Retired Algerian Defence Minister arrested over war crimes

Former Algerian Defense Minister Khaled Nezzar has been arrested in Geneva over allegations of war crimes committed during the Algerian civil war, which started in 1992. The 73 year-old, who is also a retired Army General, was questioned by Swiss prosecutors, before being released pending further investigations. The Swiss human rights group Track Impunity Always (TRIAL) have accused Nezzar of inciting, directing and committing massacres, as well as torture and other human rights violations. See report from Reuters here . TRIAL were also involved in pursuing allegations of war crimes against...

New defence secretary reaffirms UK foreign policy

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme for the first time as the UK's defence secretary, Phillip Hammond reiterated Britain's commitment to protect civilians populations from unscrupulous regimes. Listen here from 02:18:00 for full interview. Extracts reproduced verbatim below: HAMMOND: We took part in this NATO campaign under the United Nations resolution and we took part in order to protect civilians against a very imminent massacre. Now that campaign - that was the reason we did it - now that campaign is over, of course I would expect British companies to be - even today - British sales...

SNP: only Scottish independence will do

Addressing the SNP (Scottish National Party) conference on Saturday, party leader Alex Salmond, reaffirmed the party's commitment to independence, dismissing any assertion that Scottish nationalism could be placated with economic powers. The SNP won a landslide victory in the last election and have pledged to hold a referendum on independence, most probably at the end of the Scotland's five year parliament. See here for video clip. Extracts from Salmond's address reproduced below: "Fiscal responsibility, financial freedom, real economic powers is a legitimate proposal. "It could allow control...

Eta announces end of armed struggle

Basque separatist group Eta has declared the “definitive cessation of its armed activity” and called for talks with the French and Spanish governments. The announcement came after talks with mediators led by former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan and Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams, as well as calls from Eta’s political allies on the Basque separatist left. The Guardian has commented that Eta is following “a closely scripted route towards peace” and the BBC correspondent in Basque said “the event was so carefully choreographed that this move from Eta was widely...

NATO demolishes barricades in Kosovo amid Serb protests

The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) used tear gas to dismantle barricades in Northern Kosovo on Friday, amid protests by over 500 Serbs. Dozens of Serb protesters and eight KFOR troops have reportedly needed medical attention. On Thursday, German and Austrian NATO troops, equipped with anti-riot gear, called on Serbian protesters staging a sit-down protest, to go home peacefully. "Go home, otherwise we will be obliged to use force," a KFOR representative said in Serbian to the protesters. The NATO move came after talks with Serb leaders in northern Kosovo on Wednesday proved futile. Serbs...

US met Haqqani network

The United States has held a meeting with representatives of the Haqqani militant network, the US Secretary of State, Hiliary Clinton revealed on Friday, during current talks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Speaking to journalists in Pakistan, Clinton said, "We believe that there is now an opportunity for us to begin talking, but there is no guarantee that the talking will result in anything that will move us toward a peaceful resolution." "We are going to continue fighting where necessary to protect our interests, and so are the Pakistani military because you cannot allow terrorists to gain...

Saleh demands guarantees before resigning

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has pledged to step down after months of political unrest on the country, but only if the EU, US and Gulf nations provide him with guarantees. After almost nine months of anti-regime protests which has left over 800 people dead, Saleh has agreed to sign a deal proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, but wanted guarantees, which are thought to include immunity from prosecution. The US responded to the statement with State Department spokesman Mark Toner telling reporters, "We don't believe any further guarantees are necessary." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki...

Guam demands self-determination at UN

The speaker of the Guam Legislature has called on the UN to dispatch a special mission to help the native Chamorros gain self-determination. In her speech Dr Judih Won Pat accused the US of Genocide and as the perpetrators of ‘the tyranny of colonisation’. "For the past 50 years the Chamoru people, and other inhabitants of Guam, continue to bear witness to economic exploitation and political oppression by the incumbent administering power," she said. Won Pat also said for about 500 years, "the Chamoru people endured ethnic and cultural genocide, forced labor, religious, and political...

Gaddafi's death welcomed by world leaders

Muammar Gaddafi was killed on Thursday during an attack by NTC fighters on Gaddafi's home town of Sirte. Acting Prime Minister, Mahmoud Jibril, announced the death and confirmed that Gaddafi had been caught alive, but stated he had died of bullet wounds on route to hospital. Video footage of his last moments have been broadcast across the world. Leaders across the world have welcomed his demise as the beginning of a 'free Libya'. Extracts from statements by leaders have been reproduced below. See statements in full here . US President Barack Obama "For four decades, the Gaddafi regime ruled...

US will wait for inquiry before approving Bahrain arms

The United States State Department has said that they will await the results of an inquiry into human rights abuses in Bahrain, before proceeding with a $53 million arms deal. The move comes as the US deal has come under increased scrutiny from human rights groups and US lawmakers, who opposed the sale. After intense international pressure Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa commissioned an inquiry into human rights abuses in the country, as protests that erupted eight months ago sparked a brutal crackdown by the ruling regime. In a letter to Congress, Assistant Secretary of State for...

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