Thursday, March 18, 2010

FP morning post 3/18

Clinton to talk Mideast and missiles in Moscow

Top story: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Moscow for two days of talks, a little more than a year after famously presenting her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov with a "reset button" meant to symbolize improved ties. The occasion for the visit is a summit of the "quartet" of Mideast peacemakers, which also includes the United Nations and European Union. The meeting was intended to lend support to a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but those talks fell apart last week, before they even began.

Also on the agenda are the negotiations to create a successor to the 1991 START nuclear arms reduction treaty. The United States and Russia pledged to cut their nuclear arsenals by at least 1,500 warheads last year and negotiators have been working for nearly a year on a new treaty. Both sides say they want an agreement in the next few months but in recent weeks, progress has been held up by renewed Russian objections to the U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe.

Clinton meets with Lavrov today and President Dmitry Medvedev tomorrow. She's not expected to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on this trip.

Big parade: For the first time, U.S., British, and French troops will participate in Victory Day celebrations on Red Square this year, making the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

  • Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says he's ready to hold talks with the red-shirt protesters but only if they stop throwing blood at him.
  • A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan last week is said to have killed Hussein al-Yemeni, a senior al Qaeda commander.
  • North Korea has reportedly executed an official as punishment for a botched currency reform earlier this year.
Middle East
  • One man was killed by a rocket fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.
  • On a newly-released audio recording, a man reported to be U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki calls for jihad against the United States.
  • E.U. foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton is visiting Israel.
  • A prominent German archbishop called for a full investigation into claims of abuse by priests.
  • A Polish court convicted three men for stealing the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from Auschwitz last December.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wants the eurozone to have the authority to exclude members in the event of a crisis.
-By Joshua Keating


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