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Afghan president names team for Taliban peace talks

GENEVA: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday announced a 12-person team for prospective peace talks with the Taliban, as his government pledged unwavering commitment to resolve the conflict despite persistent bloodshed. The Afghan government, Western diplomats and United Nations officials have in recent weeks raised hopes of finally reaching a deal to end the Taliban's 17-year insurgency. Such optimism has been tempered by continuing attacks, including a massive blast outside a British security company's…

Trump says he wants two-state solution for Middle East conflict

UNITED NATIONS: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he wanted a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the clearest expression yet of his administration’s support for such an outcome. The Trump administration has said in the past it would support a two-state solution if both sides agreed to it. Trump also said in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly he wanted to unveil a peace plan in the next two to three months. “I like a…

Climate change aggravates global hunger: UN

PARIS: Hunger is on the increase across the globe once again after a decade of declines, a UN report said on Friday, thanks in part to climate change aggravating severe weather and conflicts.  The slowdown in global growth in recent years, which led to a collapse in the prices of numerous commodities, also had a negative impact on the ability of people in many countries to feed themselves, it said. Some 815 million people, or 11 percent of the world's population, were chronically undernourished in 2016, according to…

Trump says ‘major, major’ conflict with North Korea possible

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute. "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday. Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path…

10 key developments in the Syria conflict

BEIRUT, Lebanon: From the bloody repression of pro-democracy demonstrations to the rise of militants and intervention by regional and world powers, here are 10 key developments in Syria's devastating civil war. More than 320,000 people have died in the six-year conflict, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Millions more have fled their homes, with many seeking refuge abroad. Revolt and repression March 15, 2011: Unprecedented protests break out, demanding civil liberties and freedom for political…

Indian Ocean should play role for peace, not conflict: Sartaj Aziz

KARACHI: Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said that nuclearisation and militarisation of the Indian Ocean poses a grave threat to the regional peace and security. The advisor addressing the opening session of seventh international maritime conference said that it needs to be questioned whether the Indian Ocean in the upcoming years till 2030 will place a role of conflict and rivalry, or a role of peace and progress. “The Indian Ocean needs to have a mechanism for timely exchange of information,…

China, United States cannot afford conflict: Chinese foreign minister

SYDNEY: There would be no winner from conflict between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned on Tuesday, seeking to dampen tension between the two nations that flared after the election of US President Donald Trump. Relations between China and United States have soured after Trump upset Beijing in December by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports. China considers Taiwan a wayward province, with no right to formal…

Two-state solution between Palestinians, Israelis could resolve conflict: Paris summit

PARIS: Some 70 countries on Sunday reaffirmed that only a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians could resolve the conflict and warned that they would not recognize any unilateral steps taken by either side that could prejudge negotiations. The final communique of a Middle East peace conference held in Paris on Sunday shied away explicitly from criticizing plans by US president-elect Donald Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, but said a new conference would be held by year-end for interested parties.…

China warns Trump against ignoring its Taiwan interests

BEIJING: China expressed "serious concern" on Monday after US President-elect Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-held stance that Taiwan is part of "one China", calling it the basis for relations. Trump's comments on "Fox News Sunday", questioning nearly four decades of US policy, came after he prompted a diplomatic protest from China over his decision to accept a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2. China's Foreign Ministry said cooperation was…

Conflict over Russia is rocky start for Trump and intelligence agencies

WASHINGTON: President-elect Donald Trump's rejection this weekend of US intelligence analysts' conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help him win the White House is the latest in a string of conflicts between Trump and the intelligence community he will command. Most of them involve Russia, which has grown increasingly aggressive - according to what U.S. intelligence agencies have told Congress and the administration of President Barack Obama - in Syria and Ukraine. The agencies also reported that…