Merkel: We’ll keep trying to find solutions with Iran to avoid escalation

Angela Merkel said Europe will uphold the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Merkel: We’ll keep trying to find solutions with Iran to avoid escalation

  • Merkel said it is Europe's job to try and find solutions with Iran that prevent an escalation of tensions

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Europe had decided to uphold the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and would keep trying to find solutions that averted escalation.

“Step by step we will keep trying to find solutions with Iran that prevent an escalation of tensions in a globally sensitive region. That’s our job,” Merkel told the lower house of parliament.

Meanwhile, in the same speech, Merkle said Germany will do its part to avoid a proxy war in Libya, warning that the situation in the north African country risked destabilising the whole of Africa.

“In Libya, a situation is developing that can take on similar dimensions to what we have seen in Syria .. and it’s imperative we do everything we can to make sure this does not escalate into a proxy war and Germany will play its part,” Merkel told the Bundestag lower house.

“The whole of the African region will be destabilized if Libya is not stabilized,” she added. 


Afghan assembly approves release of 400 ‘hard-core’ Taliban prisoners

Updated 7 min 48 sec ago

Afghan assembly approves release of 400 ‘hard-core’ Taliban prisoners

  • Some 3,200 Afghan community leaders and politicians gathered to advise the government on whether the prisoners should be freed

KABUL: Afghanistan’s grand assembly, or Loya Jirga, on Sunday approved the release of 400 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners, paving the way for the beginning of peace talks aimed at ending more than 19 years of war.
“In order to remove an obstacle, allow the start of the peace process and an end of bloodshed, the Loya Jirga approves the release of 400 Taliban,” the assembly said in a resolution.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had convened the assembly in the capital Kabul, where some 3,200 Afghan community leaders and politicians gathered amid tight security and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic to advise the government on whether the prisoners should be freed.
The Taliban militants had insisted they be released as a condition for entering peace talks with the government. With the release, the Afghan government will fulfil its pledge to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
Western diplomats said talks between the warring parties will start in Doha this week.
Deliberation around the release of last batch of Taliban prisoners, accused of conducting some of the bloodiest attacks across Afghanistan, had triggered outrage among civilians and rights groups who questioned the morality of the peace process.
But ahead of November elections, US President Donald Trump is determined to fulfil a major campaign promise of ending America’s longest war.
The drawdown will bring the number of US troops to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday.
In a February pact allowing for the withdrawal of US troops, Washington and the Taliban agreed on the release of the Taliban prisoners as a condition for the talks with Kabul.