Middle East News

  • French PM rejects permanent quota system for refugees

    By Andreas Rinke and Tatiana Jancarikova MUNICH/BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls rejected on Saturday the idea of a permanent quota system for distributing refugees across Europe, putting Paris at odds with Germany ahead of a summit to discuss the EU crisis over migration.…

    Reuters
  • 'Finally': Pope meets Russian Orthodox leader

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — With an exclamation of "Finally," Pope Francis embraced Patriarch Kirill on Friday in the first meeting between a pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a brief but historic encounter held during a stopover in Cuba before the pope flew on to Mexico.

    Associated Press
  • After 1,000-year split, pope and Russian patriarch embrace in Cuba

    By Philip Pullella and Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill embraced and kissed on Friday in a historic meeting, uniting to issue a global appeal for the protection of Christians under assault in the Middle East. Nearly 1,000 years after the Eastern…

    Reuters
  • Russia keeps bombing despite Syria truce; Assad vows to fight on

    By John Irish and Warren Strobel MUNICH/AMMAN (Reuters) - Major powers agreed on Friday to a pause in combat in Syria, but Russia pressed on with bombing in support of its ally President Bashar al-Assad, who vowed to fight until he regained full control of the country. Although billed as a…

    Reuters
  • Historic pope-patriarch declaration: key points

    Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday held the first meeting in nearly a millennium between heads of their two branches of the Christian church. "Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable.

    AFP
  • Pope, patriarch urge Christian unity at historic talks

    Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill called in a historic meeting Friday for restored Christian unity and urgent action to help Christians threatened by violence in the Middle East. "In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our…

    AFP
  • Pope, Russian Orthodox chief say Christians being 'exterminated'

    HAVANA (Reuters) - Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday called on the international community to protect Christians under assault in the Middle East in apparent reference to violence by the militant group Islamic State. "In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa…

    Reuters
  • Israel says freeze on EU peace role is over

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the EU foreign policy chief held talks Friday, in effect ending a freeze on talks with the bloc on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the foreign ministry said. Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told journalists that the EU's Federica Mogherini said the…

    AFP
  • Iran can work with Saudis on Syria, IS: foreign minister

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday that he believes his country could work with regional rival Saudi Arabia on the Syrian conflict and common threats such as the Islamic State group. "We believe there is nothing in our region that would exclude Iran and Saudi working…

    AFP
  • Those Valentine's Day flowers might just be from Kenya

    NYAHURURU, Kenya (AP) — This Valentine's Day, there's a good chance your flowers came from Kenya.

    Associated Press
  • Iran says ready to put rivalries aside with Saudi Arabia

    By Robin Emmott and Noah Barkin MUNICH (Reuters) - Iran and Saudi Arabia must overcome strained relations and work for stability in Syria and the Middle East, Iran's foreign minister said on Friday, a day after Syrian peace talks brought the rivals to the same table for the first time in months. …

    Reuters
  • Transcript of exclusive AFP interview with Syria's Assad

    Damascus (AFP) - In the following AFP interview with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, the questions were asked in French and he replied in Arabic.

    AFP
  • AFP EXCLUSIVE: Assad vows to retake Syria, amid new ceasefire push

    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to retake the entire country but warned it could take a "long time," in an exclusive interview with AFP as international pressure grows for a ceasefire. Speaking at his office in Damascus, hours before a new ceasefire plan was announced early Friday by…

    AFP
  • Plans to move up to 1,000 from French migrant camp

    Local French government authorities said Friday they want to move up to 1,000 migrants living in the notorious "Jungle" camp in the port town of Calais. The presence of thousands of migrants in the camp who are desperately trying to reach Britain has become a political hot potato both within…

    AFP
  • The Latest: Official: Half of Calais camp to be evacuated

    SID, Serbia (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):

    Associated Press
  • Iran rules "decadent" Valentine's Day celebrations a crime

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it is cracking down on Valentine's Day celebrations and shops engaging in them will be guilty of a crime.

    Associated Press
  • Britain's Independent daily drops print edition

    The Independent will publish its final print edition next month and become digital only, its owners said on Friday, in the latest shake-up for British newspapers hit by falling advertising revenues. The last Independent on Sunday will be on March 20. ESI Media, the group which controls The…

    AFP
  • France to evict almost 1,000 migrants from 'jungle' near Calais

    France plans to close part of a camp for migrants near Calais on its northern Channel coast within a week, forcing almost 1,000 people to leave, officials said on Friday. Thousands of people fleeing poverty and war have converged at a camp near Calais called the "jungle" over the past year in…

    Reuters