayed. When asked if diplomats were close
to a deal on a Syria resolution, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations, “Russia’s very
close, the U.S. is not.”

Sep 26, 2013

Mali says Sahel needs rapid reaction force to fight Islamists

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita called on Thursday for nations in the Sahara region to create a regional multilateral force that could intervene quickly to respond to the ongoing Islamist threat across the area.

Attacks in Niger, growing instability in southern Libya and clashes between Tunisian government troops and Islamist militants have shown how al-Qaeda-linked rebels have taken advantage of a security vacuum in the region since French-led forces intervened in Mali earlier this year to oust them.

Sep 26, 2013

Western envoys tout deal on core of U.N. Syria draft, Russia denies it

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Envoys from the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain have come to an agreement on the core of a U.N. Security Council resolution to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons, three Western diplomats said on Wednesday, but Russia denied such an accord had been reached and insisted work was “still going on.”

Diplomats from the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council have been haggling over the details of a resolution to back an accord hammered out by Russia and the United States on September 14 in Geneva to eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Sep 25, 2013

France pushes for U.N. action on Central African Republic

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister called on Wednesday for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution next month to boost U.N. operations in the Central African Republic, which he said risked becoming a new Somalia if it did not get immediate support.

The landlocked, mineral-rich Central African Republic, or CAR, has slipped into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui, and ousted President Francois Bozize in March. U.N. officials and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes.

Sep 25, 2013

U.S., Russia, other powers agree on core of U.N. Syria resolution: diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – After weeks of haggling, the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain have agreed on the core of a U.N. Security Council resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, two Western diplomats said on Wednesday, but Russia denied such an agreement.

The agreement came after the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the council met over lunch with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier in the day, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sep 24, 2013

French leader meets Iran’s Rouhani, demands ‘concrete’ nuclear steps

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande became the first Western leader to meet new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday after warning that Paris expects “concrete gestures” by Iran to show it will give up a military nuclear program.

France has been a strong advocate of sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program but has been cautious in its statements since Rouhani, a relative moderate, was elected in June.