BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is dragging its feet over letting Turkey take the next step in slow-moving membership talks with the European Union amid widespread concern over Ankara’s tough handling of anti-government protests, EU officials said on Friday.
Berlin has criticized Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s heavy handed response to two weeks of protests that began over a redevelopment project in an Istanbul park.
SOFIA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Bulgaria backed down on Wednesday from charges it made a few months ago that Hezbollah was behind a deadly bus bombing on its territory, complicating a British push for the EU to blacklist the militant Shi’ite Muslim group.
The country’s new Socialist-led government said it only had an “indication” that the Lebanese group might have carried the attack that killed five Israeli tourists and their driver in the Black Sea resort of Burgas last year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A British request to blacklist the armed wing of Hezbollah ran into opposition in the European Union on Tuesday, with several governments expressing concern that such a move would increase instability in the Middle East.
Britain has argued that the militant Shi’ite Muslim group should face European sanctions because of evidence that it was behind a bus bombing in Bulgaria last July that killed five Israelis and their driver. Hezbollah denies any involvement.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and France are free to supply weapons to Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad from August, after attempts to renew an EU arms embargo on Syria failed on Monday.
After a marathon negotiating session in Brussels, EU governments failed to bridge their differences and let a ban on arming the opposition expire, with France and Britain scoring a victory at the expense of EU unity.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries failed on Monday to agree on easing an arms embargo on Syria to help rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, Austria’s foreign minister said.
The deadlock at a meeting of EU foreign ministers could mean that all EU sanctions on Syria, including those on the Assad government, would expire on Saturday and individual member states would have to decide whether to keep sanctions in place, Michael Spindelegger said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and Austria clashed on Monday over whether the European Union should ease an arms embargo to help Syrian rebels, threatening the unity of the bloc’s Syria policy.
Britain and France are pushing hard for the easing of the arms embargo to support rebels ahead of a peace conference sponsored by the United States and Russia expected next month.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Negotiators from the European Union and Iran will meet in Istanbul this month to discuss future diplomatic efforts to resolve a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The May 15 meeting between the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads diplomacy with Iran on behalf of six world powers, and Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili follows a failed round of talks in Kazakhstan in April.
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 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.