John Kerry and William Hague discuss Syria (Getty)
It’s comforting to see that there is a flurry of diplomacy on Syria. But it not the Geneva peace conference sponsored by the US and Russia that had been expected this month. The conference plan has run into a few problems, including that the regime’s gains on the ground have made it even less likely that Bashar al-Assad would hand over power to a transitional government, which is supposed to be the basis of peace negotiations. There’s now talk that the conference could take place in early July, starting just before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Or it might be delayed until the end of the summer. Or it might never happen. Read more
Nicole Bricq (Getty)
Nicole Bricq, France’s trade minister, appeared to be relishing the role of holding out for the “l’exception culturelle” when she hosted a group of journalists in Paris on Thursday morning, a day before she was due to meet of her EU colleagues in Luxembourg to discuss terms for opening trade talks with the US.
“France’s position has not changed today and I don’t believe it will change tomorrow. We’ll say no. There will be a political blockage, a veto if you want to call it that,” she declared.
She added: “I cannot imagine that engagement in an accord of this importance can go ahead without the support of France. Without France a thing like this has no chance of success.” Read more
By Aranya Jain
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♦ What Mandela’s legacy can leave behind – Roy Isacowitz argues that Israel should emulate Mandela to pursue peace but that it will not do so. Read more