Armed groups from northern Mali are ready to launch peace talks with Bamako to put an end to the instability plaguing the region, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said Monday. His comments, at a meeting of foreign ministers from six Sahel countries, came after three armed movements from northern Mali announced in Algiers that they were ready to work for peace with the central government. "The conditions are increasingly ripe for progress towards peace," Lamamara said, adding that there was a "very clear desire among the senior leaders of the movements in northern Mali to work for peace." Algeria, which has a long porous border with Mali criss-crossed by jihadist movements, is helping to mediate in the conflict affecting its southern neighbour.
Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza has vetoed a bill that would have granted him and fellow lawmakers generous retirement perks following a public outcry, his spokesman said Monday. "The Head of State decided... that these laws should be sent back to parliament for reconsideration," presidential spokesman Edson Macuacua told AFP. Other perks included life-long retirement benefits for lawmakers -- even those who have served only a single five-year term. Despite rapid economic growth on the back of huge natural resource finds, Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world with the majority of people in the country living on less than a dollar a day.
The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear appeals by Argentina that sought to overturn a judgment requiring it to pay "vulture fund" investors in its defaulted bonds. The justices effectively upheld an August 2013 appeals court ruling that ordered Argentina to pay NML Capital and other creditors that had refused to participate in a restructuring deal for debt on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001. The court dismissed two challenges by Argentina. One was on whether it had to repay the hedge funds the full value of their bonds while repaying a much larger group of creditors -- those who participated in the restructuring -- much less.
US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday sounded the alarm on the perils facing the world's oceans, calling for a global strategy to save the planet's life-giving seas. "Let's develop a plan" to combat over-fishing, climate change and pollution, Kerry urged as he opened a ground-breaking two-day conference of world leaders, scientists and industry captains. In a major announcement, President Anote Tong of the low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati said despite concerns about the economic fallout all commercial fishing would be banned from January 2015 in the Phoenix Islands protected area. "Addressing the challenges of climate change, calls for very serious commitment and sacrifice," Tong told the conference.
U.S. officials may hold discussions with Iran about Iraq's security crisis on the sidelines of nuclear talks this week, but Washington will not coordinate potential military action in Iraq with its longtime adversary Tehran, the Pentagon said on Monday. "It’s possible that on the sidelines of those discussions there could be discussions surrounding the situation in Iraq," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said, referring to talks in Vienna this week between world powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. "But there is absolutely no intention and no plan to coordinate military activity between the United States and Iran ... there are no plans to have consultations with Iran about military activities in Iraq," he told reporters.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists. Kerry also says U.S. drone strikes "may well" be an option.
Hillary Clinton has told a German magazine the United States should follow Germany, where Angela Merkel is chancellor, and have a woman in charge. "We are way behind you in Germany on this," the former secretary of state told stern magazine in an interview to be published in its next edition on Wednesday. Clinton, a former senator and the wife of the former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is widely expected to run for the White House in 2016. Clinton, meanwhile, said she understood Germany's anger at revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had listened into Merkel's mobile phone as part of its large scale surveillance of electronic communications in Germany, America's close ally.
Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki's mishandling of security and perceived sidelining of Sunni Arabs set the stage for a major militant offensive, but factors such as Syria's civil war also played a role, experts say. Maliki's opponents accuse him of sectarian discrimination against the Sunni minority, centralising power and moving toward dictatorship, while the prime minister insists he is working to keep the country safe. "He's appointed every senior officer in the military currently serving, so issues like illegal arrests, torture, extraction of bribes to free detainees, etc. I'd lay at Maliki's feet," said Kirk Sowell, a political risk analyst and publisher of the Inside Iraqi Politics newsletter. Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, agreed.
Tunisia's electoral commission on Monday proposed holding long-planned parliamentary elections in October and a presidential poll in November after the political parties agreed a deal following months of negotiations. "The draft timetable that we have presented (proposes) legislative elections on October 26, the first round of the presidential election on November 23, and the second round on December 28," the commission's chairman, Chafik Sarsar, told journalists. He was speaking after meeting National Assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar. Sarsar hailed the breakthrough in negotiations between the political parties, which allowed for an agreement on Friday between the Islamist Ennahda party and its opponents, on holding the parliamentary election first.
Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) - At least 15 people were killed when suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed a market in northern Nigeria late on Sunday, witnesses and a security source said. "Sunday is normally a market day and people from neighbouring villages had gathered at the local market in Daku when the insurgents laid siege," said grocery seller Laraba Simon. "Scores of people escaped with bullet wounds while dozens of shops, stalls, houses, vehicles, motorcycles and assorted foodstuff were set ablaze by the rampaging attackers." Laraba said the insurgents "surrounded the village with sophisticated weapons and petrol bombs".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday telephoned Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and said he expected him to help ensure the safe return of three kidnapped teenagers, a statement said. Abbas's office also issued a statement condemning both the kidnapping of the three youths and the results of a massive Israeli crackdown to find the perpetrators. "I expect you to help in the return of the kidnapped youths and the capture of the kidnappers," Netanyahu told the Palestinian leader. It was their first telephone conversation in nearly a year, and came as Israeli forces conducted the biggest arrest operation in years, focusing predominantly on the Islamist Hamas movement which Netanyahu has accused of kidnapping the three youths in the southern West Bank.