Obama, during a wide-ranging press conference in Peru on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, criticized Iran and Russia’s role in Syria’s brutal civil war. He also said he was “not optimistic” about the immediate future of Syria, where government forces backed by Russian warplanes have been bombarding rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo. The president said once Russia and Iran backed the Syrian government, it was “very hard to see a way in which even a trained and committed moderate opposition could hold its ground.”
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed met, on Wednesday in Paris, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. In a statement to TAP, the French FM said that during the meeting they discussed the ways to provide the conditions for success of the International Conference on Investment “Tunisia 2020” scheduled for November 29 and 30. Emphasis was also placed on security co-operation between the two countries and the means and mechanisms that should be put in place to encourage the rapid return of French tourists to Tunisia. “France is actively encouraging tourists to visit Tunisia,” he said, adding that whoever believes in the Tunisian democracy should not hesitate to visit this country. Jean-Marc Ayrault also stressed that France is already very committed to Tunisia through the mobilisation of a EUR 1 billion fund over five years and contributes significantly to the doubling of European financial support to Tunisia.
Palestinians on Monday welcomed a French plan to hold an international conference on the two-state solution in Paris at the end of December. In Jerusalem PM Netanyahu called on Abbas to immediately hold direct negotiations with him. Abbas has persistently rejected such calls, stating that Israel must halt all settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem before such talks could be held. Israel on Monday warned France that their plan only emboldens Abbas to continue to refuse to negotiate. Israel is committed to the peace process, but believe that a final status agreement with the Palestinians can only be reached through direct talks.
In the presence of professionals, scholars and activists, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi yesterday spoke at a conference sponsored by the Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine which was held at the Oslo and Akershus University College in Oslo, Norway. She called for immediate international intervention to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people, their land and resources and the urgent need for governments worldwide to recognize Palestine in the immediate future.