DIPLOMACY

a Saudi-led bloc ammends demands to end Qatar crisis
The four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar are no longer insisting it comply with a list of 13 specific demands they tabled last month, BBC report. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted it to accept six broad principles. These include commitments to combat terrorism and extremism and to end acts of..
a Russia and China urge North Korea to stop missile test
Russia and China have urged North Korea to "freeze" its missile and nuclear programmes after it claimed to have successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, BBC report. Both countries also called for a simultaneous suspension of US-South Korea large-scale military exercises. North Korea said its missile could hit anywhere in the world. But while Pyongyang appears to..
a China tells US not to interfere over jailed Xiaobo
Beijing has hit back at Washington for "irresponsible remarks" after the US criticised its treatment of Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, according to BBC. The political activist, who is serving an 11 year term on subversion charges for calling for greater democracy, has been moved to hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. His wife Liu Xia, who is under house..
a Nepal-China review status of bilateral relations
The 11th meeting of Joint Consultation Mechanism between Nepal and China assessed the progress made in the implementation of agreements/MoUs reached between the two sides in the past, THT report. During the meeting held at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, the two sides expressed commitment to further promote cooperation in mutually agreed areas. Both sides also agreed to work in realisation of..
a Panama cuts ties with Taiwan
Panama has cut long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with China, in a diplomatic coup for Beijing, BBC report. The Panamanian government said it recognised there was "only one China" and considered Taiwan part of it. Taiwan expressed "anger and regret", and accused Panama of "bullying". China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province. A few countries maintain..
a Saudi, UAE, Israel team up in anti-Qatar lobbying
US legislation threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of "Palestinian terror" was sponsored by 10 lawmakers who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera report. The bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 25, but the text wasn't available until Friday morning,..
a Kuwait to mediate between Qatar and other nations
Kuwait's ruler travelled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with King Salman over a Gulf Arab dispute with Qatar, Gulf Arab officials said, Al Jazeera report. Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, is acting as a mediator between Doha and other Arab states which have severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain..
a Macron meets Putin in Paris
French President Emmanuel Macron says he held a "frank exchange" with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in their first face-to-face talks, BBC report. The pair discussed "disagreements" in the meeting, held at the sumptuous Versailles palace. But Mr Macron said he wanted to work with Russia over Syria in the struggle against terrorism. Meanwhile, Mr Putin said he wanted to strengthen..
a US President Trump reaches Israel
US President Donald Trump is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, as he continues his Middle East trip, BBC report. He flies in from Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, where he gave a speech to Arab and Muslim leaders at a summit. Mr Trump will hold talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the course of his two-day stop. The president has called an Israeli-Palestinian..
a Wikileaks founder Assange defiant as Sweden drops rape investigation
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said he will not forgive and forget attempts to arrest him over rape allegations which led him to seek asylum in Ecuador's London embassy, BBC report. In an angry tweet, Mr Assange said he had been detained for seven years "without charge" while his children grew up and his "name was slandered". Sweden said on Friday it had decided to drop the rape..
a Germany not in haste mood to add troops in Afghanistan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she does not believe Germany is "first in line" to send more troops to Afghanistan, as NATO considers a proposal to boost forces there, according to Al Jazeera. "I don't think we're first in line to expand our capacities there," Merkel said after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday. She said Germany will continue to..
a ‘I love Australia’, Trump says
Donald Trump called his relationship with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "fantastic" following a meeting in New York, BBC report. It is their first encounter since an acrimonious phone call in February. "We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have," the AFP news agency quoted Mr Trump as saying. Protesters also gathered in Mr Trump's..
a Trump and Putin seek for Syria ceasefire
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to press for a ceasefire to halt the war in Syria, BBC report. The two spoke by telephone for the first time since the US launched air strikes against Syria nearly a month ago, straining relations. White House and Kremlin statements suggested a productive conversation. Other topics discussed included North Korea and..
a China deports US ‘spy’
An American businesswoman convicted of spying by China is back in the US, after a Chinese court ordered her deportation, BBC report. Sandy Phan-Gillis was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Tuesday, but will not serve the time. She had already spent more than two years in detention before her trial. Phan-Gillis, who has Chinese origins but was born in Vietnam, was arrested in..
a US open to negotiations with North Korea
The US is open to negotiations with North Korea aimed at removing nuclear weapons from the region, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said, according to BBC. But he said the US would use military force if necessary. The foreign minister of China, North Korea's greatest ally, said a peaceful settlement was the "only right choice". Mr Tillerson told a UN Security Council meeting that the..
a Trump praises China over handling of North Korea
Donald Trump has praised China's President Xi Jinping for his handling of North Korea, calling him "a very good man" who loves his country, BBC report. The US president told Reuters he would like to solve the crisis diplomatically but that it was "difficult" and a "major, major conflict" was possible. He also said it had been "very hard" for Kim Jong-un to take over North Korea at such a..
a German chancellor warns UK on Brexit illusion
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says some British people have "illusions" about discussing the UK's future ties with the EU at the same time as nailing down the UK's Brexit terms, BBC report. The future relationship can only be discussed once the exit issues - such as UK payments to the EU budget - are resolved, she told German MPs. On the sequence of the Brexit talks, she said "some people..
a Israel’s PM cancels talks with Germany’s foreign minister
Israel's prime minister has cancelled talks with Germany's foreign minister after he refused to call off a meeting with Israeli human rights activists, BBC report. Sigmar Gabriel had been due to meet Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Mr Netanyahu had warned he would not see Mr Gabriel if he met the groups Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem. Mr Netanyahu has accused the groups of trying to..
a Trump congratulates Erdogan over referendum victory
Donald Trump has congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory in Sunday's referendum that gave him sweeping new powers, BBC report. The US president's phone call contrasts with European concern that the result - 51.4% in favour of the changes - has exposed deep splits in Turkish society. Mr Erdogan has rejected criticism from international monitors who said he had..
a Trump reverses course in 24 hours from Nato to China
US President Donald Trump has reversed course in the space of 24 hours on an array of populist positions he adopted during the election campaign, BBC report. He declared Nato was "no longer obsolete" and dropped his pledge to declare China a currency manipulator. Mr Trump also said he was no longer opposed to a federal exports agency he once dismissed as "unnecessary". And the president..