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trump’s un envoy vows to ‘call out’ russia if needed


u.s. president donald trump’s ambassador to the united nations (u.n.) said washington “will not hesitate to call out russia if we see something wrong,” just as the administration has done on ukraine and syria. the u.s. envoy to the u.n., nikki haley, spoke to al jazeera wednesday after trump’s first address to a joined session of…






tony blair denies pitch to be trump's middle east envoy


image copyrightpatony blair has not pitched to become a middle east envoy for us president donald trump, a spokesman has said.the denial comes after the mail on sunday reported that the former british prime minister met the president's son-in-law and key adviser, jared kushner, at the white house last week. the paper claims the meetings were to discuss working for mr trump.mr blair's office said the story was an "invention" and that he continues to work for peace "in a private capacity".after he left downing street in 2007, mr blair took the role of middle east envoy for the quartet group, made up of the european union, us, russia and united nations.his spokesman said: "mr blair has made no such 'pitch' to be the president's middle east envoy."neither has he had any discussions about takin






tony blair denies pitch to be trump's middle east envoy


image copyrightpatony blair has not pitched to become a middle east envoy for us president donald trump, a spokesman has said.the denial comes after the mail on sunday reported that the former british prime minister met the president's son-in-law and key adviser, jared kushner, at the white house last week. the paper claims the meetings were to discuss working for mr trump.mr blair's office said the story was an "invention" and that he continues to work for peace "in a private capacity".after he left downing street in 2007, mr blair took the role of middle east envoy for the quartet group, made up of the european union, us, russia and united nations.his spokesman said: "mr blair has made no such 'pitch' to be the president's middle east envoy."neither has he had any discussions about takin






tamer suhalia najaf: 'three of my daughters were killed'


any so-called islamic state (is) fighters left in mosul will die in the iraqi city, a us envoy co-ordinating the offensive has said.brett mcgurk, the senior us official in the counter-is coalition, issued the warning after iraqi forces cut off the last road out of the city, trapping is fighters inside.tamer suhalia najaf says his family has been destroyed by the ongoing conflict.is fighters left in mosul will die, says us envoy mcgurk






trump envoy launches preliminary talks on 'the ultimate deal' — mideast peace


an envoy for president trump finished two days of talks with leaders in jerusalem and ramallah as the new administration launched into the nitty-gritty of advancing israeli-palestinian peace efforts.jason greenblatt, the u.s. special representative for international negotiations, met for about two hours tuesday with palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas at his headquarters in the west bank, a day after talking late into the evening with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu in jerusalem.the statements after greenblatt’s meetings said the u.s. seeks to encourage a “genuine and lasting peace,” although they contained scant mention of the longtime goal of establishing a palestinian state.greenblatt’s shuttle diplomacy is part of an effort to see whether the new administration can






the latest: un syria envoy meets with opposition reps


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at the geneva talks (all times local):7 p.m.the united nations envoy for syria is meeting with syrian opposition representatives separately in geneva reflecting the struggle of opposition groups to form a united front in peace talks with the damascus government.staffan de mistura on sunday first met with representatives of the opposition delegation dubbed the cairo platform.after the meeting, jihad makdissi, a former spokesman for the damascus government who left syria in 2012 said the envoy gave them papers on "how to facilitate talks" between the various opposition groups and the government.makdissi, at the helm of the cairo delegation, sought to downplay differences in the opposition saying they were "diverse" rather than "fragmented," an






north korean envoy rejects finding that nerve agent killed kim jong nam in malay


share storythe associated presskuala lumpur, malaysia (ap) — north korean envoy rejects finding that nerve agent killed kim jong nam in malaysia, says heart attack is likely cause.the associated presscustom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.thanks for signing up!






russia’s un envoy dies ‘unexpectedly’


russia’s envoy to the united nations vitaly churkin died suddenly on monday, the foreign ministry said, without giving details of the cause.“on february 20, the permanent representative of russia in the un vitaly churkin unexpectedly died in new york,” it said in a statement.churkin was 64 and died one day before turning 65, the ministry said, offering condolences to his family. “the outstanding russian diplomat passed away on his post,” it said.churkin had served in the role since 2006. previously he worked at the foreign ministry in moscow, served as an envoy to canada (1998-2003), belgium (1994-1998) and as a special representative to the talks on former yugoslavia (1992-1994).the news of his death was met with shock at the un headquarters. diplomats holding a routine meeting on general






north korea labels malaysian ambassador persona non grata after malaysia expels


share storythe associated pressseoul, south korea (ap) — north korea labels malaysian ambassador persona non grata after malaysia expels north’s envoy over death of kim jong nam.the associated presscustom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.thanks for signing up!






syria peace talks to resume without u.n. envoy


u.n. special envoy of the secretary-general for syria staffan de mistura shows a picture during a press conference as part of the intra-syrian peace talks at the european headquarters of the united nations in geneva, on march 3, 2017.(photo: philippe desmazes, afp/getty images) 6 connectlinkedinemailmoregeneva - the u.n. envoy for syria won’t be on hand for the resumption of peace talks involving government envoys and a delegation of opposition leaders.u.n. spokeswoman alessandra vellucci says the envoy, staffan de mistura, won’t be there but his deputy, ramzy ramzy, will “engage the parties bilaterally” when talks resume on thursday in geneva.she says de mistura is traveling to ankara and moscow and will join the talks on friday. russia and turkey back rival sides in the talks and in syri






syria peace talks to resume without u.n. envoy


u.n. special envoy of the secretary-general for syria staffan de mistura shows a picture during a press conference as part of the intra-syrian peace talks at the european headquarters of the united nations in geneva, on march 3, 2017.(photo: philippe desmazes, afp/getty images) 4 connectlinkedinemailmoregeneva - the u.n. envoy for syria won’t be on hand for the resumption of peace talks involving government envoys and a delegation of opposition leaders.u.n. spokeswoman alessandra vellucci says the envoy, staffan de mistura, won’t be there but his deputy, ramzy ramzy, will “engage the parties bilaterally” when talks resume on thursday in geneva.she says de mistura is traveling to ankara and moscow and will join the talks on friday. russia and turkey back rival sides in the talks and in syri






syria peace talks to resume without u.n. envoy


u.n. special envoy of the secretary-general for syria staffan de mistura shows a picture during a press conference as part of the intra-syrian peace talks at the european headquarters of the united nations in geneva, on march 3, 2017.(photo: philippe desmazes, afp/getty images) 6 connectlinkedinemailmoregeneva - the u.n. envoy for syria won’t be on hand for the resumption of peace talks involving government envoys and a delegation of opposition leaders.u.n. spokeswoman alessandra vellucci says the envoy, staffan de mistura, won’t be there but his deputy, ramzy ramzy, will “engage the parties bilaterally” when talks resume on thursday in geneva.she says de mistura is traveling to ankara and moscow and will join the talks on friday. russia and turkey back rival sides in the talks and in syri






syria peace talks to resume without u.n. envoy


u.n. special envoy of the secretary-general for syria staffan de mistura shows a picture during a press conference as part of the intra-syrian peace talks at the european headquarters of the united nations in geneva, on march 3, 2017.(photo: philippe desmazes, afp/getty images) 5 connectlinkedinemailmoregeneva - the u.n. envoy for syria won’t be on hand for the resumption of peace talks involving government envoys and a delegation of opposition leaders.u.n. spokeswoman alessandra vellucci says the envoy, staffan de mistura, won’t be there but his deputy, ramzy ramzy, will “engage the parties bilaterally” when talks resume on thursday in geneva.she says de mistura is traveling to ankara and moscow and will join the talks on friday. russia and turkey back rival sides in the talks and in syri






kremlin spokesman says any contacts between sessions and russian envoy are 'not


a kremlin spokesman said thursday that any past meetings between russia’s envoy to washington, sergey kislyak, and u.s. atty. gen. jeff sessions were “not our headache.” the spokesman, dmitri peskov, told reporters in a conference call that he did not know if the two had been in contact during the u.s. presidential campaign, and that if contacts did occur, he did not know “what was their content.” sessions, then a u.s. senator, served as a foreign advisor to president trump during the campaign. he is now at the center of an uproar over reports that he met twice with the russian envoy and then lied under oath to congressional colleagues when he said he had not had contacts with any russian official. russia has vehemently denied u.s. intelligence conclusions that moscow meddled in the electi






un syria envoy seeks momentum in upcoming geneva talks


munich — the u.n. envoy for syria says he's hoping upcoming peace talks in geneva produce new momentum and that much depends upon the position the u.s. decides to take.staffan de mistura said sunday "the big question mark is where is the u.s.?" he told the munich security conference "we have to push for momentum" at the talks starting thursday.but state department diplomat brett mcgurk says "people will be disappointed" if they envision the u.s. suddenly finding a new "tool in the toolkit."he says "i don't think the u.s. will come in with a one-size-fits-all solution, because there isn't one."syrian national coalition president anas al-abdah said the opposition is "fully committed and prepared to negotiate a political solution," adding "we have a glimmer of hope."






un envoy says islamic state will be routed from iraq soon


united nations — the u.n. envoy for iraq says military operations to liberate iraq from the islamic state extremist group will be coming to an end "in the rather short foreseeable future."jan kubis told the u.n. security council thursday that "the days of the so-called isil are counted," using one of the acronymns for the militant group.he said progress and the government's successful paign to retake the eastern part of mosul "should not conceal that fighting has been and will be a m ive challenge, in particular inside the old city in western mosul."kubis said that after islamic state extremists are routed, iraq will need "substantial and sustainable" international support and istance."any abrupt scaling-down of enga ent or support would mean repeating mistakes of the past," he said.






un envoy for syria hails "positive" meeting with tillerson


geneva — the u.n. envoy for syria has held a "positive" meeting with u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson about upcoming talks among syria's fighting sides.a spokeswoman for staffan de mistura said tuesday that he met with the top u.s. diplomat last week as part of a "series of successful meetings with the new u.s. administration" during a trip to the united states.the spokeswoman, yara sharif, told reporters in geneva that the discussions with tillerson were centered on the "context" of syria's war. she said only one u.n.-led humanitarian convoy reached besieged areas in syria last month, making it the worst month for aid deliveries since march.sharif said invitations to the u.n.-sponsored intra-syrian talks set to begin feb. 20 in geneva will be sent wednesday.






sights set for modest achievements in syria talks


geneva — the united nations envoy to syria is working round the clock in a bid to secure a modest victory in the fourth round of talks held in geneva.staffan de mistura is due for another round of meetings thursday marking a week of bilateral talks with the government delegation and opposition groups.a top syrian opposition negotiator told journalists overnight wednesday the "envoy is really keen to start a political process on the basis of a clear agenda."nasr al-hariri said the talks would likely culminate in a closing ceremony friday and the parties may be back in geneva for further discussions in a few weeks.setting the agenda and strategy to guide discussions has proven difficult as the main conflicting parties dig in their heels over form and semantics.






un syria envoy not expecting breakthrough at geneva talks


geneva (ap) — playing down expectations, the u.n. envoy for syria said wednesday that he’s not expecting a breakthrough in the first u.n.-mediated peace talks between government representatives and the opposition in 10 months, rather hoping to build momentum toward peace after nearly six years of war.staffan de mistura spoke a day before convening the two sides amid a recent cease-fire that has largely held and recent battlefield gains by president bashar assad’s forces. the envoy warned of unspecified “spoilers” who could try to scuttle his efforts to end a conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead.“we want to give a chance to the syrian people, the syrian parties, to try to have some type of dialogue leading more just beyond a conflict,” he told reporters. de mistura said he was






un syria envoy not expecting breakthrough at geneva talks


geneva — playing down expectations, the u.n. envoy for syria said wednesday that he's not expecting a breakthrough in the first u.n.-mediated peace talks between government representatives and the opposition in 10 months, rather hoping to build momentum toward peace after nearly six years of war.staffan de mistura spoke a day before convening the two sides amid a recent cease-fire that has largely held and recent battlefield gains by president bashar assad's forces. the envoy warned of unspecified "spoilers" who could try to scuttle his efforts to end a conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead."we want to give a chance to the syrian people, the syrian parties, to try to have some type of dialogue leading more just beyond a conflict," he told reporters. de mistura said he was "dete






the latest: representative calls for unity among opposition


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at the geneva talks (all times local):8:50 p.m.a representative of the moscow-backed syria opposition says opposition groups need to form a single delegation if they are to enter talks with representatives of the damascus government in geneva.u.n. envoy staffan de mistura has invited opposition groups and representatives of the syrian government to switzerland in a fresh diplomatic bid to move toward a political solution to the six-year-old conflict in syria.after meeting with de mistura, hamza monzer said his group wanted to move from "a situation of paralysis to action."the damascus government has repeatedly sought to characterize the syrian opposition as too fragmented to take part in any serious negotiation.three opposition groups were i






the latest: syrian gov’t demands opposition unity for talks


beirut (ap) — the latest on developments in syria and at peace talks in geneva (all times local):9:45 p.m.the syrian government’s top envoy to geneva peace talks says his side will meet face-to-face with the opposition only if its various factions come together in a “unified, patriotic opposition.”bashar al-ja’afari, syria’s ambassador to the united nations, pressed home the government’s demand that the opposition denounce terrorism in the wake of deadly attacks against security offices in the central city of homs earlier saturday.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.speaking to reporters after a 2-1/2-hour meeting with the u.n. syria envoy, al-ja’afari said of the government delegation: “we do not have any pre-conditions.”in comments translated from arabic, he said: “






russia's ambassador to un laid to rest in moscow


moscow — russia is holding a funeral for its long-time ambassador to the united nations who died suddenly earlier this week.mourners including the russian foreign minister on friday brought flowers to vitaly churkin's casket in an elaborate state funeral on moscow's outskirts.churkin, who died monday at a new york hospital at age 64, had been russia's envoy at the u.n. since 2006. he was the longest-serving ambassador on the security council, the u.n.'s most powerful body. medical examiners who performed an autopsy on churkin said that more tests were needed to determine how and why he died.speaking at the farewell ceremony, foreign minister sergey lavrov called churkin an "exceptional professional and people's diplomat." the u.n. envoy is expected to be laid to rest later on friday.






the latest: syrian gov't demands opposition unity for talks


beirut — the latest on developments in syria and at peace talks in geneva (all times local):9:45 p.m.the syrian government's top envoy to geneva peace talks says his side will meet face-to-face with the opposition only if its various factions come together in a "unified, patriotic opposition."bashar al-ja'afari, syria's ambassador to the united nations, pressed home the government's demand that the opposition denounce terrorism in the wake of deadly attacks against security offices in the central city of homs earlier saturday.speaking to reporters after a 2-1/2-hour meeting with the u.n. syria envoy, al-ja'afari said of the government delegation: "we do not have any pre-conditions."in comments translated from arabic, he said: "we only have one condition, and that is that we can sit with on






un envoy says next round of syrian talks to start march 23


united nations (ap) — the united nations special envoy for syria says he intends to bring the government and opposition back to geneva for a fifth round of talks on march 23 to pursue agreement on a transition to end the six-year war.staffan de mistura told reporters after briefing the security council behind closed doors wednesday that the talks will focus on the issues both sides agreed to in the last round — governance, a new constitution, elections and counter-terrorism.he appealed to participants at an upcoming meeting in kazakhstan’s capital, astana, to address the challenges of the cease-fire in syria. those talks are organized by the three guarantors of the cease-fire — russia, iran and turkey.de mistura warns that without a strong cease-fire, the talks in geneva “will be fragile.”






palestinian envoy warns against moving us embassy in israel


washington (ap) — the palestinian’s top envoy to the united states is warning that moving the u.s. embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem could disrupt efforts to secure peace in the middle east.maen areikat says an “emotional decision” to shift the embassy’s location “is going to have very, very negative repercussions” and could seriously complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve the conflict between the palestinians and the israelis.areikat, chief of the plo delegation in washington, spoke monday at a conference sponsored by j street, a liberal jewish advocacy group.conservative republicans favor moving the embassy to jerusalem and president donald trump endorsed the relocation during the presidential campaign.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.a






palestinian envoy warns against moving u.s. embassy in israel


washington (ap) — the palestinian’s top envoy to the united states is warning that moving the u.s. embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem could disrupt efforts to secure peace in the middle east.maen areikat says an “emotional decision” to shift the embassy’s location “is going to have very, very negative repercussions” and could seriously complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve the conflict between the palestinians and the israelis.areikat, chief of the plo delegation in washington, spoke monday at a conference sponsored by j street, a liberal jewish advocacy group.conservative republicans favor moving the embassy to jerusalem and president donald trump endorsed the relocation during the presidential campaign.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.a






netanyahu vows new settlement amid talks with us envoy


jerusalem (ap) — israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu on thursday vowed to keep his promise to build the first new official west bank settlement in two decades amid discussions with a u.s. envoy on reviving the peace process with the palestinians.netanyahu met with u.s. envoy jason greenblatt for a second time this week on thursday to try to reach an agreement on settlements, one of the most contentious issues in decades-old peace efforts.the israeli leader said they “made progress on the issue of israeli settlement construction” and “discussed concrete measures that could help support and advance palestinian economic development,” without providing further details.the palestinians view the building of settlements on land they want for their future state as one of the main obstacles t






israel blacklists palestinian fund as us envoy visits


jerusalem — israel declared the palestine liberation organization's main financial body a terrorist organization on thursday, infuriating the palestinians as u.s. president donald trump's envoy wrapped up his first visit to the region.the fund makes monthly payments to about 35,000 families of palestinians killed and wounded in its long-running conflict with israel, including suicide bombers and other militants who targeted civilians and soldiers."the decision to declare the fund a terrorist organization stems from its continuing and ongoing activity in providing massive support for elements responsible for committing severe acts of terrorism against israel," defense minister avigdor lieberman said."as of today, all necessary actions will be taken in israel and overseas in order to seize a






malaysia expels north korea ambassador kang chol | malaysia news


malaysia has declared north korea's ambassador persona non grata over the murder of the north korean leader kim jong-un's half-brother, and ordered the diplomat to leave malaysia within the next 48 hourskang chol's expulsion came on saturday, weeks after kim jong-nam was allegedly poisoned at kuala lumpur airport on february 13.the decision to expel the envoy was made after he failed to appear at malaysia's foreign ministry on saturday at 6pm local time having been summoned, said al jazeera's florence looi, reporting from kuala lumpur."[authorities] were also expecting north korea to issue an apology because of the accusations they were making against malaysia. but that also didn't happen, so they took this drastic measure they said," she said. north korean envoy accuses malaysia of conspi






un says western sahara envoy ross has offered resignation


united nations — the u.n. political chief says the secretary-general's personal envoy for the disputed western sahara has offered his resignation.jeffrey feltman told reporters monday that u.n. chief antonio guterres will act on the resignation offer from christopher ross "at a time when he sees fit."feltman says ross has served for eight years trying to get the moroccan government and the polisario front independence movement back to negotiations on a permanent settlement of the western sahara dispute.morocco fought the polisario after it annexed western sahara in 1975 until the united nations brokered a cease-fire in 1991.morocco considers western sahara its "southern provinces" and has proposed wide-ranging autonomy, but the polisario front insists on self-determination through a refere






us envoy ends mideast visit with vows to seek peace


ramallah, west bank — a u.s. envoy wrapped up his first visit to the middle east on tuesday with commitments from israel and the palestinians to advance "a genuine and lasting peace."a joint u.s.-palestinian statement gave few details on how president donald trump plans to break decades of deadlock and hostilities. it said palestinian president mahmoud abbas would discuss possibilities for peace with trump on an upcoming visit to washington.trump campaigned on promises that he would depart from decades of american policy in the region, and he signaled a much closer relationship with israel than former president barack obama.his platform made no mention of palestinian statehood, a key goal of the u.s. and international community for two decades. he promised to move the u.s. embassy from tel






un envoy says is group will be routed soon in iraq


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un: follow-up cyprus security summit aimed for early march


nicosia, cyprus — a u.n. envoy says that the rival leaders of ethnically split cyprus have asked the world body to prepare for a follow-up summit in early march that will aim to sort out security arran ents after the island is reunified.envoy espen barth eide says that greek cypriot president nicos anastasiades and the leader of the breakaway turkish cypriots mustafa akinci will in the meantime meet weekly to narrow differences on other outstanding issues.anastasiades and akinci along with the foreign ministers of cyprus' "guarantors" — britain, greece and turkey — met in geneva last month to resolve the difficult issue. that meeting was suspended after differences proved too wide to bridge.a 1974 turkish invasion triggered by a coup aimed at union with greece split cyprus along ethnic lin






un envoy: progress on cyprus security deal, long way to go


nicosia, cyprus — a united nations envoy says progress has been made on a compromise formula regarding how security will be enforced after ethnically divided cyprus is reunified.but espen barth eide told the ap there's still "a long way to go" on a structure meeting the security concerns of rival greek and turkish cypriots, as well as the east mediterranean island's "guarantors" — greece, turkey and britain.eide said after talks with cypriot president nicos anastasiades wednesday that the u.n. is assisting in "structuring" the deal.the complex issue of security has long stumped peace talks. breakaway turkish cypriots insist on keeping turkish troops and granting turkey intervention rights in a reunified cyprus, something which greek cypriots reject.cyprus was split in 1974 when turkey inva






un says western sahara envoy ross has offered resignation


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senate panel backs trump’s pick for us envoy to israel


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indonesia summons british envoy over coral damaged by ship


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