LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Britain and France said on Tuesday they did not have to wait until August 1 to arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, contradicting European Union officials, but both countries stressed they had no plans to do so yet.
EU governments failed to renew an EU arms embargo on Monday due to differences in opinion, opening the way for Britain and France to supply weapons. But EU officials said the two countries had made a commitment not to do so before August 1.
LONDON (Reuters) – Strapping his baby into a car seat, Abu Khaled said it was unfortunate that a British soldier was hacked to death in an apparent Islamist attack a day earlier in London, but it was not the only misfortune on his mind.
“A 75-year-old man was stabbed to death earlier this month on his way back from the mosque in Birmingham. You didn’t hear about that, did you?” said the bearded 36-year-old personal trainer, speaking near East London Mosque, one of the capital’s oldest and largest.
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron is “losing control of his party”, Conservative Party grandee Geoffrey Howe said on Sunday, as a row raged over whether a close aide to Cameron had labeled grassroots activists “mad, swivel-eyed loons”.
The furor threatens to further alienate Cameron and his inner circle from the core of his party, with whom ties are already almost at breaking point.
LONDON (Reuters) – Somalia’s armed forces have not received “a single bullet” despite the partial lifting of a United Nations arms embargo because the East African country lacks funds, its defense minister said on Wednesday.
Somalia’s new leaders aim to train and equip a professional army of around 28,000 soldiers within three years but are hamstrung by a lack of cash, Abdihakim Fiqi said during a trip to London to drum up donor support.
LONDON (Reuters) – Somalia won international pledges of extra cash and military assistance on Tuesday at a major conference convened to help the East African country cope with the twin threats of Islamic militancy and piracy.
Somalia’s government is seeking to impose stability in a country ravaged by two decades of civil war, lawlessness and famine, and by its own admission it needs help from outside to rebuild decimated infrastructure and institutions.
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will help boost radio communications on the Somali coast as part of efforts to combat rampant piracy along global shipping routes near the East African country, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday.
Britain will also spend millions of dollars on bolstering Somalia’s security forces, Cameron said at the opening of a major London conference on Somalia aimed at bolstering stability after two decades of lawlessness and civil war.
LONDON (Reuters) – The United Nations has given strong backing to the new leadership of Somalia ahead of a donor conference in London on Tuesday that will seek pledges to rebuild the East African country torn apart by two decades of civil war.
Deputy U.N. Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said the United Nations wanted to shift more of its efforts into development projects and away from humanitarian aid as Somalia begins to recover from years of lawlessness, violence and famine.
LONDON (Reuters) – The president of the United Arab Emirates met Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday on a visit to Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to raise allegations that UAE police tortured British citizens.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan’s visit poses a delicate diplomatic challenge for Cameron who has already expressed concern about the torture accusations but is keen to boost lucrative trade and strategically important diplomatic relations in the Gulf. The two men are due to meet on Wednesday.
LONDON (Reuters) – The British government on Wednesday lost the latest round of its legal battle to deport radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, whom it calls a security risk and may have provided spiritual inspiration to 9/11 hijackers.
The ruling comes at a bad time for Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May, who in the past week have promised to get tough on immigration and ramp up efforts to deport foreigners in Britain illegally.
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Wednesday reports of a chemical attack in Syria strengthened the case for relaxing a European Union arms embargo on the country, and warned that a failure to do so could lead to the kind of wartime massacres seen in Bosnia.
Britain and France are pushing for the EU ban to be eased to allow a flow of arms to outgunned rebels waging a two-year-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but several EU countries and Russia oppose the move.