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Feb 3, 2013

Syrian opposn chief under fire for talks with Assad allies

MUNICH, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition leader flew
back to his Cairo headquarters from Germany on Sunday to explain
to sceptical allies his decision to talk with President Bashar
al-Assad’s main backers Russia and Iran, in hope of a
breakthrough in the crisis.

The Russian and Iranian foreign ministers, and U.S.
Vice-President Joe Biden, portrayed Syrian National Coalition
leader Moaz Alkhatib’s new willingness to talk with the Assad
regime as a major step towards resolving the two-year-old war.

Feb 3, 2013

Syrian opposition talks with Russia and Iran

MUNICH (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition leader met the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran on Saturday, opening a window to a possible breakthrough in efforts to broker an end to Syria’s civil war.

Russia and Iran have been the staunchest allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout an armed uprising, and any understandings they might reach with Assad’s foes could help overcome the two sides’ refusal to negotiate.

Feb 2, 2013

Syrian opposition chief to meet U.S., Russia and U.N

MUNICH (Reuters) – The leader of the Syrian opposition was expected to meet U.S., Russian and U.N. officials on Saturday at a Munich conference which may provide a rare chance to overcome differences on how to end Syria’s civil war.

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, head of the Syrian National Coalition Moaz Alkhatib, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were all expected to meet – but not necessarily all at the same table, as the opposition hoped.

Jan 25, 2013

Cleavage comment puts German politics in a fluster

BERLIN (Reuters) – A female journalist’s allegations that a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition made sexist comments about her cleavage in a bar one year ago have stirred a debate about the relationship between reporters and politicians in Germany.

Rainer Bruederle, the 67-year-old parliamentary leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), junior partners in the coalition, was reported by Stern magazine this week to have told one of its reporters she could “really fill a dirndl” – the low-cut Bavarian traditional dress.

Jan 23, 2013

Selfish, ignorant, dangerous: Europe’s anger over Cameron speech

BERLIN/PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s European partners
heaped scorn on Prime Minister David Cameron’s demand for
radical reform of the EU and promise of an “in-out” referendum
on UK membership, calling it reckless and ignorant of EU
decision making.

“If Britain wants to leave Europe we will roll out the red
carpet for you,” quipped French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius,
a barbed riposte to Cameron who last year used the same phrase
to invite wealthy French tax exiles to Britain.

Jan 23, 2013

Selfish, ignorant, dangerous: Europe’s verdict on Cameron speech

BERLIN/PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s European partners
told David Cameron on Wednesday his demand for radical reform of
the EU and an “in-out” referendum on UK membership showed a
selfish and ignorant attitude.

France went so far as to call Britain’s bluff and say it was
free to leave. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he had told
a recent meeting with British businessmen: “If Britain wants to
leave Europe we will roll out the red carpet for you.”

Jan 21, 2013

Strategy lessons for Merkel in German state vote

BERLIN, Jan 21 (Reuters) – If Angela Merkel’s conservatives
draw any lesson from the latest election setback in Lower Saxony
state for her bid for a third term as chancellor, it is this:
don’t bet that her popularity will automatically translate into
votes.

Encouraged by half-Scottish state premier David McAllister’s
confident campaign, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) thought
they could afford to give supporters tacit approval to split
their ballots to save their struggling Free Democrat (FDP)
allies.

Jan 15, 2013

German state’s “Mac” tries to blaze trail for Merkel 3rd term

BERLIN, Jan 15 (Reuters) – An election on Sunday in
Germany’s second-biggest state will be a crucial test of
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chances of winning a third term in
the autumn.

It will also showcase the man who may prove best-placed to
succeed her as leader of the CDU, the country’s biggest
conservative party – and possibly even as chancellor.

Dec 12, 2012

With Germany on side, EU nears banking union deal

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany signaled on Wednesday it was ready to back plans for the European Central Bank to be made the chief supervisor of banks, raising the prospect of a breakthrough on the European Union’s most ambitious financial reform.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the German cabinet he was “optimistic” about a deal ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, a German official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Dec 11, 2012

Kyrgyzstan could be “new Afghanistan”, says president

BERLIN (Reuters) – The president of Kyrgyzstan warned in his first visit to the West on Tuesday his central Asian republic would suffer the kind of turmoil seen in the south of the region unless it consolidated democratic reforms.

“If we don’t develop democracy further in Central Asia or succeed in building a parliamentary democracy in Kyrgyzstan, then a new Afghanistan will arise in Central Asia,” President Almazbek Atambayev told a joint news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • About Stephen

      "I moved to Berlin to run our German political, economic and general news file in 2010 after nearly four years as chief correspondent in Rome covering Berlusconi, the L'Aquila earthquake, G8 summit and Vatican. I was Nordic and Baltic bureau chief for 3-1/2 years and bureau chief of southern Latin America, based in Buenos Aires, for eight years including the Argentine collapse in 2001/2002. My first assignments for Reuters were in Spain, Portugal and our HQ in London. Before Reuters I worked for the Financial Times Group."
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