Opinion

Paul Taylor

Analysis: Defections tighten noose around Gaddafi

Paul Taylor
Mar 31, 2011 15:28 UTC

RABAT/PARIS (Reuters) – The noose is tightening around Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family after his foreign minister and another top diplomat defected in the highest-level desertions since the start of a civil war.

But Gaddafi’s spokesman vowed on Thursday that the “brother leader” would fight on unbowed.

“Rest assured, we are all here. We will remain here until the end. This is our country. We are strong on every front,” government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in the Libyan capital.

Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, a former spy chief and a close Gaddafi adviser since the 1970s, slipped out of the country to Tunisia and flew to Britain on Wednesday in a stunning blow to Gaddafi.

He was being debriefed by British intelligence officials on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said.

Analysis: Euro zone gives investors three more months to sweat

Paul Taylor
Mar 25, 2011 14:29 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Despite an agreement on funding a future rescue mechanism, the euro zone faces three more months of uncertainty over Portuguese politics, Irish banks and a Finnish election as it struggles to contain a debt crisis.

None of these may be show-stoppers for the 17-nation single currency area — the euro has barely moved on the prospect of more delay — but they guarantee investors and EU finance ministers a bumpy ride in the weeks ahead.

This week’s European Union summit was meant to draw a line under the 16-month-old crisis by adopting a “comprehensive package” of tougher budget discipline rules, structural economic reforms and strengthened financial backstops.

NATO to run Libya no-fly zone

Paul Taylor
Mar 25, 2011 01:19 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO countries agreed on Thursday to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya to protect civilians against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, but fell short of a final agreement to take full command of all military operations in the North African state.

NATO officials said a decision was expected on Sunday on whether to broaden the mandate to take full command, including over attacks on ground targets to protect civilian areas under threat from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after four days of tough negotiations the U.S.-led alliance’s new mandate did not extend beyond enforcing an arms embargo and no-fly zone, although it could act in self-defense.

NATO to run Libya no-fly zone but not all action

Paul Taylor
Mar 25, 2011 00:35 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO countries agreed on Thursday to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya to protect civilians against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, but fell short of taking full command of all military operations in the North African state.

NATO officials said a decision was expected on Sunday on whether to broaden the mandate to take full command, including over attacks on ground targets to protect civilian areas under threat from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after four days of grueling negotiations among ambassadors of the 28 NATO states the U.S.-led military alliance’s new mandate did not extend beyond enforcing an arms embargo and the no-fly zone, although NATO could act in self-defense.

NATO clinches deal to take over Libya military ops

Paul Taylor
Mar 24, 2011 19:16 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO clinched agreement on Thursday to take over command of all allied military operations in Libya from the United States after days of sometimes heated wrangling with Muslim member Turkey.

“Compromise has been reached in principle in a very short time,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara. “The operation will be handed over to NATO completely.”

The deal came after a four-way telephone conference between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Turkey, France and Britain.

NATO clinches deal to take over Libya military operations

Paul Taylor
Mar 24, 2011 19:14 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO clinched agreement on Thursday to take over command of all allied military operations in Libya from the United States after days of sometimes heated wrangling with Muslim member Turkey.

“Compromise has been reached in principle in a very short time,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara. “The operation will be handed over to NATO completely.”

The deal came after a four-way telephone conference between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Turkey, France and Britain.

Libya coalition seeks to convince Turks on NATO role

Paul Taylor
Mar 24, 2011 14:34 UTC

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Muslim NATO member Turkey cast new suspicions on the motives of Western intervention in Libya Thursday as NATO states tried again to resolve differences over the command and aims of the military action.

The United States wants to hand over command of the air campaign within days, putting French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron under pressure to define the mission and command arrangements when they meet other European leaders at a Brussels summit Thursday.

NATO diplomats said ambassadors of the U.S.-led defense alliance would resume negotiations on expanding its role in Libya at about 1530 GMT, just before the EU summit. Days of sometimes heated wrangling have failed to reach a deal so far.

Analysis: Keeping NATO out of Libya suits U.S., France

Paul Taylor
Mar 21, 2011 18:59 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – An elaborate shadow boxing match is under way over whether NATO should take command of military operations in Libya, but it suits both the United States and France to keep the Western alliance out of the limelight.

Washington, keen to extract itself from two other wars in the Muslim world, wants as low a profile as possible in the North African conflict, even though it has quietly taken the lion’s share of missile and air strikes so far, diplomats say.

The White House said on Monday it aimed to transfer the lead in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya to others within days rather than weeks, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the mission could be under Franco-British or NATO command.

Keeping NATO out of Libya suits U.S., France

Paul Taylor
Mar 21, 2011 15:44 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – An elaborate shadow boxing match is under way over whether NATO should take command of military operations in Libya, but it suits both the United States and France to keep the Western alliance out of the limelight.

Washington, keen to extract itself from two other wars in the Muslim world, wants as low a profile as possible in the North African conflict, even though it has quietly taken the lion’s share of missile and air strikes so far, diplomats say.

Paris believes that putting the U.S.-led defense alliance in charge would alienate the Arab world, already alarmed by the first bombs falling, and burn bridges with Russia, China and developing nations that let the U.N. resolution pass.

Euro zone “Unfinished Symphony” is no masterpiece

Paul Taylor
Mar 21, 2011 13:38 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – Unlike Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Europe’s incomplete “comprehensive response” to the euro zone debt crisis is unlikely to be rated a masterpiece.

When European Union leaders complete a package deal this week to tighten fiscal discipline, improve economic policy coordination and strengthen their financial backstops, they will leave much unfinished business.

Finance ministers of the 17-nation currency area are likely to be back in crisis management mode within weeks to bail out Portugal, despite Lisbon’s feverish efforts to avert a humiliating international rescue.

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