- - Sunday, November 4, 2012

BERLIN — Germany’s foreign minister has called for a fresh effort to restart stalled talks on Turkey joining the European Union.

Guido Westerwelle said it is in the interest of both the European Union and Turkey to give the talks a “new push” in 2013.

Mr. Westerwelle spoke at the recent opening of Turkey’s new embassy in Berlin, the Muslim-majority country’s biggest diplomatic presence abroad. About 3 million Turks live in Germany.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not mention his nation’s 25-year effort to join the EU in his speech at the opening ceremony.

Earlier this month, Mr. Erdogan’s government slammed an EU report that was scathing about Turkey’s imprisonment of journalists and growing restrictions on freedom of speech.


Storm floods chamber of Security Council

Superstorm Sandy caused serious water damage to the U.N. Security Council chamber, forcing it to move to a temporary base for a special meeting last week, diplomats said.

The 15-nation council hurriedly called a meeting to pass an emergency resolution extending the mandate of the African-U.N. peacekeeping mission in Somalia for seven days.

The Security Council chamber is in the basement of the U.N. headquarters overlooking the East River, which spilled over into Manhattan during the storm.

There is “some water damage to the basement,” said a U.N. spokesman, but the United Nations gave no other details.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the damage to the underground floors is understood to be “quite bad.”

Palestinian Territories

Foreign minister reveals new push for U.N. status

RAMALLAH — Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki says Nov. 15 or 29 are possible dates for submission of a Palestinian bid to seek upgraded U.N. status.

“It is still premature to give a specific date,” Mr. Malki told the official Voice of Palestine radio last week, saying that consultations with regional groups at the United Nations need to be completed before the resolution on obtaining the rank of a nonmember state can be drafted.

“There were many proposals of a specific date that could have a symbolic implication, including November 15, the anniversary of the national independence declaration, and November 29, the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People,” he said.

Nov. 15, 1988, was the date on which the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat issued the declaration of independence during a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Algiers.

At the same session, the PNC endorsed a two-state solution with independent Israeli and Palestinian states coexisting alongside each other.

In September 2011, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a high-profile bid at the U.N. General Assembly for full-member status, which stalled before it was put to a vote in the Security Council, where the United States had pledged to use its veto power.


Ex-diplomat denied bail in murder case

NAIROBI — A Kenyan court has denied bail for a former Venezuelan diplomat charged with murder.

High Court Judge Nicholas Ombija ruled last week that Dwight Sagaray was a flight risk. Mr. Sagaray, first secretary at the Venezuelan Embassy, is charged with the July murder of acting Venezuelan Ambassador Olga Fonseca. He has pleaded not guilty.

Venezuelan officials previously agreed to waive Mr. Sagaray’s diplomatic immunity so he could be charged. Mr. Sagaray plans to challenge that decision at a hearing Nov. 12. The trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 15.

Ms. Fonseca was found strangled in the embassy’s official residence on July 27. She had reported to Kenya on July 15 to replace former Ambassador Gerardo Carillo Silva.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



Click to Read More

Click to Hide