Monday 2nd March 2015

LIBYALibya’s elected parliament agreed on Monday to return to U.N.-sponsored peace negotiations one week after pulling out and a delegate from its rival assembly said the talks would resume on Thursday. (Reuters)

IRAQ –  Iraq’s armed forces, backed by Shi’ite militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad on Monday as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin.(Reuters)

EGYPTEgypt’s President Abdel Fatteh el Sisi met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in Riyadh on Sunday for the pair’s first in-depth talks on regional issues at a time of unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East. The meeting was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties, as well as discussing the crises in the Middle East and addressing security in the Red Sea in light of growing political chaos in Yemen. (Reuters)

Tuesday, 3rd March 2015

GREECEGreece’s government submitted a bill to offer free food and electricity to thousands of poverty-stricken Greeks as its first legislative act in parliament, in a symbolic move to address what it calls a “humanitarian crisis”. (Reuters)

EGYPTAfter the Constitutional Court ruled a law regulating voting districts unconstitutional, an administrative court officially suspended on Tuesday the holding of parliamentary elections scheduled for this month, state-run television announced. (ANSAmed)

ISRAEL – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States that it was negotiating a bad deal with Iran that could spark a “nuclear nightmare,” drawing a rebuke from President Barack Obama and exposing a deepening U.S.-Israeli rift. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, 4th March 2015

LIBYA – Libya has sought permission from the United Nations to import 150 tanks, two dozen fighter jets, seven attack helicopters, tens of thousands of assault rifles and grenade launchers and millions of rounds of ammunition from Ukraine, Serbia and Czech Republic. (Reuters)

PALESTINE – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “gangsterism” on Wednesday over its decision to withhold the transfer of more than $100 million a month in tax revenues it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. (Reuters)

SYRIALeaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, sources said. Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding. (Reuters)

 

Thursday, 5th March 2015

IRAN – Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday suggested that a 10-year moratorium on some aspects of the country’s nuclear program might be acceptable to Tehran, though he declined to discuss the issue in detail. U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters on Monday that Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached between Tehran and six world powers. (Reuters)

TURKEY – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmeyt Davutoglu said Turkey will not directly participate in the upcoming Mosul offensive against Isis but will support it, Turkish news reported. (ANSAmed)

ISRAELIsrael will start buying some fruit and vegetables from the Gaza Strip next week, a partial resumption of imports halted when the Islamist group Hamas took over the Palestinian territory in 2007, Israeli officials said. (Reuters)

 

Friday, 6th March 2015

EUROPEAN UNION – The European Union is ready to step up sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, but its priority is to bolster a fragile ceasefire agreed in Minsk, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday. (Reuters)

PALESTINE –The PLO central council has decided to stop all coordination activities on security with Israel. The decision, taken so far as a ‘recommendation’ to the Palestinian National Authority of President Abu Mazen, followed a two-day meeting focusing on strategies to confront a stalling peace process amid a climate of increasing tension. The move – which appears to question one of the key points of the Oslo accords in the 1990s – was motivated with the ”systematic violation” by Israel of its ”obligations in relation to the agreements signed”, as well as in response to the ”military raids in the state of Palestine and attacks against civilians and (private) properties”. (ANSAmed)

SYRIAA blast targeting senior members of al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, killed the group’s General Military Commander Abu Humam al-Shami. (Reuters)