April 13th – 17th

Monday, 13th April 2015

TURKEY – Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is betting on newfound appeal beyond its Kurdish base to propel it into parliament for the first time, threatening to deprive the ruling party of critical seats in June elections. (Reuters)

SYRIA – The United Nations’ Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is proposing to hold consultations in Geneva on new political talks, diplomatic sources said on Monday, more than a year after UN-led peace talks collapsed. (DailyTimes)

ISRAEL – Iran and Israel have been cooperating under the auspices of an international body set up to monitor a ban on nuclear bomb tests, its director said on Monday. Negotiated in the 1990s, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty enjoys wide global support but must be ratified by eight more nuclear technology states — among them Israel and Iran, as well as Egypt and the United States — to come into force. (Reuters)

LIBYA – Under heavy pressure from Western powers and amid fresh attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) on Tripoli embassies, UN-brokered talks for a ceasefire and national unity government will resume this week. The talks are set for Wednesday in Morocco but a two-day meeting between Libya political leaders began on Monday in Algiers. A joint statement from the Italian, French, US, German, UK and Spanish foreign ministries welcomed the resumption of dialogue. ”We strongly urge all participants to the dialogue to negotiate in good faith and use this opportunity to finalize agreements on the formation of a National Unity Government and make arrangements for an unconditional ceasefire,” reads the statement. (ANSAmed)

Thursday, 14th April 2015

SYRIA – Western-backed fighters in southwestern Syria, the one part of the country where they are still strong, have spoken out against Al-Qaeda, a sign of friction that could lead to new fighting among opponents of President Bashar Assad. (DailyStar)

SYRIA – Militants from the Islamic State group have lost ground to Palestinian fighters in Syria’s Yarmuk camp, Palestinian officials and a resident said on Tuesday. IS fighters have retreated from much of the territory they seized in the camp in southern Damascus after entering it on 1 April, a resident using the pseudonym Samer told AFP. (MiddleEastEye)

SYRIA – U.N. confirms new push for Syria talks, Iran to be invited. The United Nations said on Tuesday that its Syria envoy planned to consult Syrian factions and interested countries on a new round of peace talks. (English.Alarabiya)

EGYPT – The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday imposed an arms embargo targeting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels who now control most of Yemenas battles in the south of the country intensified. Egypt said it and Saudi Arabia had discussed holding a “major military maneuver” in Saudi Arabia with other Gulf states, following talks on the progress of the three-week-old Saudi-led campaign of air strikes against the Houthis in Yemen. (Reuters)

EUROPE – The Group of Seven foreign ministers welcomed a framework nuclear agreement struck between six world powers and Iran but they urged Tehran to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog by verifying what nuclear activities it is involved in. (Reuters)

LIBYA – A UN envoy trying to broker a unity government in war-torn Libya condemned as “unacceptable” an airstrike Wednesday targeting militia near the capital. The strikes took place as a delegation in the ongoing peace talks was preparing to leave the country. “We have never seen airstrikes in the moment in which one of the delegations is taking off on its way to the talks,” Bernardino Leon, the UN special representative and head of the UN mission in Libya, told the Associated Press. (MiddleEastEye)

Wednesday, 15th April 2015

TURKEY – The European Parliament has approved by a show of hands a resolution that recognizes the Armenian genocide, pays homage to the victims and proposes the institution of a European Remembrance Day, deploring all attempts of denial. It also passed an amendment that ”praises the message” of Pope Francis. (ANSAmed)

Tuesday, 16th April

TUNISIA – Tunisian troops have captured a large arms cache including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and explosives, a security source said on Thursday, as the government struggles to keep track of jihadists after a bloody attack last month. (Reuters)

SYRIA – Members of the United Nations Security Council teared up on Thursday when Syrian doctors showed a video of failed attempts to resuscitate three children after a chlorine gas attack in March, prompting renewed calls for accountability. (Reuters)


Friday, 17thApril

SYRIA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Turkish military and logistical support was the main factor that helped insurgents to seize the northwestern city of Idlib from government control last month. (Reuters)

GREECE – Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, acknowledged that his country is seriously short of funds, while stressing that “Greece is not toying with the idea of Grexit”, Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. Greece hopes to reach an agreement with the Eurozone by the end of June, Varoufakis maintained during an address at Washington’s Brookings Institute. The minister added that he is ready to accept all conditions which “make sense”. Europe must admit that the programme has worsened Greek problems. According to Varoufakis, austerity policies result in Europe exporting the crisis to the rest of the world. (ANSAmed)

ITALY – An Italian fishing boat was seized by Libyan armed forces in the early hours of Friday some 30 miles from the Libyan coast, according to Giovanni Tumbiolo, the president of a Sicilian branch of fishing association COSVAP. The vessel had seven sailors aboard, three Italians from Sicily and four Tunisians. “The state of alarm has been at the maximum level since the Italian embassy (in Libya) was closed,” said Tumbiolo, who added that he had contacted the Libyan agriculture and fisheries minister. “We are worried but at the same time hopeful, because the Libyan people have always been close to the Sicilians”. (ANSAmed)

PALESTINE – Palestinian National Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, stressed that the lot of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails tops the agenda of the Ramallah Palestinian leadership and added that “the release of 6,000 prisoners” will take priority “in any agreement” with Israel. (ANSAmed)

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