Middle East

  • Europe, Russia propose rival resolutions on Syria
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    2012-04-21 05:31:41 UTC

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — European nations and Russia proposed rival U.N. resolutions Friday morning, both calling for expanding the number of U.N. cease-fire monitors in Syria from 30 to 300 but disagreeing on possible sanctions and on how quickly the larger observer force should get on the ground. After several hours of negotiations b...
  • Syrian forces fire on anti-regime protesters
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    2012-04-20 18:43:24 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops fired tear gas and bullets on thousands of protesters who spilled out of mosques after noon prayers Friday, activists said. State media reported that bombs and shootings killed 17 soldiers as the latest diplomatic efforts failed to halt more than 13 months of bloodshed in the country. Opposition activists...
  • Tiny Gulf islands rekindle big Arab-Iran dispute
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    2012-04-20 01:32:39 UTC

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — There would seem to be enough points of tension to keep Iran and its Gulf Arab rivals fully occupied: Tehran's nuclear program, accusations of Iranian meddling in Bahrain's uprising, Iranian threats to block Gulf oil shipping lanes. But it's all been overshadowed by three contested islands that Iran wants to turn in...
  • Russia ‘cooperative’ on Syria – Pentagon chief
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    2012-04-20 01:01:23 UTC

    Russia has started interacting with the United States and other countries on the Syria issue, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported. "At this point, Russia has been cooperative" in negotiating a ceasefire designed to stop clashes between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and the opposition, Pane...
  • Clinton urges tougher UN pressure on Syria
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    2012-04-19 22:53:11 UTC

    PARIS (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Thursday for the U.N. Security Council to adopt an arms embargo and other tough measures against Syria to try to halt 13 months of bloodshed, but she acknowledged such diplomatic actions would likely be vetoed. Clinton's comments to Western and Arab diplomats from th...
  • "Friends of Syria say Annan plan is last hope
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    2012-04-19 18:02:11 UTC

    PARIS (Reuters) - The "Friends of Syria" coalition meeting in Paris on Thursday called a U.N.-backed peace plan the "last hope" to resolve the crisis and said they would do all they could to help it succeed, according to draft conclusions obtained by Reuters. "Every day that passes means dozens of new Syrian civilian deaths," the Fr...
  • Iran open for IAEA talks, no word on Parchin: diplomats
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    2012-04-19 17:53:55 UTC

    VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran says it is ready to resume talks with the U.N. nuclear watchdog two months after their last meeting ended in failure, but still appears to be stonewalling a request for access to a key military site, Western diplomats said on Thursday. Just days after Iran and six world powers restarted negotiations in Istanb...
  • Syria hasn't fully complied with Annan peace plan: U.N. chief
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    2012-04-19 05:49:57 UTC

    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria has not fully complied with a U.N.-backed peace plan for the country and has yet to send a "clear signal" about its commitment to ending more than a year of violence, the U.N. chief told the Security Council in a letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday. At the same time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon...
  • US aircraft carriers not allowed to stop in areas designated by Iran
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    2012-04-19 04:21:02 UTC

    The commander of the Iranian Armed Forces said on Wednesday that Iran has notified the two U.S. aircraft carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf that they are not allowed to stop in certain areas of the Persian Gulf designated by Iranian naval forces, MNA reported. "We had previously notified them that they must not stop in the areas ...
  • U.S. says Syria at turning point, stresses pressure
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    2012-04-18 18:23:12 UTC

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Syria is at a turning point where the violence must stop or the United States will find ways to increase pressure on the Damascus government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday. Clinton gave no details of what the United States or other nations might do if a much-violated ceasefire betwe...
  • Exclusive: Bolivia poised to de-flag Iranian ships
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    2012-04-18 17:49:38 UTC

    DUBAI (Reuters) - Bolivia is poised to strike fifteen vessels linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines off its shipping register just weeks after IRISL found Bolivian replacements for their Maltese and Cypriot flags. IRISL, its many subsidiaries and their dozens of ships have been sanctioned by the United States, United...
  • Oil buyers cut more Iran imports due to sanctions
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    2012-04-18 17:16:25 UTC

    TOKYO/LONDON (Reuters) - Japan will slash crude purchases from Iran in April, and European and Taiwanese customers will also take less, industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday, adding to signs Western sanctions are curbing sales from OPEC's second-largest producer. Japan is cutting volumes by almost 80 percent in April compared w...
  • Arab ministers urge Syria to open up to U.N. monitors
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    2012-04-17 23:41:25 UTC

    DOHA (Reuters) - Arab League ministers met U.N.-Arab special envoy Kofi Annan on Tuesday and pressed Syria to cooperate fully with his peace mission, first by providing unfettered access to ceasefire monitors. A six-day-old truce has held in some areas of Syria but fighting has persisted in others since President Bashar al-Assad ple...
  • U.N. sees need for more Syria observers, aircraft
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    2012-04-18 01:16:07 UTC

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - A United Nations mission to oversee an end to violence in Syria may need to bring in its own aircraft and deploy more troops to ensure that a firm ceasefire takes hold throughout the country, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. A six-day-old truce has held in some parts of Syria since President Bas...
  • Afghan Taliban says rehearsed attack for two months
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    2012-04-17 05:30:43 UTC

    KABUL (Reuters) - The insurgents who mounted weekend attacks in central Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan carefully rehearsed for months, even building small military-style models and pre-positioning weapons, a Taliban spokesman said on Monday. Zabihullah Mujahid provided Reuters with a rare insight into how the group plans strat...
  • Karzai says NATO failed as 18-hour Kabul attack ends
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    2012-04-17 01:46:31 UTC

    KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that a coordinated Taliban attack on Kabul showed a "failure" by Afghan intelligence and especially by NATO, while Washington signaled the Haqqani group of militants was responsible. The Afghan leader's comments underscored abiding divisions between the Afghan government...
  • Algeria offers own brand of "Arab Spring" for vote
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    2012-04-15 21:34:28 UTC

    ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria on Sunday launched the campaign for a parliamentary election that the ruling elite, in power for 50 years, hopes will soak up the pressure for change that has been building since the "Arab Spring" revolts in neighboring countries. Oil and gas exporter Algeria is the only country in north Africa whose poli...
  • Taliban attack Afghanistan in "spring offensive"
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    2012-04-15 20:37:26 UTC

    KABUL (Reuters) - Heavy explosions, rockets and gunfire rattled Kabul on Sunday as Afghanistan's Taliban launched a "spring offensive" with multiple attacks targeting Western embassies, the NATO force's headquarters and the parliament building. The assault, one of the most serious on the capital since U.S.-backed Afghan forces remov...
  • Corrected-Beyond monitors, world deeply divided on Syria
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    2012-04-15 07:05:55 UTC

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a cease-fire barely holding and the deployment of unarmed foreign observers expected to ease but not end months of violence, world powers are still struggling to find a longer-term strategy for Syria. After heavy diplomatic wrangling, the United Nations Security Council on Saturday finally approved the de...
  • Israel moves to thwart pro-Palestinian fly-in
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    2012-04-15 02:23:52 UTC

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel moved to block an influx of pro-Palestinian activists planning to visit the occupied West Bank, drafting a letter from the Prime Minister's Office suggesting they focus instead on "real problems" in the Middle East, officials said on Saturday. Some 1,200 Palestinian supporters throughout Europe have boug...
  • Iran, big powers agree - to keep talking
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    2012-04-15 01:48:45 UTC

    ISTANBUL (Reuters) - After a year of sanctions and saber-rattling over Iran's nuclear program, negotiators from Tehran and six world powers finally resumed talks and found at least enough common ground to agree to meet again next month. With threats of war hanging over an already unsettled Middle East, U.S. and other Western diploma...
  • U.N. council approves deployment of monitors to Syria
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    2012-04-14 17:21:20 UTC

    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia and China joined the rest of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday to authorize the deployment of up to 30 unarmed observers to Syria to monitor the country's fragile ceasefire as called for by U.N.-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan. It is the first resolution the 15-nation council approved since the ...
  • Moscow urges swift UN resolution on Syrian observers
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    2012-04-14 05:39:58 UTC

    Russia is calling on the UN Security Council to adopt a swift resolution on the urgent sending of UN observers to Syria to ensure a ceasefire in the country torn by civil unrest, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday, RIA Novosti reported. "The urgent sending of UN observers to Syria is vital for the ceasefire in Sy...
  • Exclusive: Iran ships "off radar" as Tehran conceals oil sales
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    2012-04-13 19:23:13 UTC

    LONDON (Reuters) - Iran is concealing the destination of its oil sales by disabling tracking systems aboard its tanker fleet, making it difficult to assess how much crude Tehran is exporting as it seeks to counter Western sanctions aimed at cutting its oil revenues. Most of Iran's 39-strong fleet of tankers is now "off-radar" after ...
  • Russia sends conflicting signals on Syria ships
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    2012-04-13 19:15:26 UTC

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian news agency reported on Friday that Moscow had decided to keep a warship on patrol off Syria for the foreseeable future, but a military source said Russia's naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean had "nothing to do" with Syria. The conflicting signals came during a fragile ceasefire in Syria, which ...