Strong police presence in Paris before planned protests

Riot police officers take position during clashes. (File/AP)
Updated 15 December 2018
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Strong police presence in Paris before planned protests

  • There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags for helmets and other potential signs of trouble
  • Security forces in riot gear were positioned Saturday morning around central train stations and along the famed Champs-Elysees boulevard

PARIS: A strong police presence has deployed in Paris before planned demonstrations by the "yellow vest" protesters, with authorities repeating calls for calm after previous violent protests and rioting.
Security forces in riot gear were positioned Saturday morning around central train stations and along the famed Champs-Elysees boulevard, where shops were closed and boarded up in anticipation of the protests. Last weekend, groups of demonstrators smashed and looted stores and set up burning barricades in the streets.
There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags for helmets and other potential signs of trouble. More than 20 police vans and a water cannon truck idled nearby.
President Emanuel Macron on Friday called for calm during the demonstrations.


US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

Updated 25 June 2019
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US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

  • Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban
  • Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials

KABUL: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban and the security situation ahead of Afghan presidential polls in September.
Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials.
“With so much going on in the world right now it’s sometimes easy to forget about America’s commitment here to Afghanistan, but the world should know that the Trump administration has not forgotten, the American people have not forgotten,” Pompeo said in Kabul.
His visit to Afghanistan comes ahead of a seventh round of peace talks between Taliban leaders and US officials aimed at finding a political settlement to end the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan. The next round of peace talks is scheduled to begin on June 29 in Doha.
The talks between the United States and the Taliban will focus on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan and on a Taliban guarantee that militants will not plot attacks from Afghan soil.
“While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that were prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear, we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” said Pompeo.
“We agree that peace is our highest priority and that Afghanistan must never again serve as a platform for international terrorism.”
He said the two sides are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban’s commitment to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for “terrorists.”
Momentum for talks with the Taliban is steadily building, with a special US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, pushing the peace process and insurgent leaders showing serious interest in negotiating for the first time. Ghani has also offered repeatedly to talk with the Taliban but they have insisted that they will not deal directly with the Ghani government.
“All sides agree that finalizing a US-Taliban understanding on terrorism and foreign troop presence will open the door to intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiation,” Pompeo said, adding that next step is at the heart of the US effort.
“We are not and will not negotiate with the Taliban on behalf of the government or people of Afghanistan.”