Macron says will meet Iranians before G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Iranian officials ahead of G7 summit. (File/Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2019

Macron says will meet Iranians before G7 summit

  • Macron will make proposals to help de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran
  • France has sought to play a mediating role

PARIS: France’s president said on Wednesday he would meet Iranian officials ahead of this weekend’s G7 summit and make proposals to help de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran.
“In the coming hours before the G7 I will have meetings with the Iranians to propose things,” Emmanuel Macron told reporters.
Iran’s foreign minister said earlier this week he would meet Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Friday. Two French diplomats said a joint meeting was likely on Friday, but that it had not been made public due to the sensitivity of the Iran dossier.
France has sought over the summer to play a mediating role as relations between the United States and Iran deteriorate, although there has been little sign of any breakthrough.
With punishing US sanctions squeezing its economy, Iran has said it will gradually reduce its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers until the European powers party to the accord — France, Britain and Germany — do more to ensure Tehran benefits financially from the accord.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.