Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Digest

Article excerpt

Syrian defector seeks to unify opposition

Syria's most prominent defector offered himself up Thursday as a figure to unite the fractious opposition, saying he failed to persuade his former friend, President Bashar Assad, to end a bloody crackdown that has killed thousands of Syrians.

The remarks by Manaf Tlass, a Syrian brigadier general until he abandoned the regime this month, were published in a Saudi newspaper just as opposition factions gathered in Qatar to try to agree on a transitional leadership if Assad's regime falls. Some opposition members are deeply skeptical of Tlass, believing he's far too close to the regime.

Revised U.N. draft raises hopes for arms trade treaty - A revised draft of a new U.N. treaty to regulate the multibillion dollar global arms trade raised hopes from campaigners and the British government, which has been the leading proponent of a historic agreement that could be reached today, the deadline for action. The draft, circulating late Thursday, closed several loopholes in the original text, though the Washington-based Arms Control Association said further improvements were needed to strengthen measures against illicit arms transfers.

Ex-ally of Milosevic set to lead Serbia - As Serbia's parliament prepared to elect Ivica Dacic as prime minister on Thursday, the former wartime spokesman for Slobodan Milosevic tried to dispel concern that his government could push the country back into the nationalism of the late strongman's era. Dacic - who had earned the nickname "Little Sloba" in the past for his admiration of the former Yugoslav president - pledged once again in a speech to lawmakers that he would press on with Serbia's bid to join the European Union and promote peace and stability in the Balkans.

EU tells Greece to deliver on promised reforms - EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Greece's new coalition government Thursday to "deliver, deliver, deliver" on promises for cost- cutting reforms, as the country's finances came under renewed scrutiny from international debt inspectors. …

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