Sub-editor, World Desk, London, London
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Jan 31, 2013

Egypt politicians renounce violence at crisis talks

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s feuding politicians finally met on Thursday, summoned by the country’s most influential Islamic scholar who made them call an end to violence after a week of the deadliest protests since President Mohamed Mursi took office.

The meeting, called by the head of the thousand-year-old al-Azhar university and mosque, was attended both by top officials of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and secularist foes who had previously rebuffed the Islamist president’s calls for talks.

Jan 9, 2013

U.N. envoy says 40 years of Assad family rule is “too long”

BEIRUT, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Syrians believe that 40 years of
Assad family rule is too long, the international mediator for
Syria said, the closest he has come to calling directly for
President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.

U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi appears to have been pushed to
take a firmer stance by a speech Assad delivered on Sunday,
which was billed as a new peace proposal but offered no
concessions and included a vow never to talk to foes he branded
terrorists and Western puppets.

Jan 6, 2013

Assad “peace plan” greeted with scorn by enemies

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A defiant President Bashar al-Assad presented what he described as a new initiative on Sunday to end the war in Syria but his opponents dismissed it as a ploy to cling to power.

Appearing before cheering supporters who packed the Damascus Opera House, it was his first such speech since June and first public appearance of any kind since a television interview in November.

Jan 5, 2013

Syrian army rockets Damascus rebel district

BEIRUT, Jan 5 (Reuters) – The Syrian army fired rockets at a
district of Damascus on Saturday to try to drive out insurgents
fighting their way closer to the seat of President Bashar
al-Assad’s power.

As a conflict that has killed 60,000 people in 21 months
shows no sign of abating, Syria’s deputy foreign minister
visited Iran, seeking to maintain the support of Assad’s main
ally in the region.

Jan 5, 2013

Syrian army rockets rebellious Damascus district

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian army fired rockets at a Damascus district on Saturday, trying to drive out insurgents fighting their way closer to the seat of President Bashar al-Assad’s power.

As fighting that has killed 60,000 persists in the 21-month uprising turned civil war, Syria’s deputy foreign minister visited Iran on Saturday, seeking to maintain the support of Assad’s main regional ally.

Dec 29, 2012

Syria doomed to “hell” without political deal -envoy

MOSCOW/BEIRUT, Dec 29 (Reuters) – The international mediator
touting a peace plan for Syria warned on Saturday of “hell” if
the warring sides shun talks, and Moscow blamed the foes of
President Bashar al-Assad for refusing to negotiate.

U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in Moscow that
responsible people inside and outside Syria should “help the
Syrians stop their descent into more and more bloodshed, into
more and more chaos and perhaps a failed state”.

Dec 28, 2012

Syria opposition leader rejects Moscow invitation

ALEPPO PROVINCE, Syria/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition leader has rejected an invitation from Russia for peace talks, dealing another blow to international hopes that diplomacy can be resurrected to end a 21-month civil war.

Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s main international protector, said on Friday it had sent an invitation for a visit to Moaz Alkhatib, whose six-week-old National Coalition opposition group has been recognized by most Western and Arab states as the legitimate voice of the Syrian people.

Sep 28, 2012

Libya thwarts planned anti-militia protests

TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Authorities in
Libya thwarted plans for a huge demonstration against militia in
the capital Tripoli on Friday, while in Benghazi, scene of mass
anti-militia protests last week, supporters of an ousted
Islamist group returned to the streets.

Activists had hoped that a planned demonstration in the
capital would be as successful as a giant anti-militia protest
held in Benghazi last week, but only about 400 protesters turned
up on Friday after the country’s mufti and mosque preachers
warned people not to attend.

Sep 28, 2012

Mosques discourage Libya demos to avert violence

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Mosque preachers told Libyans on Friday to call off planned demonstrations against militia groups out of fear marches could lead to renewed bloodshed.

The mufti of Libya, Sadeq al-Gharyani, said in a statement published by the LANA state news agency that a march called for later on Friday should be halted “because this march will not be secure”.

Sep 19, 2012

Benghazi police mutiny after U.S. Libya envoy killed

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan police in Benghazi have mutinied and refuse to serve under the man appointed by the government to take over security following last week’s storming of the U.S. consulate in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

With no one clearly in charge in Libya’s second city and major oil port, the officer named by the government in Tripoli to replace both Benghazi’s police chief and the deputy interior minister responsible for the eastern region told Reuters that he had asked for the army to be sent in if he could not start work.