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    French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian president Vladimir Putin to lift the blockade on Ukrainian grain in order to mitigate the growing global food crisis. In an 80-minute phone call on Saturday, Macron and Scholz asked Putin to lift Russia’s blockade of the port city of Odesa (Odessa) in order to allow Ukrainian wheat and other foodstuffs to once again flow from the Black Sea to countries dependent on the grain. Mr Putin, claimed in the phone call that the grain shipments were being prevented by “an erroneous economic and financial policy of Western countries, as well as by the anti-Russian sanctions,” despite there being no sanctions levied against Ukrainian food or fertiliser as has been put in place against Russian exports. The Russian leader said per France’s Le Figaro newspaper that “Russia is ready to help find options for an unhindered export of cereals, including Ukrainian cereals from ports on the Black Sea,” but added that such an arrangement will be dependent on the “lifting of appropriate sanctions” against Moscow. According to an analysis from The Economist,...
    By The Associated Press MOSCOW — The Kremlin’s spokesman says Russia has presented Ukraine with a draft document outlining its demands as part of peace talks and is now awaiting a response from Kyiv. Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters Wednesday that Russia has passed on a draft document containing “absolutely clear, elaborate wording” to Ukraine and now “the ball is in their court, we’re waiting for a response.” Peskov didn’t give further details. He blamed Ukraine for the slow progress in negotiations, and claimed that Kyiv constantly deviates from previously confirmed agreements. “The dynamic of work on the Ukrainian side leaves much to be desired, the Ukrainians do not show a great inclination to intensify the negotiation process,” he said. Ukraine presented Russia with its own draft last month in Istanbul, where the two sides held talks aimed at ending the conflict. It has been unclear how regularly the two sides have spoken to each other since then. ___ KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: — Russia hits Ukrainian cities, pours more troops into war — Japan...
    MOSCOW howled with outrage yesterday after claiming Ukrainian pilots had bombed one of its oil depots in Russia. Footage showed two helicopters hitting a storage facility in Belogrod with S-8 rockets, triggering a huge blaze and injuring two workers. 7A Russian fuel depot ablaze after an alleged Ukrainian airstrikeCredit: East2West 7Crews try to put out the fire at the depotCredit: AFP 7Despite continuing to kill Ukrainian women and children Putin’s henchmen insisted Ukraine was responsible for the attackCredit: Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin’s henchmen insisted Ukraine was responsible and threatened to walk out of peace talks — despite continuing to kill Ukrainian women and children in indiscriminate attacks. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “This is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of negotiations.” But Ukraine said Russian claims it was responsible for the strike “did not correspond to reality”. It was the first successful airstrike on Russian soil since World War Two. Read More on UkraineNIGHTMARE Total DISASTER for 'weaker than ever' Putin as Ukraine invasion 'falls apart'PUTIN’S MONSTERS Student, 19, among 5 dead...
    Ukraine is prepared to declare its neutrality, give up aspirations of becoming a NATO member, and is open to compromise on the fate of the Donbas region, President Volodymyr Zelensky said ahead of a new round of peace talks slated to start Tuesday in Istanbul. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, added Monday that the most ambitious goal negotiators had when going into the high-stakes meeting was an agreement on a ceasefire, even a temporary one. He then added that humanitarian relief was high on the list. Absent from the list of topics to be discussed are three of Russia's core demands, which include the "de-Nazification" and "demilitarization" of Ukraine as well as legal protection for the Russian language in Ukraine, according to the Financial Times, citing four people familiar with the talks. The concessions have come as the war, which began on Feb. 24, has claimed countless civilian lives, uprooted millions, and leveled entire cities and towns. BIDEN: 'I'M NOT WALKING ANYTHING BACK' ON WHETHER PUTIN SHOULD BE IN POWER Envoys from both sides have met multiple times before...
    Russia and Ukraine will hold a third round of talks on Monday about ending Moscow's on-going invasion, a Kyiv official has claimed. Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia announced the news in a Facebook post on Saturday, without providing further details. The Russian side was less definitive, saying merely that the talks might start on Monday. Delegations from Ukraine and Russia have held two rounds of talks since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbour on February 24. On Thursday, the sides agreed to open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians out of some combat zones, although there have been delays in implementing them after Ukraine accused Russia of not upholding the ceasefire. Ukraine said on Saturday the talks had not produced results but that it would keep pursuing negotiations. Russia and Ukraine will hold a third round of talks on Monday about ending hostilities, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said in a Facebook post on Saturday, without providing further details. Pictured: The two sides hold a second round of talks on Thursday 'The third round of talks will take place on Monday,'...
    A 40-mile convoy of tanks and other vehicles threatened Ukraine's capital Kyiv today on the sixth day of the conflict as its president accused Russia of war crimes. Vladimir Putin's forces launched what Ukraine's ambassador to the US has said were vacuum bomb attacks as Russia intensified shelling of the city of Kharkiv. Mr Putin had launched an indiscriminate bombing campaign on Kharkiv just 24 hours after local resistance had sent his troops packing from its streets. The bombs, shells and rockets which began falling yesterday left at least 11 dead, including three children, with homes and even a school reduced to rubble.  Russian artillery also hit a military base in the city of Okhtyrka and more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said.  After a first, five-hour session of 'peace talks' between Ukraine and Russia yielded no stop in the fighting, both sides agreed to another meeting in coming days. But Ukraine's embattled president Volodymyr Zelensky said he believed the stepped-up shelling was designed to force him into concessions. And the Kremlin has found itself...
    Two Russian billionaires have become the first powerful oligarchs to speak out and call for an end to the conflict triggered by President Vladimir Putin's assault on Ukraine. Mikhail Fridman, who was born in western Ukraine, and Oleg Deripaska have condemned Putin's invasion by calling for peace talks  'as fast as possible' between the two countries in an unusual intervention from Russia's leading business elite.   Mr Fridman, who is a co-founder of Russia’s largest private bank Alfa and controls private equity firm LetterOne, called for the 'bloodshed' to end. The 57-year-old, who was ranked as the 128th richest person in the world by Forbes in 2021, also said the war was a 'tragedy' for both countries' people and told LetterOne staff in a letter that the conflict was driving a wedge between the two eastern Slav peoples of Russia and Ukraine, who have been brothers for centuries. He wrote: 'I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favourite city. 'But I have also spent much of my life as a citizen...
    As the body count rises in Ukraine after Russia’s unprovoked invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office announced the two sides would meet somewhere on the Belarusian border. No date was included in the announcement, which came after Zelensky said he would agree to talk but not in Belarus territory, which Russia has been using to launch attacks on his nation. Russia earlier said they had sent a negotiation team to Belarus to await Zelensky’s approval. Zelensky had also suggested Israel would be a neutral location for desperately-needed negotiations between the two nations. “The past night was tough—more shelling, more bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure,” Zelensky wrote on social media Sunday. The four-day old conflict has killed soldiers on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides as well as Ukraine civilians. News of the talks came as it emerged that President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear deterrent forces on high alert, blaming NATO leaders’ “aggressive statements,” according to the Associated Press. The order paves the way for Putin to use nuclear weapons, which of course would...
    (CNN)Europe has a long and bloody history of wars, of borders brutally contested, of nations and empires carving destructive furrows far from home. But a sad harvest of sorrow and loss after the Second World War was followed by decades of relative peace and prosperity, even during a Cold War that did not become hot. Today that peace is being severely tested by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he masses troops on Ukraine's border and diplomats are raising the alarm in stark terms. The US ambassador to the 57 nation, globe straddling Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, Michael Carpenter, warned on Thursday that European security is facing a "crisis" and "the drumbeat of war is sounding loud."Putin, whose nation buried tens of millions of its own in European wars, is unearthing fresh grievances about the post-World War peace, specifically the role of NATO, the transatlantic defensive alliance and counterpoint to Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union. Last summer in a 20-page document citing centuries of blood-spattered history, Putin laid claim to Ukraine, which in 1991 regained its independence following...
    Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge are 'fed up' with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle causing a 'distraction' and want to leave them to 'sort things out on their own' before any peace talks take place, a royal expert has claimed. Prince William, 38, and his father, the Prince of Wales, 72, 'want to draw a line under Harry and Meghan' while they concentrate on 'getting back to business,' according to Russell Myers. Speaking to talkRADIO about the Duke of Sussex, 35, and Meghan Markle, who live with their son Archie, one, in a $14.7million home in Santa Barbara, California,' the royal expert explained: 'The rest of the Royal Family are very, very united in trying to get back to business.' 'We have hardly seen them. They have popped up on Zoom calls here and there. Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge are 'fed up' with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle causing a 'distraction' and want to leave them to 'sort things out on their own' before any peace talks take place, a royal expert has claimed. Pictured, during bombshell Oprah Winfrey...
    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister is to arrive Tuesday in Pakistan for a two-day visit expected to focus on efforts to bring peace to neighboring Afghanistan. Sergey Lavrov’s visit comes as a May 1 deadline for U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan in line with a deal Washington signed a year ago with the Taliban seems increasingly unlikely. The U.S. has accelerated efforts to get a peace deal for Afghanistan but is also seeking a three-to-six month extension on the troop withdrawal deadline amid repeated statements from President Joe Biden that America wants to end its longest war. That’s according to officials familiar with the talks who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations. Afghanistan has seen a nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings, and violence on the battlefield as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government have stalled. Lavrov heads a 13-member delegation that includes Moscow’s special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. Russia has intensified efforts to interject itself as a key player in the peace...
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A conference in Moscow this week on advancing the Afghanistan peace process does not replace the negotiations in Doha between the Taliban and a delegation that includes Afghan government officials, the State Department said on Tuesday. The Moscow meeting on Thursday "does not replace other ongoing talks in Doha," deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter told a news briefing. (Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese) Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters. Tags: Russia, United States, Asia, Europe, AfghanistanGalleriesNewsCartoons on President Donald TrumpPhotosPhotos You Should See - March 2021PhotosPhotos: America's Pandemic TollNewsThe Week in Cartoons: March 15-19RecommendedNational NewsMayorkas Sees ‘Difficult’ Challenge at BorderHealthiest Communities Health NewsDoctors Debate Blood Thinner After C-SectionsHealthiest Communities Health NewsWho Are the COVID Long-Haulers?PhotosPortraits of Resilience Health NewsModerna Begins Vaccine Trial in KidsCoronavirus Bulletin Stay informed daily on the latest news and advice on COVID-19 from the editors at U.S. News & World Report.Sign UpSign in to manage your newsletters »You May Also LikeThe 10 Worst PresidentsNot all U.S. presidents are missed once they leave the White House.U.S. News StaffDec. 19,...
    The Queen is to extend a personal olive branch to Harry and Meghan as she takes charge of the fallout from their bombshell television interview. With senior royals still 'reeling' following a series of explosive allegations by the couple, she has issued a 'three-line whip' to prevent staff discussing the situation publicly. It is understood that she intends to try to pour oil on troubled waters by reaching out to her grandson and his wife in California instead. It is expected that they will speak on the phone in the next few days. Although Harry and Meghan were informed of Buckingham Palace's statement on the issue prior to its release on Tuesday evening, this was done through officials. But the Queen believes now is the time for a more personal approach. The Queen is set to hold a private phone call with Prince Harry in the coming days, as she prepares to offer him an olive branch following his and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah The 94-year-old monarch's determination to seize the initiative is deemed to be a sensible...
    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia said Tuesday it will host a round of talks on Afghanistan that will bring together representatives of the government and the Taliban, marking an attempt by Moscow to raise its profile in the Afghan peace efforts. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the talks scheduled for March 18 will bring together representatives of Russia, the U.S., China and Pakistan, as well as an Afghan government delegation and representatives of the Taliban. Qatar, which has hosted Afghan peace talks, has been invited to the Moscow meeting as an honored guest. Zakharova said the negotiations will focus on “ways to help advance inter-Afghan talks in Doha, reduce the level of violence and end the armed conflict in Afghanistan and help it develop as an independent, peaceful and self-sufficient state that would be free from terrorism and drug trafficking.” Moscow’s attempt at mediation comes as talks in Doha between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled. Washington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace...
    DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Nation's envoy for Afghanistan is due to arrive in Qatar on Tuesday to meet with Afghan government and Taliban representatives this week in a fresh push on the fractious Afghan peace process, two sources familiar with the talks said. The visit comes as the United States is seeking to shake-up the stalled Qatari-hosted talks between the warring sides, including proposals for an interim government. U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons was also expected to with meet U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Qatari officials during the visit, the sources said. These are crucial meetings as the outcome will decide the fate of year-long talks in Doha whether they should be continued or put under a moratorium, one of the sources said.  With peace negotiations in the Qatari capital making little progress and violence in Afghanistan escalating, the United States is trying to build consensus around alternative options with all Afghan sides and key regional players. Khalilzad has visited Afghanistan, Pakistan and Qatar over the past week. Former U.S. President Donald Trump's...
    ISLAMABAD - U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met Monday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s peace council, to discuss steps for accelerating a process that could end decades of war in the country.   “We discussed the peace process, talks in Doha, the US current review & the steps forward,” tweeted Abdullah, who heads the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR).   The State Department announced Sunday that the aim of Khalilzad’s trip is to resume discussions with all parties, including the Taliban and regional countries, to find a way to achieve “a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.” This is Khalilzad’s first trip to the region since U.S. President Joe Biden took office. It comes after the negotiation teams of the Afghan government and the Taliban met in Doha last week following more than a month of hiatus. The visit also comes exactly a year after the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban in Doha that the Biden administration is now reviewing. The deal paved...
    WAG peace talks have collapsed after Becky Vardy turned down a “make or break” offer from Coleen Rooney. Becky, 38 — accused by Coleen of leaking stories — snubbed her foe’s bid to halt the case and instead demanded she apologise. 5Coleen Rooney's 'make or break' offer has been snubbed by Becky VardyCredit: The Mega Agency It means the pair were tonight digging in for an explosive High Court showdown to settle their Wagatha Christie feud. The warring Wags held the talks in a bid to avoid a costly five-day libel trial this summer. But The Sun on Sunday can reveal they are at loggerheads. A source said: “Nothing’s changed. There’s been no progress, no chink of light at the end of the tunnel — and no prospect of avoiding court. 5Becky Vardy is 'determined to clear her name' after the Wagatha Christie allegationsCredit: PA:Empics Entertainment “As far as Coleen’s concerned mediation was a waste of time.” The wife of ex-England legend Wayne, 34, wanted to settle the libel case out of court. She suggested she and Becky — married...
    ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban have been on a diplomatic blitz since peace talks with the Afghan government stalled in Qatar last month and the Biden administration said it plans to review a U.S.-Taliban agreement signed last February. The flurry of activity — including Taliban visits to Iran and Moscow, and a planned trip to Turkey — comes as the Afghan government’s negotiating team warned this week that if the Taliban fail to resume the talks, the government could recall its team from Doha. The peace talks resumed in early January in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, but quickly halted, marred by a spike in violence across Afghanistan, with the warring sides blaming one another. A Taliban official said the talks stalled after the Taliban demanded the government side accept a new “inclusive Islamic system” that includes all “tribes and groups” in Afghanistan — language that indicates the Taliban seek guarantees that Islamic rule would be in place in post-war Afghanistan. The government instead demanded the Taliban first join the current political system and declare a cease-fire,...
    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Afghan negotiators are to resume talks with the Taliban on Tuesday aimed at finding an end to decades of relentless conflict even as hopes wane and frustration and fear grow over a spike in violence across Afghanistan that has combatants on both sides blaming the other. Torek Farhadi, a former Afghan government advisor, said the government and the Taliban are “two warring minorities,” with the Afghan people caught in between — “one says they represent the republic, the other says we want to end foreign occupation and corruption. But the war is (only) about power.” The stop-and-go talks come amid growing doubt over a U.S.-Taliban peace deal brokered by outgoing President Donald Trump. An accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops ordered by Trump means just 2,500 American soldiers will still be in Afghanistan when President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month. Biden has advocated keeping a small intelligence-based presence in Afghanistan, but Taliban leaders have flatly rejected any foreign troops. Officials familiar with the U.S.-Taliban peace deal say there is no wiggle room that would allow even a...
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The top U.S. general held unannounced talks with Taliban peace negotiators in the Persian Gulf to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in Kabul warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group's nascent peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for about two hours with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday and flew Wednesday to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Milley's meetings came amid a new drawdown of U.S. troops, although under current U.S. policy a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks nationwide. "The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence," Milley told three reporters, including one from The Associated Press, who accompanied him to Qatar and Afghanistan. "Everything else hinges on that." Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, talks with Gen. Scott Miller,...
    By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. general held unannounced talks with Taliban peace negotiators in the Persian Gulf to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in Kabul warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group's nascent peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for about two hours with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday and flew Wednesday to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Milley's meetings came amid a new drawdown of U.S. troops, although under current U.S. policy a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks nationwide. “The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence,” Milley told three reporters, including one from The Associated Press, who accompanied him to Qatar and Afghanistan. "Everything else hinges on that.” Under ground rules set by Milley for security...
    ISLAMABAD - The U.S. military in Afghanistan said Friday that it had carried out an overnight airstrike against Taliban insurgents in defense of government security forces. U.S. military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett tweeted that the action in southern Kandahar province was in line with the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February. He said armed Taliban fighters were targeted when they were attacking an Afghan security checkpoint in Zhari district. Leggett did not share more details but denied as “false” insurgent claims that civilians were killed in the strike. For their part, the Taliban condemned the raid as a violation of the pact with the U.S., saying it destroyed “multiple civilian homes” and killed up to 10 people. Afghan officials in Kandahar were quoted by local media as asserting the Taliban were waging “coordinated attacks” on security forces when the U.S. military bombed them, killing at least 30 insurgent assailants. A spokesman for the insurgent group, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed no military activity or fighting was taking place in the area and said the agreement prohibits airstrikes on noncombat zones. “The continuation of such irresponsible actions...
    KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan government and Taliban representatives said on Wednesday they had reached a preliminary deal to press on with peace talks, their first written agreement in 19 years of war. The agreement lays out the way forward for further discussion but is considered a breakthrough because it will allow negotiators to move on to more substantive issues, including talks on a ceasefire. "The procedure including its preamble of the negotiation has been finalised and from now on, the negotiation will begin on the agenda," Nader Nadery, a member of the Afghan government's negotiating team, told Reuters. The Taliban spokesman confirmed the same on Twitter. The agreement comes after months of discussions in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in negotiations encouraged by the United States. In Afghanistan, the two sides are still at war, with Taliban attacks on government forces continuing unabated. Taliban insurgents have refused to agree to a ceasefire during the preliminary stages of talks, despite calls from Western capitals and global bodies, saying that that would be taken up only when the way forward for talks...
    TUNIS, Nov 9 (Reuters) – The United Nations opened talks on Libya’s future in Tunisia on Monday aimed at ending nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed by arranging elections, but obstacles remain despite progress in cementing last month’s ceasefire. Acting U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams has described it as the best opportunity in six years to end the turmoil and warfare that have plagued the North African oil exporting country since 2011. But she warned at Monday’s opening ceremony attended by Tunisian President Kais Saied: “The road will not be paved with roses and it will not be easy.” The talks, held among 75 participants chosen by the United Nations to represent an array of political viewpoints, regional interests and social groups, come as the main warring sides discuss how to implement a truce they agreed in Geneva. Libya has been split since 2014 between rival factions in the west, held by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and the east, home to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). However, both sides are made up of sometimes...
    TUNIS (Reuters) - The United Nations opened talks on Libya's future in Tunisia on Monday aimed at ending nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed by arranging elections, but obstacles remain despite progress in cementing last month's ceasefire. Acting U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams has described it as the best opportunity in six years to end the turmoil and warfare that have plagued the North African oil exporting country since 2011. But she warned at Monday's opening ceremony attended by Tunisian President Kais Saied: "The road will not be paved with roses and it will not be easy." The talks, held among 75 participants chosen by the United Nations to represent an array of political viewpoints, regional interests and social groups, come as the main warring sides discuss how to implement a truce they agreed in Geneva. Libya has been split since 2014 between rival factions in the west, held by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and the east, home to Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). However, both sides are made up of sometimes unstable coalitions...
    By AVET DEMOURIAN, Associated Press YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh ground on for a fifth week Thursday as top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan prepared for more talks on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Separatist authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijani forces of targeting several of the region's towns with Smerch multiple rocket systems, a devastating Soviet-designed weapon intended to ravage wide areas with explosives and cluster munitions, and one town with military aviation. In Stepanakert, the region's capital, civilians were killed and wounded, officials said without clarifying how many. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied using aviation and accused Armenian forces of shelling the Terter, Goranboy and Barda regions of Azerbaijan. The ministry also reported downing two Armenian Su-25 warplanes, a claim Armenian officials rejected as “disinformation.” Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting between regional, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces began Sept. 27 and has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones. It is the largest...
    YEREVAN – Fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh ground on for a fifth week Thursday as top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan prepared for more talks on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Separatist authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijani forces of targeting several of the region's towns with Smerch multiple rocket systems, a devastating Soviet-designed weapon intended to ravage wide areas with explosives and cluster munitions, and one town with military aviation. In Stepanakert, the region's capital, civilians were killed and wounded, officials said without clarifying how many. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied using aviation and accused Armenian forces of shelling the Terter, Goranboy and Barda regions of Azerbaijan. The ministry also reported downing two Armenian Su-25 warplanes, a claim Armenian officials rejected as “disinformation.” Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting between regional, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces began Sept. 27 and has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones. It is the largest escalation of hostilities over...
    Peace talks don’t necessarily mean peace. United States forces in Afghanistan announced early Monday that they have continued to defend Afghan partners from attacks by the Taliban even as Taliban-Afghan government peace negotiations enter their second week. “Over the past two days USFOR-A has conducted several targeted strikes in Helmand to defend [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] under attack by Taliban fighters,” U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett wrote in a Monday tweet. Leggett added that the U.S. “has & will” continue to provide support to Afghan partners. But with President Trump tweeting last week that U.S. forces in Afghanistan “should” be reduced to zero by Christmas, U.S. defense of its partner may be less certain than the Pentagon indicates. “The Taliban are continuing to seek leverage in the negotiations, and they're pushing back to see kind of where the limits are, and what kind of pressure they can put [on] them,” said Heritage Foundation security expert Jim Carafano. “That's not surprising,” he added. Violence in Afghanistan has reached a fever pitch since Feb. 29 when peace negotiations...
    Denver hip-hopper and artivist Bubba Peace brings a positive message to everything he does. As a Youth on Record teaching artist, he’s quick to find power through unity, helping young people navigate the violence plaguing the community. He’s a family man with a heart of gold and a deep understanding of how to right the systemic wrongs of the United States, something he's ready and willing to pass on to others. What drives Bubba Peace to exact change? He tackles that question and talks about what’s next as he answers the Colorado Creatives questionnaire. EXPAND Bubba being Bubba with Daughter Queen Oya Irie, the Queen Mom (left) and the Queen's Mom, aka Gramma (right). Photo by Hannah Skewes Related Stories Colorado Creatives: Miranda Lash Colorado Creatives: Angie Simmons Colorado Creatives: James Brunt Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse? Marijuana Deals Near You Bubba Peace: Freedom is my muse: Freedom as the practice of learning how to love myself. Freedom as seeking independence as a black man in a world full of assumptions on my mannerisms, lifestyle,...
    KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into a checkpoint in Afghanistan late on Wednesday killing 11 people, as peace talks between the government and Taliban militants in Qatar seemed to have no bearing on the violence at home. No group claimed responsibility for the attack in the southern province of Helmand though officials blamed the Taliban, who have a heavy presence in the area. The bomber rammed the truck into a post manned by pro-government militia members, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor. Seven soldiers and four civilians were killed, he said. In another attack late on Wednesday, a suicide bomber was killed and six civilians were wounded in a blast in the southeastern province of Khost, police said. There was no claim of responsibility. The talks between the government and the Taliban began in mid-September in Doha, the capital of Qatar, following a February deal between the militants and the United States that has cleared the way for U.S. forces to withdraw from their longest war. But the talks between the Afghans have...
    By Charlotte Greenfield ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Senior Afghan peace official Abdullah Abdullah arrived in Pakistan on Monday for meetings in a country seen as vital to the success of Afghan talks aimed at ending decades of war. During his three-day visit to Islamabad, Abdullah, a former foreign minister and chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as Pakistan's foreign minister. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been rocky. Afghanistan and its international allies have for years accused Pakistan of backing Taliban insurgents as a way to limit the influence of old rival India in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies that and in turn accuses Afghanistan of letting anti-Pakistan militants plot attacks from Afghan soil, which Afghanistan denies. "Pakistan fully supports all efforts for peace," its foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement. "The visit of Dr Abdullah Abdullah will contribute to further strengthening amity, brotherhood and close cooperation." The United States has acknowledged Pakistan's help in fostering Afghan peace efforts including in encouraging the Taliban to negotiate. The U.S. special representative for...
    DOHA, Qatar — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Breitbart News exclusively — after meetings between Afghan government officials and Taliban leaders as part of the beginning of intra-Afghan peace negotiations — that the process is moving along on pace for a full withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the spring of 2021. “I do,” Pompeo said when asked if the process is moving on pace with a Feb. 29 agreement between the United States and Taliban leadership that laid out the framework for the United States to reduce the troop count to zero by April or May of next year. Pompeo told Breitbart News that the process for a full withdrawal of all U.S. forces by the spring of next year requires three main conditions of the Afghan government and Taliban leaders. “The conditionality is really three-fold,” Pompeo said. “One, there is an obligation they have with respect to foreign terrorist groups — primarily al-Qaeda, but all four terrorist groups — they are not permitted, and the language is very clear that they are not permitted...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on the way to Doha, Qatar, that the United States is committed to ending the war in Afghanistan once and for all and eventually reducing American forces on the ground there to zero. Pompeo is, as President Donald Trump announced at a White House press briefing on Thursday, attending talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leadership in Doha to begin the peace process and eventually end America’s longest war. The summit, which will be on Saturday, comes a day after the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Pompeo will arrive in Doha the evening of Sept. 11, and has a series of meetings lined up with Afghan and Taliban leaders on Saturday Sept. 12 in Doha. On his return trip to Washington, DC, Pompeo will stop in Cypress to meet with its president. Breitbart News is accompanying the Secretary on the historic trip to Doha. “I want to thank you all for joining us on this trip. It’s really historic,” Pompeo said on the plane en route to Doha....
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    President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner is headed to the Middle East on a diplomatic tour to convince some of the region’s most important leaders to attend a White House signing ceremony to mark the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Kushner is expected to hit up the leaders of Egypt and Jordan — which established formal diplomatic ties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively. He will also make an appeal to the rulers of Oman and Bahrain, sources told CNN. Kushner is reportedly scouting the possibility of other peace agreements in the region. Regional rumblings have indicated that a similar deal between Israel and Sudan could be in the works, with officials saying such a deal could come by the end of the year. A splashy signing ceremony to commemorate the historic Israel-UAE agreement would be held in the heat of the 2020 presidential campaign and offer the Trump administration a much-needed victory lap in what has been a difficult year. Since coming into office, Kushner has acted as a close advisor...
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