AUSTRALIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER REVEALS TALKS ALREADY UNDERWAY WITH SYRIA & IRAN OVER ENDING THE 'WAR ON IRAQ'
From YahooNews.com :
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Iran and Syria have already been involved in discussions on Iraq."Iran and Syria are components of the general situation in Iraq and there is constant dialogue taking placing with Iran and Syria about these issues," he told reporters.
"Much on the Iraq issue ... occurs beneath the surface. There are constantly - and have been for the last three years, and then some...In recent times we've had some very interesting and productive conversations with a number of different governments about the question of Iraq."
IRAQ GOVERNMENT TO BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE WITH INSURGENTS
From the London Times :
The Prime Minister of Iraq will sit down for the first time next week with representatives of insurgent groups in his most concerted effort yet to quell the country’s sectarian war.
Nouri al-Maliki’s Government has asked insurgent leaders to send intermediaries to a national reconciliation conference, marking a new domestic drive to bring peace to Iraq.
It will pave the way for a subsequent conference outside Iraq, possibly in Damascus or Amman, with insurgent leaders themselves.
The peace initiative comes as the United Nations released a report yesterday into human rights, which said that 7,054 civilians had been killed in September and October, making it Iraq’s deadliest period since 2003.
More Than 160 Killed, Hundreds Injured, In Five Car Bomb Attacks On Shiite Slum, Al Qaeda Blamed
Shiite Fighters Retaliate For Car Bombings, Launch Mortars At Sunnis' Holiest Shrine
BUSH TO PUSH FOR INCREASE OF NATO TIES WITH AUSTRALIA
From ABC news :
US President George W Bush will ask NATO to boost its ties with Australia.
Mr Bush will ask a NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] summit next week to establish a partnership between the Atlantic alliance and five key allies, including Australia, Japan and South Korea.
US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says it will allow for increased strategic discussions between the countries.
"They also want to train more frequently with us militarily because they're operating with us militarily," he said.
"[The] three countries have been in Iraq, they've been in Afghanistan and they've been in the Balkans and so we want to grow closer to them."
CHINA BROUGHT TOP SECRET PAPERS ON US B2 STEALTH BOMBER
From Washington Times :
China obtained secret stealth technology used on B-2 bomber engines from a Hawaii-based spy ring in a compromise U.S. officials say will allow Beijing to copy or counter a key weapon in the Pentagon's new strategy against China.
Details of the classified defense technology related to the B-2's engine exhaust system and its ability to avoid detection by infrared sensors were sold to Chinese officials...
PUTIN : EUROPE HAS NOTHING TO FEAR FROM RUSSIA
From the Financial Times :
Those who warn of the danger of Europe becoming dependent on Russia see Russia-EU relations in black and white and try to fit them into the obsolete mould of “friend or foe”. Such stereotypes have little in common with reality, but their persistent influence on political thinking and practice runs the risk of creating fresh divisions in Europe.
The past must not be used to divide us, because we cannot rewrite history. Our current goal is to join forces so that Russia and the EU can build a common future as partners and allies. Russia is prepared to work for this and I hope a constructive approach will also prevail in the EU.
POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS RETURN TO THE STREETS OF LEBANON
From the UK Guardian :
Lebanon lurched closer to a fresh round of sectarian bloodletting yesterday with the assassination of its industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, a member of the country's most powerful Christian family and a leading opponent of Syrian influence.From the UK Independent :
The killing shook Lebanon's already beleaguered government and sent tremors across the Middle East, further complicating attempts to find a regional solution to the Iraq war. The Bush administration, under rising pressure to negotiate with Syria and Iran, yesterday hinted at the responsibility of both countries' governments, accusing them of trying destabilise Lebanon.
The assassination of Pierre Gemayel was angrily condemned by the Bush administration yesterday. It also dealt a serious blow to efforts by Tony Blair to bring Syria into regional talks on the future of Iraq and the Middle East.
...the Lebanese politician's murder only serves to underscore how the US has largely lost the ability to influence events in the region, its power and reputation sapped by the post-invasion debacle in Iraq.
His policy in shreds, Mr Blair said the murder "underlines once again the absolute and urgent need for a strategy for the whole of the Middle East".
PEACE DEAL SIGNED BETWEN NEPAL REBELS AND GOVERNMENT
From the Washington Post :
The government and rebels signed a peace deal Tuesday to end a decade-long insurgency, paving the way for the guerrillas to join Nepal's interim government.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist rebel leader Prachanda signed the accord at a Katmandu convention hall packed with cheering officials, dignitaries and foreign diplomats.The deal came after months of negotiations that centered on how to disarm the insurgents and bring them into the government, which they helped bring to power by backing widespread demonstrations earlier this year against the dictatorship of King Gyanendra.
"This ends the more than one decade of civil war in the country," Prachanda declared after signing.
LEADERS FROM EGYPT, SUDAN, CHAD, ERITREA, LIBYA WORK TO END CRISIS IN DARFUR
From the Washington Post :
Arab and African leaders in Libya on Tuesday agreed to work together to end the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, as the U.S. and U.N. pressed the African nation to spell out the conditions for its acceptance of an international peacekeeping force for the troubled area.
The presidents of Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Eritrea held talks in Tripoli hosted by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The Central African Republic also participated.
Suleiman Awad, spokesman for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, was quoted by Egypt's official News Agency MENA as saying Mubarak called the Tripoli meeting the first step to a resolution of the crisis.
"This summit opens the road for us to approach the end of the current situation in Darfur and end the tension between Sudan and its neighbors, Chad and the Central African Republic," Mubarak reportedly said.
ISRAEL'S OWN MAPS REVEAL SETTLERS OCCUPY ARAB-PALESTINIAN LANDS
From the Washington Post :
39 percent of the land used by Jewish settlements in the West Bank is private Palestinian property, and contends that construction there violates international and Israeli law guaranteeing the protection of property rights in the occupied territories.
(The illegally occupied areas) includes some of the large settlement blocs inside the barrier that Israel is building to separate Israelis from the Palestinian population in the West Bank.
Israel's government has long maintained that the settlements, developed in large part with public money, sit on untitled property known as "state land" or on property of unclear legal status. Israeli courts have also ruled that unauthorized outposts erected on private Palestinian property must be razed, although those orders are rarely carried out.
ISRAEL'S OLMERT PRAISES THE 'WAR ON IRAQ' AND BUSH LEADERSHIP
From YahooNews.com :
The Iraq war was a boon for Israel's security, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday, voicing fresh endorsement for a Bush administration sapped by the unpopularity at home of its Middle East policies.
"I know all of his (Bush's) policies are controversial in America. There are some who support his policies in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, and some who do not," he said.
"I stand with the president because I know that Iraq without Saddam Hussein is so much better for the security and safety of Israel, and all of the neighbors of Israel without any significance to us," added Olmert, who was speaking in English.
"Thank God for the power and the determination and leadership manifested by President Bush."But Olmert's views on today's Iraq have not been shared by all Israeli experts.
Yuval Diskin, chief of the Shin Bet intelligence service, said in a leaked briefing earlier this year that Israel could come to rue Saddam's ouster if it deepens regional instability.
"When you take apart a system in which a dictator has been controlling his people by force, you have chaos," Diskin said in a recording broadcast by Israeli television. "I'm not sure we won't end up missing Saddam."
UN Official To Israel : Apology Not Good Enough When You Slaughter 19 Civilians In Their Beds