Macron, Putin discuss deescalating Belarus border tensions
French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin have talked on the phone about the need to deescalate the tensions around the migrant pressure on the European Union's border with Belarus and about the need for humanitarian aid there.
The Latest: US strikes at IS in retaliation for bombing
The United States military has struck back at the Islamic State, bombing an IS member in Afghanistan less than 48 hours after a devastating suicide bombing claimed by the group killed as many as 169 Afghans and 13 American service members at the Kabul airport.
'Game over': Westerners rush to leave Kabul, rescue Afghans
The chop of U.S. military helicopters whisking American diplomats to Kabul’s airport has punctuated a frantic rush by thousands of other foreigners and Afghans to flee to safety as well, as a stunningly swift Taliban takeover reached Afghanistan’s capital.
Vaccine deliveries rising as delta virus variant slams Asia
As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant.
EU eyes Belarus sanctions targeting sectors close to leader
European Union nations are sketching out plans for new sanctions against Belarus that will target economic sectors close to its authoritarian president, as they seek to strike back at him for the forced diversion of a passenger jet to arrest a dissident journalist.
The Latest: UN chief welcomes cease-fire, urges negotiations
The United Nations chief is urging Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers to observe their cease-fire, and he says the international community must develop a reconstruction package “that supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their institutions.”.
Donors pledge more than $6 billion to tackle Syria's crisis
Announcing the total pledge, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said that besides the grants, financial institutions and donors offered loans amounting to $7 billion. AdThe EU said it committed to €3.7 billion ($4.3 billion) for 2021 and beyond, with €1.12 billion ($1.31 billion) coming from the bloc's executive arm and €2.6 billion ($3 billion) from the 27 EU member states. Another $5.8 billion was requested for nearly 6 million Syrian refugees who fled their homeland. AdGerman Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledged 1.738 billion euros ($2 billion) on Germany’s behalf Tuesday, an amount he described as the country's largest pledge in the last four years. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom cut its pledge to “at least" 205 million pounds ($281 million), compared to 300 million ($411.8 million) last year.
EU top diplomats in Libya to support interim authorities
German foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, March 25, 2021. The European foreign ministers also called on mercenaries and foreign fighters to leave the country immediately. Ad“This (withdrawal) is indispensable so that Libya can regain its sovereignty and security,” said France’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We have talked about the tasks ahead and about how we can concretely support (Libya) where there is a wish for it,” said Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. EU top diplomats also stressed the need to reopen the country's Mediterranean coastal road linking the east and the west.
EU targets 11 Myanmar officials over coup, crackdown
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, left, talks to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during a European Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Monday, March 22, 2021. (Aris Oikonomou/Pool Photo via AP)BRUSSELS – The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions Monday on a number of Myanmar officials accused of involvement in the country's military coup and the ensuing crackdown on protesters. The EU announced penalties on 11 officials, including 10 top military officers. Ten of the 11 targeted with asset freezes and travel bans by the EU are senior members of the Myanmar Armed Forces. AdMyanmar’s military junta prevented Parliament from convening on Feb. 1.
Germany urges Iran to accept diplomacy in nuclear dispute
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks at the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 prior to his attendance of the virtual human rights council in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, pool)BERLIN – Germany's foreign minister on Wednesday urged Iran to accept diplomatic overtures coming from the West in order to preserve the 2015 nuclear accord. "In the end, Iran needs to understand that what’s important is to de-escalate and accept the offer of diplomacy that’s on the table, including from the United States,” Maas said. "But we still want to use these three months, together with other partners in the nuclear agreement, to discuss step by step how the U.S. can return to this accord,” Maas said. "With or without agreements – we will do everything so that you will not arm yourselves with nuclear weapons.”
Germany prepares way for its troops to stay in Afghanistan
(Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP, Pool)BERLIN – The German government is preparing the way for the country's troops in Afghanistan — the second-biggest contingent in a NATO force — to stay in place until next year if needed. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new draft mandate that would enable German troops to stay until Jan. 31, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. German troop deployments overseas require parliamentary approval, which is typically granted on an annual basis. Seibert said that the maximum level of 1,300 German troops is unchanged in the new mandate. Germans will elect a new parliament on Sept. 26, but it typically takes weeks or even a few months before a new coalition government is in place.
Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal
Besides signaling Thursday a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored. He's expected to address the U.S. stance on the 2015 multilateral Iran nuclear deal, the war in Afghanistan and the economic and national security challenges posed by Russia and China. The U.S. has not participated in a meeting of those participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began steadily ramping up sanctions on Iran. The Trump administration had imposed the severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their U.N. mission and the U.N. headquarters building in New York. “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal," he said.
Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal
In addition to signaling a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored. The U.S. has not participated in a meeting of those participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began steadily ramping up sanctions on Iran. The Trump administration had imposed the severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their U.N. mission and the U.N. headquarters building in New York. “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal," he said. In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope Thursday that the Biden administration will rejoin the accord and lift the U.S. sanctions that Washington re-imposed under Trump, according to state television.
US, Europeans urge Iran to keep allowing nuclear inspections
(UNTV via AP)PARIS – Top European and U.S. officials urged Iran on Thursday to allow continued United Nations nuclear inspections and stop nuclear activities that have no credible civilian use. Iran is “playing with fire,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who took part in talks Thursday in Paris with his British and French counterparts. Iran has said it will stop part of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of its nuclear facilities next week if the West doesn’t implement its own commitments under the 2015 deal. The 2015 accord is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The head of the IAEA is scheduled to travel to Iran this weekend to find a solution that allows the agency to continue inspections.
Top diplomats of US, UK, France, Germany hold virtual talks
LONDON – The top diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the United States met Friday for the first time in almost three years as the European allies welcome America’s return to center stage in world affairs under President Joe Biden. Britain’s Foreign Office and the U.S. State Department said the foreign ministers of the three European nations and the U.S. secretary of state held virtual talks on topics that included Iran, China, Russia, Myanmar, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. The last time the top foreign affairs officials from the four countries met as a quartet was in April 2018. The meeting of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian came a day after Biden told U.S. diplomats at the State Department: “America is back. One of Biden's first acts as president was reversing Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Germany: tie Afghanistan troop pullout to talks' progress
Security personnel inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)BERLIN – The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan should be tied to progress in stuttering peace negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban, rather than “slavishly” bound to an end-of-April deadline, Germany’s foreign minister said Tuesday. Germany is the second-biggest contributor to NATO's Resolute Support training and assistance mission in Afghanistan, after the United States. At the same time, talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are making little headway. At the end of April, “these peace talks won't be over,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at an event organized by weekly Die Zeit and three other German newspapers.
EU urges Navalny's release but no talk of Russia sanctions
A demonstrator clashes with a police officer during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Pushkin square in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. “The Council considered it completely unacceptable, condemned the mass detentions, and the police brutality over the weekend,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after chairing the meeting in Brussels. More than 3,700 people were detained across Russia during Saturday's nationwide protests in support of Navalny, according to OVD-Info, a human rights group that monitors political arrests. Borrell said he would visit Moscow next week for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Steps being taken by Russian authorities are suppressing those rights.”The embassy also tweeted a State Department statement calling for Navalny’s release.
Kremlin foe Navalny jailed for 30 days; allies plan protests
Alexei Navalny and his wife Yuliastand in line at the passport control after arriving at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Russia's prison service says opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained at a Moscow airport after returning from Germany. A crowd of Navalny supporters outside the precinct shouted “Shame!” as the judge announced the ruling and Navalny's allies immediately called for protests. Russia’s prison service said Navalny had violated probation terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering conviction, which he says is contrived and politically motivated. In December, days before his probation period was supposed to end, Russia’s prison service accused Navalny of not appearing for these checks, including when he was convalescing in Germany.
World warily watches America's postelection aftershocks
From the outside, the United States has never looked so vulnerable — or unpredictable. And then, by seeking to overturn his loss to Joe Biden, Trump upended the bedrock principle of democratic elections that the United States has tried — and sometimes even succeeded — in exporting around the world. Then-U.S. President George W. Bush boasted that Iraq would become a model of democracy in a region ruled by dictators. Anahita Thoms, a German lawyer and trade expert who spent years living and working in the United States, said last week's events would indelibly mark America’s image abroad. But this aspiration, which is presented very strongly to the outside world, mustn’t get too many cracks," Thoms said.
World watches US chaos with shock, dismay and some mockery
She stayed up all night, watching and worrying at her home in Delhi as the chaos unfolded many time zones away. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner,” Merkel said. Iran, which faces routine U.S. criticism over violations of human rights and democratic values, jumped on the chaos as proof of American hypocrisy. Ally after ally expressed shock, followed by affirmations that U.S. democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil. “American democracy is obviously limping on both feet,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament.
The Latest: Coronavirus vaccine provided to US Supreme Court
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)WASHINGTON — The justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are being provided with doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Health officials have raised alarm about a looming shortage in hospital beds and intensive care units. The tally for Thursday eclipsed the previous 24-hour high of 21 deaths reported Nov. 24. ___RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s Supreme Court says coronavirus vaccination can be made mandatory, delivering a blow to the nation’s nascent anti-vaccine movement. Intensive care units in some regions were at or near full capacity, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
EU invites Biden to usher in new era for trans-Atlantic ties
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday Dec. 7, 2020. European Union foreign ministers were meeting to discuss making a fresh start to relations with the United States under President-elect Joe Biden, the fallout from weekend elections in Venezuela and tense ties with Turkey. At talks in Brussels, EU foreign ministers said that Europe’s shared interests and historic ties with America make up “the world’s foremost and closest relationship,” and are a solid foundation for cooperating on economic, foreign policy and human rights challenges. “A strong trans-Atlantic partnership is vital to ensure and to contribute to our common security, stability and prosperity,” the ministers said in a statement. There is no replacement for trans-Atlantic relations,” Linkevicius said.
Erdogan says Turkey's place is in Europe before EU summit
In recent weeks, EU members have raised the prospect of sanctions against Turkey over its gas exploration missions in the eastern Mediterranean. “We always see ourselves as part of Europe,” Erdogan said in a virtual speech to ruling party members. Ankara has dispatched research and drill ships to waters claimed by EU members Greece and Cyprus, sparking a military escalation over the summer. Prior to an EU summit in September, Turkey withdrew the Oruc Reis research vessel from the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions have also been stoked by Erdogan’s insults against French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkey’s foreign policy in northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.
EU leaders fail to solve political fight blocking big budget
The deal for the budget and recovery fund looked well on track to enter into force in January — until Hungary and Poland vetoed it this week. The Polish parliament passed a resolution Thursday backing the government’s plan to veto the EU budget if it included the rule-of-law condition. The resolution calls it unacceptable and inconsistent with the EU treaty to apply “different standards” to different members. The EU has opened legal procedures against the two countries over what it considers systemic threats to the rule of law. ___Frank Jordans in Berlin, Raf Casert in Brussels, and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.
German FM warns unilateral action could hurt Mideast talks
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, right, speaks as his Palestine counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, left, listens during a news conference following their meeting, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP)BERLIN – Germany's foreign minister warned Tuesday against unilateral steps that could hurt Mideast peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians following the change in administration in the United States. President Donald Trump has strongly backed Israel during his four-year term, declaring Jerusalem the Jewish state's capital, tolerating Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories and pushing Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel. “Creating facts unilaterally won't help us in this already difficult situation,” Germany's top diplomat, Heiko Maas, told reporters after meeting with his Palestinian counterpart in Berlin. “But no doors should be slammed shut either, in view of developments in the United States.”Maas didn't spell out what unilateral measures he was concerned about.
AP Interview: Germany seeks ‘new deal’ with US under Biden
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 file photo German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany. Maas, who has been Germany's top diplomat since 2018, said relations with the United States over the past four years often were one-sided. “A lot will depend on how much the domestic political situation in the United States improves, so that we have the basic conditions in which we can face international challenges together with the United States,” he said. The Trump administration pulled out of the deal two years ago, but Germany, France and Britain have resisted U.S. pressure to follow suit. “If the election of Joe Biden contributes to the limited time that we now have being used effectively, then that’s good,” he said.
UK defiant even after House of Lords rejects Brexit bill
With less than two months to go before the U.K. exits the EU's economic orbit, trade deal talks resume in London. But the government said it would restore the rejected sections when the bill returns to the House of Commons in late November or December. Critics say it could undermine the foundations of Northern Ireland peace by leading to border checks along the currently invisible frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Britain and the EU say any post-Brexit trade deal must be agreed upon by mid-November so it can be ratified by the end of the year. Although Johnson said Sunday that a trade deal is “there to be done,” the two sides still accuse one another of refusing to compromise.
World leaders hope for fresh start after Biden win
Other leaders who supported Trump, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, congratulated Biden, indicating they rejected Trump’s claim the election wasn’t over. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia told reporters he looked forward to a “great partnership” with Washington. Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan said he looked forward to working together to end illegal tax havens and on peacemaking in Afghanistan. Others expressed hope Biden will help to heal divisions in American society and global politics. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only leader who congratulated Trump even before all votes were counted and showed support after Biden’s win was announced.
‘Welcome back America!’ World celebrates Biden-Harris win
World leaders congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, cheering it as an opportunity to fortify global democracy and celebrating the significance of Americans having their first female vice president. Other leaders who sent congratulations included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only world leader who congratulated Trump even before all the votes were counted, and showed support after Biden’s win was announced. His rival, Juan Guaido, also thanked Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their “firmness and determination” in confronting Maduro. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who struck up a cordial working relationship with Trump, also avoided congratulating Joe Biden.
Turkey says Greece failed to fulfill promises, vows response
ANKAR – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused Greece and Cyprus of failing to fulfill “promises” made during negotiations within the European Union and NATO and said his country would continue to give them “the response they deserve." “Our Oruc Reis has returned to its duty in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan told legislators of his ruling party in a speech in parliament. Ankara says the Oruc Reis was redeployed following provocative acts by Athens, including a decision to hold military drills in the Aegean Sea on Turkey’s main national holiday. Separately, Erdogan declared that he would on Saturday announce details of the discovery a new natural gas reserve off the Black Sea coast. In August, Turkey announced the discovery of 320 billion cubic meters of gas, which the country said would help ease the country’s dependence on imports.
Germany decries Turkey's actions in eastern Mediterranean
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 file photo, Turkey's research vessel, Oruc Reis anchored off the coast of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)BERLIN – Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday criticized Turkey for “unilateral steps" in the eastern Mediterranean that are undercutting efforts to de-escalate tensions with Greece and Cyprus over sea boundaries and drilling rights. Ankara's redeployment of the Oruc Reis survey vessel for new energy exploration around Kastellorizo has reignited tensions over sea boundaries between Greek islands, Cyprus and Turkey’s southern coast. “We have every interest in engaging with Turkey in a constructive dialogue.”The Oruc Reis left the port of Antalya on Monday for a mission expected to end Oct. 22. Another Turkish survey ship is currently operating in waters where Cyprus claims exclusive economic rights.
EU to slap sanctions on Russia officials over Navalny attack
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, left, speaks with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, second right, during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. European Union foreign ministers were weighing Monday whether to impose sanctions on Russian officials and organizations blamed for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a Soviet-era nerve agent. (Jean-Christophe Verhaegen, Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – European Union foreign ministers agreed Monday to impose sanctions on Russian officials and organizations blamed for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a Soviet-era nerve agent. “It was a complete acceptance by all member states,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after the talks. Last week, tests conducted at labs designated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that Navalny was the victim of a Novichok nerve agent.
German minister warns of sanctions over Navalny attack
In this photo posted on the Instagram account of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, Navalny, center, poses for a photo with his wife Yulia and their son Zahar in an unknown location in Germany. German officials said last month that labs found traces of a Novichok agent in the Russian politician’s system. Navalny said last week that only Putin could have been behind the attack against him. Russia's envoy to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin told the meeting that “Russia does not owe anything to anybody. Neither to Germany nor to other countries that categorically and groundlessly accuse Russia of poisoning Alexei Navalny.
Top Israeli, UAE diplomats meet in Berlin for talks
The three foreign minister meet for talks in the German capital. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was a “great honor that the Israeli and Emirati foreign ministers have chosen Berlin as the location for their historic first meeting" since the two countries agreed to normalize relations in a U.S.-brokered deal. “The most important currency in diplomacy is trust, and I am personally grateful to both of my colleagues for placing this trust in Germany,” Maas said in a statement. Maas said “courage and trust” are what is needed in the Middle East peace process. “I hope that Berlin can offer a good framework to discuss further steps on this path.”
UN chief urges Libya cease-fire, warns its future at stake
“The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved,” he told the closed meeting. “There are nine countries that are intervening in the Libyan conflict,” Williams said, without giving any names. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments. Military commander Khalifa Hifter and his self-styled army launched an offensive in April 2019, trying to capture Tripoli, the capital. The virtual meeting came amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte.
UN meeting that began with unity concludes with divisions
In this photo provided by the United Nations, Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at UN headquarters in New York. (Rick Bajornas/UN Photo via AP)TANZANIA – This year's U.N. General Assembly meeting began with calls for multilateralism and cooperation — a declaration that the urgency for countries to unite “has rarely been greater.” It concluded with a parade of divisive grievances that echoed when the final gavel fell. As Germany’s foreign minister put it, COVID-19 “shows that international cooperation is neither an ideology nor an end in itself. The clash at the meeting was over responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw Russia back Beijing. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir ended the six-day meeting Tuesday night on an upbeat note, returning to the need for multilateralism and unity.
The Latest: Mali notable in its absence from UN meeting
As late as last week, the United Nations still listed the deposed president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as an upcoming speaker. But the final countries addressed the U.N. gathering on Tuesday afternoon with no word from Mali. Before this latest coup, extremists were moving south into more densely populated areas, adding to the frustrations that fed massive protests in the weeks ahead of the coup. He delivered a prerecorded address Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly’s annual meeting of global leaders, being held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emirati foreign minister also warned against what he said were “the expansionist ambitions of some countries in the region."
The Latest: China lifts pandemic bar on entry by foreigners
Officials announced seven new coronavirus cases Thursday, all of them imported, marking 39 days since China has reported a case of domestic transmission. Neighboring Slovakia had 338 cases Tuesday for a confirmed total of 7, 269 cases and 41 deaths since the start of the pandemic. ___LONDON — Scotland has recorded 486 positive coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number of daily cases in a single day. She says there were two recorded deaths in the past day, bringing the total confirmed toll to 2,508. Spain recorded 241 more virus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed death toll to 30,904.
Merkel won't rule out halting pipeline over Navalny
Exterior view of the Charite hospital where Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny receives medical treatment in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. The chancellor also believes that it's wrong to rule anything out, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters after being asked about Maas' comments. Previously, Merkel had insisted on decoupling the Navalny case from the pipeline project, which the U.S. strongly opposes. Germany announced that samples taken from Navalny showed clear evidence he was poisoned with substances from the Novichok group. Russia has denied that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning Navalny and accused Germany failing to provide evidence it requested in late August.
Germany ups pressure on Russia in Navalny poisoning probe
BERLIN Germany on Sunday increased pressure on Russia over the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, warning that a lack of support by Moscow in the investigation could force Germany to rethink the fate of a German-Russian gas pipeline project. The Nord Stream 2 project would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea when completed, bypassing Ukraine. Merkel has previously rejected the idea that the Navalny case should be linked to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In early August, three Republican senators threatened sanctions against an operator of a Baltic Sea port located in Merkels parliamentary constituency over its part in Nord Stream 2. The U.S. argues the project will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas.
France accuses UK of stalling in post-Brexit trade talks
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian left, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas attend the opening session of the French ambassadors to European countries in Paris, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The 27-nation EU and the U.K. remain deadlocked in their talks on future trade ties after a transitional divorce period ends on Dec. 31. Negotiations are not advancing, because of the intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his nation's ambassadors in Paris Monday. And Le Drian insisted that the 27 won't buckle under pressure from London. That, he said, would result in countries such as Italy, Spain or Poland taking greater responsibility for shaping EU foreign policy.
Germany calls for end to east Mediterranean military drills
In this photo provided by the Greek Defense Ministry, warships take part in a military exercise in Eastern Mediterranean sea, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. Turkey is accusing France of stoking tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, where NATO allies Turkey and Greece are locked in a stiff standoff over competing claims over offshore energy exploration rights. On Thursday, France was set to join Italy, Greece and Cyprus in three-day air and sea military exercises off the east Mediterranean island. Greek military officials said Thursday the United Arab Emirates have sent four fighter jets and five military transport planes to an airbase on Crete for joint training with Greek forces. Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Greece, and Lorne Cook in Brussels, contributed to this report.
Germany, Israel agree continued Iran arms embargo important
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, right, and Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrive to a news conference in front of the Liebermann Villa at the Wannsee lake in Berlin, Germany, August 27, 2020. The United States wants a full extension of the embargo on Iran, which would almost certainly be vetoed by Russia and China in the U.N. Security Council, Maas said. We are trying to reach a diplomatic solution so that there will be an arms embargo on Iran in the future, Maas said. Israel is against the deal, and the U.S. pulled out unilaterally in 2018, leaving the others involved Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China struggling to keep it alive. Maas said anti-Semitism still exists in Germany today, and the memorial serves as a reminder that we should fight it with available means.
Greece to extend territorial waters amid dispute with Turkey
Turkey will take what is its right in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean and in the Black Sea, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. In Athens, meanwhile, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece is planning to exercise its legal right to extend its territorial waters along its western coastline from six to 12 nautical miles. After talks with Maas, the foreign ministers of both Greece and Turkey signaled readiness for dialogue but blamed each other for the standoff. The Turkish vessel Oruc Reis has for weeks been carrying out seismic research escorted by Turkish warships. Turkey is also prospecting for hydrocarbons in waters where Cyprus claims exclusive economic rights.
German FM heads to Greece, Turkey as regional tension mounts
(Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)ATHENS Germany's foreign minister was heading to Greece and Turkey on Tuesday in an effort to ease increasing tension between the two neighbors, which are at loggerheads over prospecting rights in the eastern Mediterranean. In response to the Oruc Reis's operations, Greece put its armed forces on alert and sent warships to shadow the Turkish vessels. Turkey and Greece are our NATO allies. Ankara responded by extending its notification to shipping, known as a Navtex, about the research vessels operations to Aug. 27. The windows for dialogue between Greece and Turkey must now be opened further and not closed, Maas said.
Greece plans Mediterranean navy exercises; Turkey objects
FILE - In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, Turkey's research vessel, Oruc Reis, center, is surrounded by Turkish navy vessels as it was heading in the west of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey. (IHA via AP)ATHENS Greece's navy and air force will conduct military exercises beginning Tuesday in the eastern Mediterranean near a contested area where Turkey is prospecting for oil and gas, authorities said, drawing an angry response from Turkey. The tensions between the two NATO members over Mediterranean Sea rights have echoed across Europe. Erdogan vowed Monday not to abandon the search for energy in the eastern Mediterranean. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the crisis in the eastern Mediterranean at an informal meeting in Berlin this week.
Saudi Arabia cautiously welcomes UAE, Israel normalization
BERLIN Saudi Arabias foreign minister on Wednesday cautiously welcomed an agreement between its close ally the United Arab Emirates and Israel to establish full ties and exchange embassies. The UAE framed its agreement as a successful measure that halted Israeli plans to annex West Bank territory. Saudi Arabia, like other Arab Gulf states, has built quiet ties with Israel over the years, in part because of shared concerns over Iran and its policies in the region. Prince Faisal reiterated during the press conference the kingdoms long-stated public stance of support for the Arab Peace Initiative sponsored by Saudi Arabia in 2002 which promises Israel full ties with Arab states if a peace settlement is reached with the Palestinians. He reiterated the kingdoms long-held public stance that a future Palestinian state should include east Jerusalem as its capital.
Belarus authorities free detainees amid protesters' pressure
Relatives hug after being released from a detention center where protesters were detained during a mass rally following presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (AP Photo)MINSK Belarusian authorities have released hundreds of people detained amid demonstrations contesting the results of the presidential election, in an attempt to assuage public anger against a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests. In the early morning, volunteers also saw at least 119 detainees being released in the ity of Zhodino just northeast of the Belarusian capital. The releases came hours after Belarus' top law enforcement official apologized on state television for the indiscriminate use of force by police. The authorities said that a detainee died in the southeastern city of Gomel, but the circumstances of his death werent immediately clear.
FM says Germany ready to help Lebanon but reforms necessary
Maas said that Lebanon needs a "strong reboot" and far-reaching economic reforms to rebuild trust with its citizens. Heiko Maas spoke ahead of his trip to Beirut, following last week's explosion at the city's port that killed at least 171 people and wounded thousands. (Dalati Nohra via AP)BEIRUT Germany stands ready to help Lebanon with reconstruction and further investment after last week's massive explosion, but any support will be linked to economic reforms and an end to pervasive corruption in Lebanon, Germany's foreign minister said Wednesday. Ahead of his arrival in Beirut, Maas said Lebanon needs a strong reboot and far-reaching economic reforms to rebuild trust with its citizens. I think everyone in Lebanon has to recognize that things cannot continue like this, this country needs big reforms, he said.
Germany's Maas calls Pompeo over pipeline sanctions threat
BERLIN German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday he personally reached out to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express dismay over a warning by three Republican senators who threatened sanctions against a German port operator for its part in a pipeline project with Russia. The U.S. has long opposed the project, which has been increasingly a source of friction between Berlin and Washington as it nears completion. The port is a key staging post for ships involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline thats intended to bring natural gas from Russia to Germany. The U.S. argues the project will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas. Its also opposed by Ukraine and Poland, which will be bypassed by the pipeline under the Baltic sea, as well as some other European nations.
US-China spats rattle world, prompting calls for unity
France has avoided echoing Trumps criticism of Beijings handling of the coronavirus, but legislators applauded Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week when he condemned abuses of minority Uighurs in Chinas northwest. That rancor has spread to include Hong Kong, Chinese Muslims, spying accusations and control of the South China Sea. Trump complains about the cost of stationing 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea to protect against North Korean threats. The U.S.-Chinese row has thrown a question to South Korea" about which side to choose, the newspaper Dong-A Ilbo said in an editorial Monday. We are making clear: Beijings claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a July 13 statement.
Greece sends 18 migrant kids with medical needs to Germany
A child looks out of a window of a plane as a group of migrant children with health issues board a plane to Germany, at Athens International Airport, Friday, July 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)BERLIN Greece transferred 18 children with medical needs and their close relatives who were living in overcrowded migrant camps to Germany on Friday, authorities said. Germany says it has agreed to take in a total of 243 children who need medical treatment from Greece. In April, a group of 47 unaccompanied children evacuated from the Greek camps landed in Germany. Luxembourg and Portugal also have taken in minors from Greece, and other European Union countries have agreed to in principle.
EU urges US to join new Mideast peace effort
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell listens to questions during a media conference after a meeting of EU foreign ministers by videoconference at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday, June 15, 2020. The talks, which included a videoconference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, focused on China, developments in the Middle East and trans-Atlantic relations. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)BRUSSELS European Union foreign ministers on Monday urged the United States to join a new effort to breathe life into long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but they rejected President Donald Trumps Middle East plan as the basis for any international process. We made clear that it is important to encourage the Israelis and the Palestinians to engage in a credible and meaningful political process, Borrell said. No details of what the new effort might look like were provided.
Europe reopens many borders but not to Americans, Asians
Greece will officially launch its tourism season Monday, June 15, 2020 after keeping the country's infection rate low. Italy opened its borders on June 3 and towns on the German-Polish border celebrated early Saturday as Poland opened the gates. Czech authorities will require arrivals from Sweden to show a negative COVID-19 test or to self-quarantine along with travelers from Portugal and Polands Silesia region. But the restrictions are based on objective criteria that are the same for everyone, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said. My appeal to all those who travel: Enjoy your summer vacation but enjoy it with caution and responsibility, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Settler leader: Netanyahu moving ahead with annexation plans
JERUSALEM Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured Jewish settlers that he is going ahead with plans to begin annexing parts of the occupied West Bank next month, a settler representative said Monday. But Netanyahu said that once a final map is agreed upon with the Americans, he will present it to settler leaders individually, Revivi said. Annexation of West Bank land has long been a dream of the Israeli settler movement. Netanyahu and much of his nationalist base are eager to move ahead with annexation, especially with Trump facing shaky re-election prospects in November. The Palestinians, who seek all of the West Bank as part of an independent state, have rejected the plan, saying it unfairly favors Israel.
Germany: US troop withdrawal could harm NATO security
If the U.S. goes ahead, however, she suggested the move would do more harm to NATO as a whole than to Germanys own defense. The fact is that the presence of U.S. soldiers in Germany serves the entire NATO alliance security, including Americas own security, she said. This would break down trans-Atlantic bridges.The days are long gone when hundreds of thousands of American troops were stationed in Germany as a bulwark against the possibility of a Soviet invasion. If this is confirmed, you have to ask yourself what impact this will have on NATO and the security architecture in Europe, Beyer said. Germany has been increasing its defense spending and the issue of troops had lain dormant for many months.