Opinion

Paul Taylor

Islamic summit to tackle Syria amid Sunni-Shi’ite tension

Paul Taylor
Feb 5, 2013 23:53 UTC

CAIRO (Reuters) – Leaders of Islamic nations will press for a negotiated end to Syria’s civil war at a summit in Cairo starting on Wednesday that thrusts Egypt’s new Islamist president to center stage amid political and economic turbulence.

With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making an ice-breaking visit to Egypt after 34 years of estrangement, the two-day meeting will focus on how to stop bloodshed in Syria, where Tehran is one of President Bashar al-Assad’s last allies.

A communique drafted by foreign ministers of the 56-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and seen by Reuters blames Assad’s government for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political transition.

It also endorses the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and urges it to speed up the creation of a transitional government “to be ready to assume responsibility in full until the completion of the desired political change process”.

The draft statement, subject to amendment at the summit, calls for a Syrian-led solution to the conflict, in which some 60,000 people have died, and rejected outside intervention.

Egypt opposition in muddle over call to oust Mursi

Paul Taylor
Feb 4, 2013 14:04 UTC

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s main opposition alliance has got itself into a muddle by appearing to endorse a call for the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, then backing away.

“The NSF will fully align to the demands of the Egyptian people calling to topple the regime of tyranny and domination of the Muslim Brotherhood,” a statement by the National Salvation Front issued late on Saturday said.

After a week of violence between protesters and the security forces in which 59 people have died, it called for Mursi, his interior minister and “all his partners in those crimes” to be investigated and put on trial for “killings, torture and illegal detentions”.

At last EU has Cyprus leverage, but will it use it?

Paul Taylor
Feb 4, 2013 09:12 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – For the first time since Cyprus joined the European Union nearly a decade ago, its partners have financial leverage to press for a settlement of the island’s almost 40-year division.

Yet there is no sign that Brussels is preparing to use its advantage to achieve a reunification that narrowly eluded negotiators when the Mediterranean island joined the EU in 2004.

Indeed the most powerful member states, Germany and France, may be content to see the frozen Cyprus conflict fester rather than deal with the potential consequences of a resolution that would bring Turkey closer to EU membership.

Analysis: At last EU has Cyprus leverage, but will it use it?

Paul Taylor
Feb 4, 2013 06:54 UTC

PARIS (Reuters) – For the first time since Cyprus joined the European Union nearly a decade ago, its partners have financial leverage to press for a settlement of the island’s almost 40-year division.

Yet there is no sign that Brussels is preparing to use its advantage to achieve a reunification that narrowly eluded negotiators when the Mediterranean island joined the EU in 2004.

Indeed the most powerful member states, Germany and France, may be content to see the frozen Cyprus conflict fester rather than deal with the potential consequences of a resolution that would bring Turkey closer to EU membership.

In Davos, world seeks U.S. engagement

Paul Taylor
Jan 28, 2013 09:56 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama starts his second term, the world’s business and political elite pines for greater American engagement to tackle a thicket of security challenges.

From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States’ reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolised to some a perceived pullback from global leadership, even though it was Inauguration Week in Washington.

Analysis: In Davos, world seeks U.S. engagement

Paul Taylor
Jan 27, 2013 20:55 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama starts his second term, the world’s business and political elite pines for greater American engagement to tackle a thicket of security challenges.

From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States’ reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolized to some a perceived pullback from global leadership, even though it was Inauguration Week in Washington.

Saudi prince calls for Syrian rebels to be armed

Paul Taylor
Jan 25, 2013 15:39 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – A senior member of Saudi Arabia’s monarchy called on Friday for Syrian rebels to be given anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to “level the playing field” in their battle against President Bashar al-Assad.

“What is needed are sophisticated, high-level weapons that can bring down planes, can take out tanks at a distance. This is not getting through,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief and brother of the Saudi foreign minister.

Insurgents in Syria have seized territory in the north of the country and control suburbs to the east and south of the capital, but Assad’s air power and continued army strength have limited their advances 22 months into the conflict.

Britain’s EU future elbows out euro woes at Davos

Paul Taylor
Jan 25, 2013 12:06 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – What a difference a year makes! At the last World Economic Forum in Davos there were frantic secret meetings on saving the euro and private straw polls on whether the euro zone would break up and how soon Greece would be forced out.

Twelve months on, the euro’s survival is widely taken for granted by the policymakers and business leaders attending the annual forum, and the EU’s top economic official has time to go skiing while in the Swiss mountain resort.

“I recall last year in 2012, Davos was full of uncertainty about the euro zone,” European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview.

“Brexit” would be a disaster: Dutch PM

Paul Taylor
Jan 24, 2013 19:25 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – A British vote to leave the European Union would be a disaster, but is not likely to happen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday.

Rutte, a center-right, free-marketeering liberal, said he supported many of the goals that British Prime Minister David Cameron set out for renegotiating London’s relationship with the 27-nation bloc in a landmark speech on Wednesday.

“Britain has to be in the European Union, (it’s) in Britain’s interest and also in the European interest,” he told Reuters Insider television in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

EU’s Rehn says not sure euro overvalued now

Paul Taylor
Jan 24, 2013 18:54 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The euro is probably not overvalued now but the European Union is keen to avoid a currency war in which its exchange rate could suffer and set back Europe’s economic recovery, the EU’s top monetary official said on Thursday.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn also said that euro zone countries were working on ways to help Ireland and Portugal regain full financial market access this year and emerge from international bailout program.

In an interview with Reuters Insider television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he was asked whether he was concerned that action by other major central banks was landing Europe with an overvalued currency that would slow its exit from recession.

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