Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Diplomatic strain for John Kerry

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Former WHO Deputy Regional Director for Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a 'Third Intifada'?

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

  • Paris hosts first pro-Israel rally since start of Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new game plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists as Gaza death toll soars

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 crash site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

Europe

Syria tops agenda as EU ministers reconvene

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-09-07

France is expected to urge partners to find ways to send aid to Syrian civilians when EU foreign ministers convene for two days of informal talks in Cyprus Friday, in the first meeting of EU foreign ministers since the summer break.

AFP - EU foreign ministers gather in Cyprus some 100 kilometres from the Syrian coast Friday to explore how to best assist its opposition while defusing a humanitarian crisis looming in Europe's backyard.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has put Syria top of the agenda for two days of informal talks starting around 0930 GMT, the first meeting of EU foreign ministers since the summer break.

The talks, which will also address deepening worry over Iran's nuclear programme, come amid increasing concern over mounting violence between the opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's regime that last month alone sent a record 100,000 people fleeing across the borders.

Turkey, which along with Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon is hosting tens of thousands of refugees, has suggested creating protected safe havens inside Syria for civilians seeking to escape the violence.

But the idea fell on deaf ears at the UN Security Council last week amid concern even among Western governments over the implications of such a controversial military operation.

France is expected instead to urge its partners at Friday's talks in the classy Cypriot resort of Paphos to find ways to help funnel medicines, cash and other resources to civilians trapped in rebel-held areas.

France and Britain too are agreed on the need to speed up the transition from Assad's regime in Syria to a new government, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday after talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"We must accelerate the political transition (and) help the opposition to form a government," said Hollande.

But Europe remains divided over how best to help Syria's fractured opposition, under fire from many capitals that are reluctant to provide support due to continuing internal divisions and the presence of Islamist extremists fighting on its behalf.

And Washington has cautioned that before setting up any transitional government, the opposition first needs to unite around a plan.

"That's the first order of business -- for them to all agree on what a transition ought to look like," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said late last month.

 

Date created : 2012-09-07

  • SYRIA

    Red Cross chief urges Assad to help aid effort

    Read more

  • SYRIA - TURKEY

    Turkey asks UN for refugee camps inside Syria

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    France would recognise Syrian opposition govt

    Read more

COMMENT(S)