June 15th – 19th

Monday, 15th June 2015

GREECE – Talks aimed at reaching an 11th-hour deal between Greek ministers and their bailout creditors collapsed on Sunday evening after a new economic reform proposal submitted by Athens was deemed inadequate to continue negotiations. The breakdown is the clearest sign yet that differences between the two sides may be too wide to breach, increasing the possibility that Athens will not secure the €7.2bn in bailout aid it needs to avoid defaulting on its debts – including a €1.5bn loan repayment due to the International Monetary Fund in just two weeks. (Financial Times)

LIBYA – The United States carried out an airstrike in Libya early Sunday against the mastermind of the 2013 terrorist seizure of an Algerian gas plant that left 38 foreign hostages dead, American and Libyan officials said on Sunday. (The New York Times)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANT CRISIS – Italy and France engaged in a war of words Monday as a standoff over 250 Africans stuck at their common border exposed divisions over Europe’s migrant crisis. Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano described images of migrants perched on rocks at the border town of Ventimiglia after being refused entry to France as a “punch in the face for Europe”. (Arab News)

Tuesday, 16th June 2015

ISLAMIC STATE CRISIS – A coalition of Kurdish militias and Arab rebels stormed into a strategic Syrian town on the Turkey border on Monday, seizing most of it from Islamic State fighters who had long used the area to smuggle supplies and fighters into their self-declared caliphate, according to Kurdish militia leaders and activists. (The New York Times)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANT CRISIS – As Italy threatened to let tens of thousands of migrants loose across the European Union, interior ministers attempted to hammer out a compromise deal to tackle the growing refugee crisis, agreeing a plan for EU-managed “hotspots” in Italy and Greece where migrants would be held and processed. (The Independent)

YEMEN – The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, warned that Yemen was a “ticking bomb”, as efforts to start talks aimed at achieving at least a cease-fire in the country were further delayed on Monday. (The New York Times)


Wednesday, 17th June 2015

EGYPT – An Egyptian judge on Tuesday confirmed that former president Mohamed Morsi will face death by hanging, charged with orchestrating a prison break in the dying days of his predecessor’s rule. (The Telegraph)

IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS – Secretary of State John Kerry signaled for the first time on Tuesday that the United States was prepared to ease economic sanctions on Iran without fully resolving evidence suggesting that Iran’s scientists have been involved in secret work on nuclear weapons. (The New York Times)

PALESTINE – President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority told leaders of his political party on Tuesday that the government he formed a year ago after signing a reconciliation pact with the rival Hamas movement would resign within 24 hours, according to a senior Palestinian official and local news reports. (The New York Times)


Thursday, 18th June 2015

HUNGARY – Hungary has unveiled plans to erect a fence along its border with Serbia as part of a controversial anti-immigration drive, saying it “cannot afford to wait any longer” for the European Union to come up with a solution to the migration crisis. (The Telegraph)

ISLAMIC STATE CRISIS – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Tehran’s support was essential in the war against Islamic State, according to Mr. Abadi’s official website. The two Shiite leaders, who met in Tehran on Wednesday, discussed their cooperation in the fight against the extremist group. (The Wall Street Journal)

RUSSIA CRISIS – EU member states have agreed in principle to extend economic sanctions against Russia by six months over the Ukraine conflict, EU officials say. The sanctions, which expire on 31 July, are not expected to change in content. (BBC)


Friday, 19th June 2015

LIBYA – Libya’s army is on the verge of retaking a crucial Islamic State stronghold after a popular uprising against the jihadist group. Troops loyal to the internationally recognized government have taken towns around Derna, a coastal city held by Isis since residents pledged allegiance to the “caliphate” last October. (The Times)

MEDITERRANEAN MIGRANT CRISIS – Nearly 60 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, an unprecedented global exodus that has burdened fragile countries with waves of newcomers and littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety. (The New York Times)

TUNISIA – Tunisia’s government has decided to close its consular operations in Libya’s capital Tripoli after gunmen stormed its consulate a week ago and kidnapped 10 staff, Foreign Minister Taieb Bakouch told reporters on Friday. (Reuters)

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