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  • Turkish op in Syria should be proportionate to announced goals – Russia’s UN envoy

    Moscow is aware of Turkey’s concern but urges Ankara to balance its operation in Syria against the announced goals, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said after a closed-door session of the UN Security Council.

    The session was convened at the request of five European countries.

    “We understand Turkish national security concerns, but we believe that the operation that they are conducting should be proportionate to the aims that they declared,” TASS quoted Nebenzia as saying on Wednesday.

    Ankara launched an offensive in north Syria, dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring,’ on October 9, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units.

  • Iran, Saudis ‘willing to pursue diplomacy,’ Pakistan says after PM Khan’s trips

    Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Iran and Saudi Arabia have indicated a willingness to pursue diplomacy to end their disputes after Pakistan’s prime minister traveled to both countries. Tensions between the rival Middle Eastern states escalated following last month’s attack on the Saudi oil industry.

    Qureshi said on Wednesday that both the Saudi and Iranian leadership indicated a willingness to talk after meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who traveled to Iran on Sunday and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, AP reported.

    Khan’s mediation efforts come after Washington blamed the September 14 attack on Saudi oil fields on Iran, a charge which Tehran denies. The attack halved the kingdom’s oil production.

    Since then, Khan has attempted to play the role of facilitator to arrange talks between Riyadh and Tehran.

  • New European Commission to take office in December, vote on von der Leyen’s team delayed

    Ursula von der Leyen will have to wait a bit longer before she takes over as the next European Commission president after the European Parliament delayed a vote on the appointment of her team, AP said.

    The EU’s executive arm, which proposes laws and ensures they are implemented throughout the bloc, was initially scheduled to take office November 1, but European lawmakers rejected three proposed candidates, delaying the whole process.

    European Parliament president David Sassoli and the chairmen of the various political groups met Wednesday and decided not to include the vote of investiture in the agenda for next week’s plenary session.

    Lawmakers are now “willing to vote on time to allow new Commission to start 1st December,” and ask for the “rapid appointment of the new 3 commissioners-designate,” parliament spokesman Jaume Duch tweeted. The delay will allow France, Romania, and Hungary to finalize their candidates after their initial choices were dismissed.

  • Hungary to ‘use force’ to fend off new wave of migrants if Turkey delivers on threat – PM

    Hungary would have to “use force” at its southern border with Serbia to protect the EU’s frontier if Turkey delivers on a threat to open the gates for refugees through the Balkans towards Europe, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

    “If Turkey sets off further hundreds of thousands on top of (existing migrant flows), then we will need to use force to protect the Hungarian border and the Serbian-Hungarian frontier,” Reuters quoted Orban as saying. “I do not wish for anyone that we should need to resort to that.”

    Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said earlier this month that the EU should have a dialogue with Turkey despite Ankara’s offensive on Kurdish-led forces in Syria, in order to avoid a fresh wave of migrants coming to Europe.

  • Germany won’t deliver any weapons to Turkey – Merkel

    Germany will not deliver any weapons to Turkey under current circumstances, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. She added that she had urged Turkey several times to end its military operation in northern Syria, Reuters reports.

    “In recent days I have strongly urged Turkey… to end its military operation against the Kurdish military and I’m stressing that again now,” Merkel told Germany’s lower house of parliament.

    “It’s a humanitarian drama with huge geopolitical effects so Germany will not deliver any weapons to Turkey under the current conditions,” she added.

  • N. Ireland’s DUP ‘cannot support’ Brexit deal proposed by Johnson, EU

    Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said on Thursday it could not support the Brexit deal being proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union, Reuters reports.

    “As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds said.

    “We will continue to work with the government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” the statement added.