Diplomats to Issue Joint Statement of Progress at Iran Talks
Diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, are sending reporters mixed signals as negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran enter the last day before a self-imposed deadline to reach a political framework agreement for curtailing Iran’s nuclear program. According to the Associated Press, negotiators are preparing to issue a joint statement from all participating parties stating that enough ...
Diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, are sending reporters mixed signals as negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran enter the last day before a self-imposed deadline to reach a political framework agreement for curtailing Iran’s nuclear program. According to the Associated Press, negotiators are preparing to issue a joint statement from all participating parties stating that enough progress has been made to continue work on a comprehensive agreement. The Joint Plan of Action, which has facilitated the talks so far, will be in effect until June, which would be the deadline for a final deal. Negotiators will release with the joint statement a series of additional documents detailing the technical progress made so far. The plan for an announcement has not been finalized.
The report of the statement follows several days of long meetings. After leaving the talks briefly yesterday to return to Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov returned to the negotiations today. Though on Sunday he told reporters he is “not paid to be optimistic,” this morning he said that “chances are high” for a deal. However, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the BBC today, “I have been telling the German press we are in a bit of a crisis. Perhaps we will try a bit of a new approach. We will see.” Israel, which is not party to the negotiations, lashed out at the talks on Monday, saying that an agreement would reward Iran for its regional “aggression” in Yemen.
Airstrike Hits Civilian Camp in Yemen, Evacuations Continue
At least 40 people were killed yesterday when Saudi bombs struck the Al-Mazraq camp, where approximately 5,000 internally displaced people have settled since 2001. China has evacuated more than 600 Chinese nationals by frigate from Hodeida and Aden over the past couple days, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has communicated with the Saudi government about plans to airlift 4,100 Indian citizens from Yemen. Many of the Chinese evacuees have wound up in Djibouti, across the narrow Bab al-Mandab strait. Djibouti has endorsed the Saudi-led intervention and began receiving refugees on March 25, the day before airstrikes began.
- Iraqi Security Forces, supported by U.S. airstrikes and Shia militias, have advanced into Tikrit and seized the Salaheddin Province government headquarters from Islamic State fighters.
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Iran next week despite a recent political flap over his comments that Iran “is deploying all its efforts to dominate the region.”
- Exiled Syrian rebel politicians affiliated with the National Coalition announced their intention to relocate their government-in-exile to the recently captured city of Idlib.
- Morocco is reviewing its restrictive abortion laws in what could be a bellwether legal reform of the practice.
- An international donors conference began in Kuwait today to raise humanitarian aid funds for Syria; the U.N. hopes to raise $8.4 billion to support Syrian refugees and internally displaced people in 2015.
-J. Dana Stuster
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