Monday, 4th May 2015

ISRAEL – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Monday that he would not join the new government being formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the coalition was not sufficiently “nationalist”. (Reuters)

FRANCE – France and Saudi Arabia believe that any future deal between Iran and six major powers must ensure not to destabilize the region further and threaten Iran’s neighbors, the two countries said ahead of a summit in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Thursday, 5th May 2015

SYRIA – Syrian government forces are committing “crimes against humanity” by indiscriminately bombing Aleppo, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, as it also criticized rebels for abuses including “war crimes”. (Al Arabiya)

The UN children’s fund said on Tuesday it had delivered aid to families driven out of an embattled Palestinian refugee camp outside Syria’s capital into areas to which UNICEF has had no access for two years. Islamic State militants seized large parts of the devastated Yarmouk camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus last month and have been battling other armed groups inside, putting 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian residents at increased risk. (Reuters)

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations said on Tuesday it had launched its third major push in as many years to find common ground between the warring parties in Syria and for the first time said it hoped Syria’s armed opposition groups might come to Geneva. (Reuters)

LEBANON – Hezbollah’s leader said on Tuesday his Lebanon-based militant group will launch an attack inside Syria against al-Qaida-linked insurgents in the mountain region along the countries’ border. (The Jerusalem Post)

Hezbollah fighters and gunmen from Al-Qaeda’s Syria wing Nusra Front clashed on Tuesday in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, Hezbollah’s television channel and a military source in the Lebanese group said. (Arab News)

TURKEY – The Turkey’s electoral commission has rejected a complaint from the Kurdish opposition that accused President Tayyip Erdogan of breaching the constitution with speeches backing the ruling AK Party ahead of a June election. (Reuters)

FRANCE – France and Saudi Arabia believe that any future nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers must be robust, verifiable and no threat to Tehran’s neighbors, the two countries said ahead of a summit in Riyadh on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia invited French President Francois Hollande, whose country is deemed to have the toughest stance among the six world powers negotiating with Iran, to Riyadh to discuss regional issues with Gulf Arab leaders who fear a rapprochement with Tehran could further inflame the region. (Reuters)

ISRAEL – While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thunders against a possible nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, his defense chiefs see Tehran’s guerrilla allies as a more pressing menace. (Reuters)

 

Wednesday, 6th May 2015

TURKEY – The rejection by Turkey’s highest state-run body responsible for monitoring elections of an appeal by an opposition party to warn President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about violating the Constitution and electoral laws has dashed hopes about the fairness of the upcoming election, while casting doubt on the impartiality of the monitoring body. (Todays Zaman)

ISRAEL – Benjamin Netanyahu, locked in down-to-the-wire coalition talks, faces a midnight deadline to form a government or risk being denied a fourth term as Israel’s prime minister. Nearly two months after a convincing election victory, Netanyahu is struggling to build a solid parliamentary majority, with a former ally abandoning him this week. The key to his political future now lies with the ultranationalist Jewish Home party, which advocates annexation of parts of occupied territory Palestinians seek for a state. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed up his first partners on Wednesday for a new coalition government, a lawmaker and spokeswoman said, putting him on course to lead a heavily right-leaning cabinet. (Reuters)

EGYPT – Egypt’s president said that the country’s delayed parliamentary elections will take place before the end of 2015, according to a newspaper interview published Wednesday.(ABC News)

SYRIA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that troops would head to an insurgent-held town to help besieged soldiers holed up on its outskirts and said army setbacks were part of normal warfare. Last month Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, captured the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria’s Idlib province, edging closer to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast. (Reuters)

The United Nations has adopted a cautious approach to the Syria talks it launched this week, avoiding raising expectations that this latest initiative can end a four-year-old conflict, which has so far, defied all diplomatic efforts to resolve it. UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura says he wants to talk to diplomats, activists and political and military leaders to see if there is any new common ground since a roadmap for ending the war was declared in 2012. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday, 7th May

SYRIA – Syrian army bombing in the mountainous area along the border with Lebanon killed dozens of insurgents and helped regain hilly territory overlooking Hezbollah strongholds, the Lebanese group said on Thursday. (Reuters)

EGYPT – Libya’s Islamist government in Tripoli, not recognized by the international community, will deploy armed patrols around the areas that undocumented migrants leave for the Italian coast from. The measure is one of the five ‘‘steps’’ that the government in the western part of the country announced in a statement released on Wednesday that was reported to ANSA by Libyan sources on Thursday. (ANSAmed)

 

Friday, 8th May

GREECE – The gap between Greece and Europe seems to be getting smaller: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, said an agreement could be reached “within two weeks” and Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, warmed to the prospect of a restructuring of the debt, once an accord on the completion of the program is attained. Negotiations will proceed until the end of the weekend in the hope of making sufficient progress to allow Monday’s Eurogroup to formally attest the Greek effort, a step which could result in the ECB unblocking more liquidity, raising the bar for Hellenic emissions or reinstating the ‘waiver’ which entitles Frankfurt to offer direct loans to Greek Banks, a measure that was suspended in February. (ANSAmed)

SYRIA – The Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, has made advances in mountainous areas along Syria’s border with Lebanon, a Hezbollah official said on Friday. The push in the Qalamoun mountain range appeared to be preparation for a wider offensive in the border region previously announced by Hezbollah, the staunch Lebanese ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian state media said dozens of insurgents had been killed. (Reuters)

International inspectors have found traces of sarin and VX nerve agent at a military research site in Syria that had not been declared to the global chemical weapons watchdog, diplomatic sources said on Friday. Samples taken by experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition and Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in December and January tested positive for chemical precursors needed to make the toxic agents, the sources told Reuters on the condition of anonymity because the information is confidential. (Reuters)

LIBYA – European Union overseas coverage chief Federica Mogherini stated on Friday she had not given up hope of profitable backing from the United Nations Safety Council for worldwide intervention in Libya to assist cease the circulate of migrant boats. Mogherini has proposed sending European army groups to assist stabilize Libya if a ceasefire settlement might be agreed between the two rival governments that are at present struggling for energy in circumstances of close to anarchy. (Libya Today)