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Exclusive: NATO agrees Turkey air defense package, seeks 'predictability'

By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO allies agreed on Friday to send aircraft and ships to Turkey to strengthen Ankara's air defenses on its border with Syria, the alliance's chief said. Envoys to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization approved the plan and must now decide what military assets to send to Turkey, NATO...
Dec 19, 2015 |

Cuba's Castro says U.S. can do more to normalize relations

By Jaime Hamre HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba is willing to keep improving relations with the United States even though Washington has failed to meet its key demands for normalization, Cuban President Raul Castro said on Friday, a day after the anniversary of detente. Castro, 84, the younger brother of retired leader Fidel Castro, spoke to top government...
Dec 19, 2015 |

Israeli troops kill three Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza clashes

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian who tried to ram them with a car and another who took part in a violent demonstration in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the military and medical officials said. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli army fire killed another Palestinian during a border protest, medics said. A campaign of stabbings, shootings and...
Dec 19, 2015 |

Exclusive: Iran to match stance with Russia in push for Syria deal

By Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran has decided to unify its stance with Russia's in the push for a political deal to end Syria's civil war, Iranian officials said, in a sign it could ease its opposition to the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of the agreement. While maintaining its...
Dec 19, 2015 |

U.N. endorses Syria peace plan in rare show of unity among big powers

By Denis Dyomkin, John Irish and Sabine Siebold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syria peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter million lives. The resolution gives a...
Dec 19, 2015 |

Syrian negotiator says opposition wants transition without Assad

By Nael Shyoukhi RIYADH (Reuters) - Syria's opposition wants a political transition without President Bashar al-Assad, the coordinator of an opposition negotiating body in future peace talks said on Friday. The United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and major European and Arab powers outlined a plan last month for a political process in...
Dec 18, 2015 |

Exclusive: NATO agrees Turkey air defense package - Stoltenberg

NATO allies agreed on Friday to send aircraft and ships to Turkey to strengthen Ankara's air defenses on its border with Syria, the alliance's chief said, a package that is partly designed to avoid any more shoot-downs of Russian planes. Envoys to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization approved the plan and must now decide what military...
Dec 18, 2015 |

U.S. Defense Secretary, in Afghanistan, warns of IS threat

By Yeganeh Torbati OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned of the threat from Islamic State in Afghanistan during a surprise visit days after the Pentagon painted a grim picture of worsening security there. Carter met troops at a U.S. base near the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar Province, where about...
Dec 18, 2015 |

New Afghan political group poses challenge to Ghani government

A group including figures from Afghanistan's anti-Soviet Mujahideen of the 1980s on Friday launched a new political bloc likely to increase the pressure on President Ashraf Ghani's struggling unity government. The so-called Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan, many of whose members are close to former president Hamid...
Dec 18, 2015 |

China carries out war games in South China Sea this week

China's military carried out war games in the disputed South China Sea this week, with warships, submarines and fighter jets simulating cruise missile strikes on ships, the official People's Liberation Army Daily said on Friday. China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion...
Dec 18, 2015 |

From Russia with love: Putin, Trump sing each other's praises

By Ginger Gibson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump praised each other on Thursday, saying they would welcome an improvement in the now-icy relations between their two nations. Trump - who holds the lead in opinion polls in his bid for the Republican nomination and was dubbed the...
Dec 18, 2015 |

U.S. says considering response to Iran ballistic missile test

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is considering how to respond to an Iranian ballistic missile launch that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday, as senators pressed for a strong reaction. "We are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that...
Dec 18, 2015 |

After half a century, U.S. and Cuba to resume scheduled flights

By Arshad Mohammed and Jeffrey Dastin WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba have agreed to restore scheduled commercial airline service for the first time in more than five decades in a deal allowing 110 round-trip flights a day between the former Cold War foes. Under the pact, U.S. airlines will be able to sell tickets on...
Dec 18, 2015 |

Exclusive: Japan's far-flung island defense plan seeks to turn tables on China

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is fortifying its far-flung island chain in the East China Sea under an evolving strategy that aims to turn the tables on China's navy and keep it from ever dominating the Western Pacific Ocean, Japanese military and government sources said. The United States, believing its Asian allies -...
Dec 18, 2015 |

Syrian opposition chooses former PM to coordinate peace talks

The Syrian opposition hosted by Saudi Arabia elected former Prime Minister Riad Hijab as a coordinator of a body that is expected to lead future peace talks, sources said on Thursday. Hijab, who defected from Syrian President Bashar al Assad's government in 2012, was chosen on Thursday during a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh by a majority...
Dec 17, 2015 |

Putin: Russia did have people in Ukraine doing 'certain military tasks'

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia did have personnel in eastern Ukraine who were carrying out certain military tasks but denied Moscow had deployed regular troops there. "We never said there were no people there who were carrying out certain tasks including in the military sphere," Putin told an annual news...
Dec 17, 2015 |

U.S. says it is considering response to Iran ballistic missile test

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington is considering how to respond to an Iranian ballistic missile launch that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday, as senators pressed for a strong reaction. "We are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that launch in...
Dec 17, 2015 |

Libyan factions sign U.N. deal to form unity government

By Aziz El Yaakoubi SKHIRAT, Morocco (Reuters) - Delegates from Libya's warring factions signed a U.N.-brokered agreement to form a national government on Thursday, a deal that Western powers hope will bring stability and help fight a growing Islamic State presence. Four years after Muammar Gaddafi's fall, Libya is deeply fractured with...
Dec 17, 2015 |

Obama administration authorizes $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan

It is the first such major arms sale to Taiwan in more than four years. The White House said there was no change in the longstanding U.S. "one China" policy. Past U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan have attracted strong condemnation in China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.
Dec 17, 2015 |

Hezbollah buries militant Qantar, says Israel will be held accountable

Lebanon's Hezbollah group said on Monday that Israel would be held accountable for killing prominent militant Samir Qantar in an air strike in Syria, and accorded him an elaborate funeral of... Read More

Russia says black box from warplane downed by Turkey unreadable

Investigators in Moscow said on Monday they were unable to retrieve information from the damaged black box of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey last month, data the Kremlin hoped would support... Read More

Exclusive: U.S. glossed over Oman's human rights record during Iran talks

By Jason Szep, Matt Spetalnick and Yara Bayoumy WASHINGTON/MUSCAT (Reuters) - As the United States negotiated this year’s nuclear pact with Iran, the State Department quietly agreed to spare the... Read More