Dubai's Expo 2020 reveals 3 worker deaths from COVID-19
Dubai’s Expo 2020 has acknowledged for the first time that three workers had died from the coronavirus over the course of building the world’s fair during the pandemic, as the prestigious event draws scrutiny of labor conditions in the United Arab Emirates.
France still bristling over Indo-Pacific sub snub
This week's phone call between President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron may have soothed some the incandescent rage with which France erupted over its exclusion from a new Indo-Pacific defense initiative, but the anger and resentment remain clear.
Biden looks to turn page on 20 years of war in UN address
President Joe Biden begins his first visit to the U.N. General Assembly ready to make the case to world leaders that after closing the chapter on 20 years of war, the U.S. aims to rally allies and adversaries to work together on a slew of crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and trade and economics.
France's Macron to talk to Biden amid crisis over submarines
France's government spokesman says President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with President Joe Biden in their first contact since a major crisis erupted between France and the United States over a submarine deal with Australia.
The Latest: UK says vaccines effective for Indian variant
British health officials are expressing optimism that the coronavirus restrictions remaining in England can be lifted in June after an official study found that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines offer effective protection against the variant first identified in India.
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.
EU slaps sanctions on 19 more Venezuelan officials
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, center, attends a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Feb 22, 2021. European Union foreign ministers on Monday will look at options for imposing fresh sanctions against Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny as the 27-nation bloc considers the future of its troubled ties with the country. (Yves Herman, Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on 19 more officials in Venezuela accused of undermining democracy or rights abuses in the crisis-torn South American country. EU foreign ministers targeted the 19 with asset freezes and travel bans “in view of the deteriorating situation in Venezuela following the December 2020 elections.” The main opposition parties boycotted those polls. It means that a total of 55 Venezuelan officials are now subject to EU sanctions.
Back in Paris pact, US faces tougher climate steps ahead
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)World leaders welcomed the United States' official return to the Paris climate accord Friday, but politically trickier steps lie just ahead for President Joe Biden, including setting a tough national target in coming months for cutting damaging fossil fuel emissions. Officially, the United States was only out of the worldwide global climate pact for 107 days. It’s the political symbolism that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity of addressing climate change.” said Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, has criticized Biden for rejoining the Paris accord, tweeting: “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise Americans’ energy costs and won’t solve climate change. The Biden administration will set unworkable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue with business as usual."
Greece seeks Gulf allies to counter tension with Turkey
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, left, speaks with Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimi, Emirati Minister of State for International Cooperation during a meeting, in Athens, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Foreign ministers and senior officials from several Persian Gulf countries met in Athens, as Greece seeks to expand alliances to counter tension with regional rival Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)ATHENS – Foreign ministers and senior officials from several Persian Gulf countries were meeting in Athens on Thursday, as Greece seeks to expand alliances to counter tension with regional rival Turkey. The participating countries have broadly sided with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean dispute. But Greece has continued plans to modernize its military and in recent months has stepped up armed forces cooperation with France, Egypt, Israel and others.
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.
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.
France's Macron hosts Trump envoy after congratulating Biden
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, walks to a motorcade vehicle after stepping off a plane at Paris Le Bourget Airport, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Le Bourget, France. Unusually, Le Drian met Pompeo at the Elysee Palace, rather than his own office. Before meeting Macron and Le Drian, Pompeo laid a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers at a memorial to victims of terrorism at a Paris landmark, the Hotel des Invalides. From Paris, Pompeo traveled on to Turkey, where he will meet religious leaders in Istanbul but not government officials. Senior State Department officials said the lack of official meetings in Turkey was due to scheduling issues during the brief stop.
US sec'y of state begins difficult 7-nation tour in France
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, and his wife Susan, right, embrace U.S. Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt, left, after stepping off a plane at Paris Le Bourget Airport, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Le Bourget, France. It will include visits to Israeli settlements in the West Bank that have been avoided by previous secretaries of state. In an arrival tweet Saturday in France, Pompeo laid out the standard diplomatic groundwork for his Paris talks, noting that France is the “oldest friend and Ally” of the United States. After France, Pompeo’s tour takes him to Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
France says stop boycott calls; Erdogan ups Macron insults
A child holds a photograph of France's President Emmanuel Macron, stamped with a shoe mark, during a protest against France in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday challenged the United States to impose sanctions against his country while also launching a second attack on French President Emmanuel Macron. “In numerous countries of the Middle East, calls to boycott French products...and more generally, calls to demonstrate against France, in sometimes hateful terms, have been relayed on social media,” the French Foreign Ministry said. While eulogizing the teacher on Wednesday, Macron said France would not renounce its freedoms. “What is the problem of this person called Macron with Islam and Muslims?” Erdogan, a devout Muslim, asked rhetorically Saturday during his Justice and Development party meeting in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.
France warns Turkey of EU sanctions over 'provocations'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the mmbers of his ruling party at the parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)ANKARA – France warned Turkey on Thursday that it could face European Union sanctions for its “provocations,” after Ankara redeployed its search vessel on a new energy exploration mission in the eastern Mediterranean. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he understood Greece’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue due to Turkey’s decision to again dispatch its ship. “And if there isn’t, then the European Union will have to face the question of how to deal with this and what consequences this will have,” Maas said. “It is one more provocation, in the continued provocations by the Turkish side,” Petsas said.
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.
Consultations to name new PM in Lebanon to begin on Monday
BEIRUT The office of Lebanons president said Friday that binding consultations with members of Parliament to designate a new prime minister will begin early next week. Mondays consultations will coincide with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Lebanon, a former French protectorate. The blast, the most destructive single incident in Lebanons history, killed more than 180 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and left nearly 300,000 people homeless. President Michel Aouns office released a schedule of the consultations that will begin Monday morning and end in the afternoon. The fighting briefly closed the main highway linking Beirut with southern Lebanon.
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.
Putin builds war chest
The US and its allies first issued a package of economic sanctions in 2014, intended to punish Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting separatist militias in eastern Ukraine. Despite friendly rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and Putin, tensions have continued to escalate as a new arms race heats up. Oil is by far the country's largest export and the bedrock of its war chest. The Kremlin plans to spend trillions of rubles on "national projects" to stimulate the economy, but it's unlikely they will significantly boost economic growth. But the Putin regime, while perhaps concerned about the long-term impacts, does not view it as an immediate crisis.