Afghan President Ghani predicts a 'difficult' spring

Afghanistan faces a difficult spring in terms of security as the so-called "fighting season" with the Taliban begins, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Saturday.

Benjamin Netanyahu`s Palestinian backtrack fails to mollify US: Analysts

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun to tone down anti-Palestinian rhetoric in order to mend ties with a furious White House but analysts say he will have to do more.

'Security concerns' keep US consular services in Saudi closed

Consular services stayed shut at US diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for a fifth straight day because of security fears, the American embassy said.

France's tasty diplomacy: Dinner by 1,300 chefs worldwide

French dishes and diplomacy joined forces on Thursday in a worldwide initiative involving 1,300 chefs cooking dinners "a la francaise" to promote France`s fabled cuisine.

Ukraine pilot detained in Russia resumes hunger strike

A female Ukrainian pilot detained in Russia on murder charges that Kiev says are politically motivated restarted a hunger strike Monday that officials have warned could kill her, her lawyer told AFP.

US warns Western oil workers in Saudi Arabia of attacks

Western oil workers in Saudi Arabia risk being attacked or kidnapped by "terrorist" groups in the OPEC kingpin, the US embassy in Riyadh said in a warning posted online.

Alleged Russian spies unmasked by Czech intelligence: Report

Czech intelligence has identified three Russian diplomats assigned to the country as spies, a media report said Thursday, citing an anonymous government source.

Russian Prez Vladimir Putin to attend genocide centenary in Armenia

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend ceremonies marking 100 years since the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in April, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

Obama orders deeper Venezuela sanctions over abuses

US President Barack Obama on Monday ordered a fresh wave of sanctions against senior Venezuelan officials involved on opposition crackdown, including the prosecution of Caracas`s mayor.

US offers $5 million for return of ex-FBI agent missing in Iran

The United States on Monday announced a $5 million increased reward for information leading to the return of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, as it marked the eighth anniversary of his mysterious disappearance in Iran.

Fidel Castro meets spies freed by US

Cuba`s Fidel Castro met this weekend with the three intelligence agents freed by the United States as part of last December`s historic rapprochement, state media said Monday.

Leaders of Egypt, Turkey in Saudi Arabia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived Sunday in Riyadh, as his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is accused of backing the Cairo-banned Muslim Brotherhood, also visited Saudi Arabia.

Spain blasts ex-PM meeting with Castro in Cuba

Spain`s conservative government reacted angrily Thursday to a visit by former Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to Cuba and his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, calling it disloyal.

Firing squads, blast walls and dangerous diplomacy in Somalia

 A navy flak jacket over his sky-blue shirt, Neil Wigan peered through the bulletproof glass window at six uneven wooden poles in front of a sand dune.

Kerry, Zarif to meet for nuclear talks as deadline looms

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Geneva Sunday for renewed talks with his Iranian counterpart on Tehran`s nuclear programme, after warning "significant gaps" remain as a key deadline approaches.

Myanmar says more than 130 dead in fighting near China border

Myanmar`s army Saturday said more than 130 people had died in a deepening battle with rebels in the northeast, declaring it would not rest until stability was restored to the border area which tens of thousands have fled.

Sri Lanka president arrives in India on first foreign trip

Sri Lanka`s new president arrived in India Sunday on his first foreign trip in office, trying to rebuild ties hit by tensions over growing Chinese influence on the strategically located island.

Poroshenko says to talk with Obama, Merkel, Hollande Saturday

Ukraine`s President Petro Poroshenko said Saturday that he will hold phone talks with US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Germany and France as fighting raged ahead of an agreed truce.

UN takes aim at Islamic State financing

The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at choking off millions of dollars in earnings from oil smuggling, antiquities trafficking and ransom payments to the Islamic State group.

India demands US probe into police 'attack' on grandfather

New Delhi said Thursday it had asked the United States to urgently investigate reports US police attacked an Indian grandfather during a visit to the country and left him partially paralysed.