LONDON (Reuters) – When Israel ended its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip by withdrawing settlers in 2005, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon hailed it as a “disengagement” from conflict with Palestinians in the densely populated coastal enclave.
But the conflict did not end, it only changed.
Israel kept expanding settlements in the West Bank where the Palestinians also seek a state. Hardline Islamists seized control of Gaza in 2007 and periodic U.S. efforts to broker a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under secular President Mahmoud Abbas have proved fruitless.
LONDON (Reuters) – World leaders voiced hope on Tuesday that a major prisoner exchange between Israel and the Palestinians would help reinvigorate a peace process frozen for more than a year.
But while the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas-ruled Gaza in return for 477 Palestinians detainees was celebrated on both sides, it did not address any core disputes that have bedevilled peace talks for 20 years, analysts said.
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) – European media condemned the
EU’s ‘shambolic’ Greek crisis management and fretted the bloc
was pouring money down an endless drain by giving aid to
discredited political leaders in Athens.
Some commentators said on Monday a swelling popular backlash
in Greece against yet harsher frugality was driving the country
towards the disastrous default a rescue is supposed to prevent.
VIENNA (Reuters) – With big powers unable to agree tough new sanctions against Iran and military action rife with risks to the West, Cold War-style containment may prove the only realistic way to check Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, experts say.
Other factors supporting this argument include an Islamic ruling elite in Iran whose anti-Western ethos precludes negotiated rapprochement and a U.N. inspection regime too weak to catch any covert attempt to develop atomic bombs in a timely fashion.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States and European Union accused Iran of breaking nuclear transparency rules by escalating uranium enrichment without proper U.N. surveillance and said its “provocative” behavior invited tougher sanctions. They spoke at a tense meeting on Wednesday of governors of the United Nations nuclear agency, a day after the U.N. Security Council said it was ready to tackle Western powers’ proposals for new sanctions on Iran, which China has so far resisted.
A diplomat in the closed-door, 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency meeting said China’s ambassador reiterated that more negotiations, not sanctions against its major trade partner, must be pursued.
PARIS/VIENNA (Reuters) – Russia will back new sanctions against Iran as long as they do not create a humanitarian crisis, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday after talks with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
Medvedev said he still hoped to avoid new punitive measures, but added Russia could not wait forever for cooperation by Tehran, suspected by the West of developing nuclear weapons.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The new U.N. nuclear agency chief said on Monday his report Iran could be trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile was factual and impartial, rejecting Iranian suggestions he was biased toward Western powers.
Yukiya Amano spelled out a “clear” approach to Iran’s nuclear activity after what diplomats said was the reluctance of his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei to confront Iran due to his skepticism about the veracity of Western intelligence on Tehran.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has moved a stock of enriched uranium back underground after drawing what it needed to refine the material up to 20 percent purity, Tehran’s envoy to the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday.
He dismissed media speculation that Iran had placed a large amount of the material in a visible spot above ground to provoke an Israeli air strike that would give Iran a pretext to expel U.N. inspectors and develop atom bombs for security reasons.
VIENNA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Thursday it fears Iran may be working now to develop a nuclear-armed missile, as Washington warned Tehran of “consequences” for ignoring international demands to stop its atomic program.
In unusually blunt language, an International Atomic Energy Agency report for the first time suggested Iran was actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability, throwing independent weight behind similar Western suspicions.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Uranium particles found at a Syrian desert complex bombed to ruin by Israel in 2007 point to possible covert nuclear activity at the site, the U.N. atomic watchdog said Thursday.
It was the first time the International Atomic Energy Agency lent public support to Western suspicions that Israel’s target was a nascent nuclear reactor that Washington said was North Korean in design and geared to making weapons-grade plutonium.