Sue Pleming

Rice tries to close gap in Israeli-Palestinian talks

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders this weekend to craft a joint document ahead of a peace conference but she has intentionally set expectations low. US officials expect Rice's visit will result in a document filled with principles to kick off negotiations on a Palestinian state.

US slaps new sanctions on Iran’s military

Ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran, the United States on Thursday designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a proliferater of weapons of mass destruction and its elite Qods force a supporter of terrorism. In total, Washington slapped sanctions on more than 20 Iranian companies, major banks and individuals as well as the Defence Ministry.

Pakistan urges more US patience over tribal areas

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan on Wednesday urged the United States to be more patient as his country fights extremists in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Khan acknowledged his country suffered an ''image problem'' but said there needed to be a greater understanding of the enormous challenges.

US looks to improved ties with Libya

Washington is seeking closer ties with Libya now that the Bulgarian medics case is resolved and the first tangible sign is a likely visit this year by top diplomat Condoleezza Rice. There are also other expected plans to boost cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries while increasing business links.

More US sanctions for Mugabe

The United States is looking at deepening sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his supporters but will continue to provide humanitarian aid, a senior US official said on Wednesday. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Fraser also urged South Africa to push for concrete results.

Rice summit ends with little sign of progress

Israeli-Palestinian talks hosted by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended on Monday with a vague promise to meet again and little sign of progress on reviving long-stalled peace moves. The talks, attended by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, were overshadowed by a Palestinian unity deal that calmed factional fighting.

Abbas: Unity talks with Hamas at ‘dead end’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after meeting United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a new push for Middle East peace, said on Thursday that talks on a unity government with Hamas had reached a ''dead end''. The US wants to strengthen Abbas, a moderate who has been caught in a power struggle with the Hamas Islamist group.

North Korea defiant as Rice starts Asian tour

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought on Wednesday on a whistle-stop tour of the region to ensure North Asian powers were committed to a unified stance on United Nations sanctions following North Korea's nuclear test. Rice arrived in Tokyo for talks with the Japanese foreign and defence ministers as intelligence experts warned a second nuclear test was likely.

Major powers to discuss Iran sanctions next week

Major powers will begin discussing an Iran sanctions resolution at a meeting in Europe next week if Tehran continues to defy a United Nations Security Council demand to halt uranium enrichment, the United States State Department said on Wednesday. But Iranian President Mohammad Ahmadinejad remained unmoved, telling state media: ''Sanctions cannot discourage people from making progress.''

Israel allows for aid as it pursues war

Israel agreed on Tuesday to allow aid airlifts to Lebanon but said it was determined to pursue a war against Hezbollah that key ally the United States has sanctioned. After meeting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said both agreed that disarming Hezbollah and deploying an international force were key to resolving the two-week-old crisis.

Blair hopeful of Israel-Lebanon ceasefire

The United Kingdom hopes a peace plan for Lebanon can emerge within days that could lead to a cessation of hostilities, Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Monday. But he said details need to be worked out for an international force before a ceasefire could be declared that would hold on both sides.

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