Gaza Prime Minister makes first official trip abroad

The Hamas prime minister of Gaza Ismail Haniya has made his first official foreign trip since Hamas won control of the Gaza strip in 2007. After visiting Sudan and Egypt, Mr Haniya has now arrived in Turkey, in the hope of strengthening ties with Muslim countries in the face of uprisings in the region. Turkey’s diplomatic relations with Israel have declined to an all time low since the attack by Israeli forces on a Turkish aid flotilla in 2010, which left 9 turkish activists dead. Mr. Haniya visited the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship of the flotilla, on Monday and said, “The blood of Mavi...

Taliban agree to 'embassy' plan

A Taliban spokesman announced on Tuesday that the organisation is willing to open an office in Qatar for negotiations with the ‘international community’. Zabiullah Mujahid said an agreement had been reached with Doha and other ‘relevant parties’ but did not elaborate on when the political office would be opened. Secret discussions between US and Taliban officials had been ongoing for months and it is thought that a release programme for Taliban prisoners of war has also been negotiated. Plans for the office in Qatar where initially opposed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but he gave in to...

Palestinian-Israeli talks resume

The first Palestinian-Israeli meeting in fifteen months, ended in a small token of progress, with peace negotiators, agreeing to continue the dialogue. Gathering in Jordon's capital, Amman, on Tuesday, the meeting was overseen by the Middle-East 'Quartet' of the Unites States, Europian Union, Russia and the United Nations. Tuesday's talks come after Israel and the US condemned the Palestinian's UN bid as a move against peace talks. However, the meeting was welcomed by the White House who described it as a “positive development" and by the Jordanian foreign minister, who said, “The important...

Yemeni protesters demand Saleh faces justice

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Sanaa in Yemen, demanding that the country's out-going president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, faces justice for ordering the deaths of protesters. Holding posters of the president with a noose around his neck, protesters chanted, "We will not let you escape" and "Mr Saleh must stand in front of a judge". The protests followed Saleh's decision to stay in Yemen despite being offered immunity when signing an accord that relinquishes power to the vice president. His decision has led to speculation that he is intent of maintaining his power. The...

Syrian opposition forces unite

The two main Syrian opposition forces - the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB) - came together to formally unite against the Assad regime. Meeting at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo Friday, the Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the SNC, whose members are mainly in exile, and Haytham Manna of the NCB, whose members are mainly based inside Syria, signed a draft agreement on the roadmap to democracy. In a statement, the NCB said, "[the agreement] sets out the political and democratic rules for the transitional period [should...

Kim Jong-un consolidates power

Kim Jong-un was formally named as the supreme commander of North Korea's armed forces on Saturday, consolidating his leadership and power within the state. Referring to him for the first time as the "great leader", the official state news agency said, "[the title] provides sure guarantee for glorifying the great exploits performed by Kim Jong-il for army building and carrying forward the cause of the songun [military-first] revolution generation after generation". In a defiant statement broadacast by the state media, the new leader warned South Korea and the rest of the world, "The sea of the...

Argentinians protest against 'lax' sentences for war criminals

Human rights activists and families of 'Dirty War' victims protested against what they described as "lax" sentences handed to officers convicted of war crimes. Gathering outside a Buenos Aires courthouse on Thursday, the protesters held photographs of the victims and demanded the sentences be lengthened. Nora Cortinas, from a human rights group called the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, said, "We can't tolerate these sentences. They are laughable for the crimes they committed. What more proof do they need? "Do they want the victims who were tortured and killed to come up from the bottom of...

Russian human rights report criticises US and NATO

Russia has criticised the US of grave human rights violations and double standards in dealing with allegations of rights abuses. The Kremlin's first report on human rights abuses detailed allegations of torture, phone tapping and indefinite detention by the US. It criticised the Obama government for failing to shut down Guantanamo Bay and protecting officials from prosecution. "The situation in the United States is far from the ideals proclaimed by Washington," Russia's foreign ministry said in a 63-page report posted on its Foreign Affairs website. "The main unresolved problem is the odious...

Genocide suspect leads Syrian observer mission

The Arab league's observer mission to Syria has come under scrutiny after it emerged that the team was being led by a Sudan army general, Gen. Mohamed Ahmad al-Dabi, who has been accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the 1994 Darfur genocide. Ahmad al-Dabi served as the military intelligence chief in Sudan's army and was responsible for the western province of Darfur in the late 1990s, where he allegedly recruited and armed Arab militias. The ICC (International Criminal Court) has issued an arrest warrant. Omer Ismail, a Sudanese analyst with the anti-genocide group,...

Qatar to host Taliban ‘embassy’

Afghanistan has agreed to a US plan to allow the Taliban to open an office in Doha. President Karzai previously rejected the idea, accusing the US and Germany of discussing the plan with Qataris, without informing the Afghan government of the full plan. But in a statement on Tuesday, President Karzai said he would agree to Qatar hosting the office. Karzai would prefer Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but if the United States insists that the insurgents establish a liaison office in Qatar, “we are agreed,” he said. “Having an exact address for the opposition (is a condition) for practical steps toward...

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