<![CDATA[Hedgehogs.net: '' related content]]> http://www.hedgehogs.net/tag/foreign+minister?view=rss http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11485147/iran-nuclear-talks-need-action-us Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:08:29 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11485147/iran-nuclear-talks-need-action-us <![CDATA[Iran Nuclear Talks Need Action: U.S.]]> * Sides inching closer but issues remain

* End-March deadline for preliminary deal

* Full deal would follow by end of June (Adds Britain's Hammond saying he is increasingly hopeful of a deal)

By Louis Charbonneau and John Irish

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 27 (Reuters) - Negotiations between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program have been "tough and very serious" and the next few days will show whether Tehran is ready to make the necessary hard decisions, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's overture to the leaders of the six powers on Thursday is "hopefully a sign that Iran is ready to make some of the tough decisions," the senior State Department official added on condition of anonymity.

The official said that other foreign ministers from the six-power group, which includes Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia as well as the United States, will arrive in the coming days to join the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a political framework agreement.

Tehran and the powers are struggling to hammer out a political framework accord that would lay the foundations for a full settlement by June 30.

Rouhani spoke with his French, Russian, British and Chinese counterparts on Thursday to try to break the impasse. He also sent a letter to the leaders of all six powers, including U.S. President Barack Obama, though officials said the letter did not suggest Tehran was ready to compromise.

"The difficulty is that the Iranians are not moving enough. They like to negotiate right up to the precipice and they're very good at that," a Western diplomat said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, on a visit to Canada on Friday, voiced optimism.

"We will not do a bad deal but we are increasingly hopeful we may be able to do the right deal, which will ensure that Iran's access to nuclear technology is channeled entirely for peaceful purposes and that the world can be assured that Iran will not proceed towards developing a nuclear weapon," he said.

Under a final accord, Tehran would halt sensitive nuclear work for at least a decade and in exchange, international financial and oil and some U.N. sanctions on Iran would be lifted. A deal aims to end Iran's 12-year nuclear standoff with the West and reduce the risk of war in the Middle East.

Initial easing of U.N. Security Council sanctions could include such gestures as removal of individuals and entities from a travel-ban and asset-freeze blacklist and little more, said a Western diplomat, adding Tehran needed to bend further to allow a deal to be made in the coming days.

He said the U.N. arms embargo on Iran would not be lifted in the initial phase after any Iran deal, adding that such a move would be unwise given the volatile situation in the region.

While all sides agree they are inching toward a deal, there are major disagreements.

Tehran insists on the freedom to continue research on advanced centrifuges, machines that purify uranium for use in nuclear power plants or, if very highly enriched, in weapons, at the underground Fordow site, and immediate lifting of all U.N. sanctions and the most severe U.S. and European Union sanctions.

"There has been massive progress on all the issues," a senior Iranian official told Reuters. "There are still disputes over two issues - R&D (research and development) and U.N. sanctions."

A Western official close to the talks confirmed that centrifuge research and enrichment in general remained the most difficult unresolved issue.

France is demanding the most stringent limits on future Iranian nuclear activity for it to support a deal, negotiators say, and its foreign minister played down the importance of the deadline.

"The important thing is the content not the deadline," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters at the United Nations in New York. "There has been some progress, but there are things which are not yet solved."

Fabius is due to arrive in Lausanne on Saturday. His British and Russian counterparts will join the talks over the weekend. The Republican-led U.S. Congress has threatened to impose new U.S. sanctions on Iran if there is no March deal, although Obama has threatened to veto any such moves.


'NOT VERY PRECISE'

The United States and European partners are reluctant to allow Iran to operate centrifuges at the Fordow site and the issue is unresolved, Western officials said.

An Iranian government website said in November that Washington could let Iran keep some 6,000 early-generation centrifuges, down from nearly 10,000 now in operation.

After meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters that it was unclear if there would be a deal in the coming days.

"We think an agreement is still possible but when is another story," Zarif said.

If there is a political framework agreement in the coming days, the U.S. and European delegations want it to be as specific as possible, including figures for permissible numbers of centrifuges Tehran could operate, uranium stockpiles and other sensitive technical issues.

Further technical details would be included in annexes to be agreed before July 1.

The six powers want limits on the most sensitive aspects of Iran's nuclear program to be in place for at least a decade followed by years of intrusive U.N. inspections. They also want to be certain Tehran would need at least one year to produce enough high enriched uranium for a weapon should the Iranians decide to produce one.

Iran denies having any nuclear weapons ambitions. (Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi, Stephanie Nebehay, Michelle Nichols, Euan Rocha and David Ljunggren; editing by Giles Elgood and Howard Goller)
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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11484657/who-are-north-koreas-friends Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:05:37 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11484657/who-are-north-koreas-friends <![CDATA[Who are North Korea's friends?]]> ]]> 11484657 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11483093/yemen-gulf-intervention-premium-erased-wti-tumbles-back-below-49 Sat, 28 Mar 2015 04:46:02 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11483093/yemen-gulf-intervention-premium-erased-wti-tumbles-back-below-49 <![CDATA[Yemen "Gulf Intervention" Premium Erased, WTI Tumbles Back Below $49]]> Well that was a quick geopolitical event. On the heels of what was set to be Crude's best week since July 2013, Stratfor clarifying little risk of disruption to crude supplies, Goldman confirming neglible impact from Yemen and more to Iran, and reports from Saudi Arabia that "this [Yemen] operation will not go on for long, I think it will be days," WTI crude has tumbled back to the $48 handle and erased all the "gulf intervention" premium - refocusing on domestic storage concerns.

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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11482974/its-time-to-start-worrying-about-what-russias-been-up-to-in-latin-america Sat, 28 Mar 2015 04:08:41 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11482974/its-time-to-start-worrying-about-what-russias-been-up-to-in-latin-america <![CDATA[It's time to start worrying about what Russia's been up to in Latin America]]> putin

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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11482726/irans-foreign-minister-says-no-nuclear-pact-this-week Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:39:46 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11482726/irans-foreign-minister-says-no-nuclear-pact-this-week <![CDATA[Iranâs foreign minister says no nuclear pact this week]]>






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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11481850/venezuela-gives-protest-note-to-us-after-obama-declares-caracas-threat Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:09:03 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11481850/venezuela-gives-protest-note-to-us-after-obama-declares-caracas-threat <![CDATA[Venezuela Gives Protest Note to US After Obama Declares Caracas Threat]]>
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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11481836/clean-hands-fewer-friends Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:08:48 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11481836/clean-hands-fewer-friends <![CDATA[Clean hands, fewer friends]]> RUNNING a human-rights-oriented foreign policy is a challenge, even for the Swedes. In October Sweden became the first Western government to recognise the state of Palestine. Margot Wallstrom, the foreign minister, was duly invited to address a meeting of the Arab League on March 9th. Ms Wallstrom wrote a rather anodyne speech exhorting the member states to live up to their commitments on human rights, particularly women’s rights. Saudi Arabia objected, and the league blocked her from speaking. Now Sweden’s relations with much of the Arab world are in shambles.

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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11480235/cyclone-pam-leaves-trail-of-destruction-in-vanuatu Sat, 14 Mar 2015 17:07:26 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11480235/cyclone-pam-leaves-trail-of-destruction-in-vanuatu <![CDATA[Cyclone Pam Leaves Trail Of Destruction In Vanuatu]]>
Packing winds of 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour, Cyclone Pam tore through the tiny South Pacific archipelago early Saturday, leaving a trail of destruction and unconfirmed reports of dozens of deaths.

Power remained out across Vanuatu later Saturday and people on many of the outer islands had no access to running water or outside communications, said Chloe Morrison, a World Vision emergency communications officer in the capital, Port Vila.

Morrison said communications have been so problematic that her aid group hasn't yet been able to account for many of its own 76 staff on the islands and authorities have been unable to assess the extent of the damage.

"I can say that for anybody who wasn't in a secure shelter last night, it would have been a very, very tough time for them," she said.

cyclone pam
Flood waters move inland following a storm surge, March 14, 2015 on the island of Kiribati. (Plan International Australia via Getty Images)


Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. About 47,000 people live in the capital.

Morrison said authorities did a good job Friday moving thousands of people in Port Vila into 23 evacuation centers. With the winds and rain easing Saturday, many people stepped out only to find that their homes were missing a roof or had disappeared, and were forced to return to the shelters.

Teetering trees and downed power lines in Port Vila have made many areas hazardous, Morrison said, adding that she had heard reports of entire villages being destroyed in more remote areas.

"It's still really quite dangerous outside. Most people are still hunkering down," she said.

cyclone pam
Debris is left by a storm surge after flood waters moved inland, March 14, 2015 on Kiribati. (Plan International Australia via Getty Images)


The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, estimated that 54,000 children were among those affected by the cyclone.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the impact and scope of the disaster caused by the cyclone wasn't yet clear, but he feared the damage and destruction could be widespread.

"We hope the loss of life will be minimal," he said during the World Conference on Disaster Risk and Reduction in Japan. The U.N. said it was preparing to deploy emergency rapid response units.

The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, who was attending the conference, told participants, "I do not really know what impact the cyclone has had on Vanuatu."

"I am speaking to you today with a heart that is so heavy," he said. "I stand to appeal on behalf of the government and the people to give a helping hand in this disaster."

cyclone pam
Residents take shelter as flood waters move inland, on March 14, 2015 on Tuvalu island. (Plan International Australia via Getty Images)


Morrison said the first priority was to ensure people had adequate food, drinking water and shelter. Beyond that, she said, there would need to be a long and concerted rebuilding effort in the months ahead.

She said the winds peaked between about midnight Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday.

A westward change of course put populated areas directly in the path of Cyclone Pam. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there were unconfirmed reports of 44 deaths in Vanuatu's northeastern islands after Pam moved off its expected track.

New Zealand on Saturday pledged 1 million New Zealand dollars ($734,000) to help with relief efforts. Australia was preparing to send a crisis response team to Vanuatu if needed, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

"There are destructive winds, rain, flooding, landslides, sea surges and very rough seas and the storm is exceedingly destructive there," she said. "We are still assessing the situation, but we stand ready to assist."

cyclone pam
Debris is left by a storm surge after flood waters moved inland, March 14, 2015 on Kiribati. (Plan International Australia via Getty Images)


The small island nation, located about a quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii, has repeatedly warned it is already suffering devastating effects from climate change with the island's coastal areas being washed away, forcing resettlement to higher ground and smaller yields on traditional crops.

Scientists say it's impossible to attribute single weather events like Cyclone Pam to climate change.

The cyclone has already caused damage to other Pacific islands, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Authorities in New Zealand are preparing for Cyclone Pam, which is forecast to pass north of the country on Sunday and Monday.

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Associated Press writer Elaine Kurtenbach in Sendai, Japan, contributed to this report.]]>
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http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11479844/germany-gop-letter-affecting-iran-talks Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:48:06 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11479844/germany-gop-letter-affecting-iran-talks <![CDATA[Germany: GOP Letter Affecting Iran Talks]]> 11479844 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11479833/turkey-arrests-agent-who-aided-missing-girls Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:47:56 +0000 http://www.hedgehogs.net/pg/newsfeeds/hhwebadmin/item/11479833/turkey-arrests-agent-who-aided-missing-girls <![CDATA[Turkey arrests agent who aided missing girls]]> ]]> 11479833