A top Palestinian official said on Tuesday a framework agreement being crafted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to buttress troubled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may be doomed to fail. Nabil Abu Rdeineh, spokesman to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the deal due to be submitted to the two sides in the coming weeks would be "useless" if it allowed them to nominally accept its principles but to express reservations. Abu Rdeineh told Reuters,"Use of the word 'reservations' bogs down the peace process and the use of this concept in the past has got the process stuck." In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Kerry said that enabling Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "have some objection" to drafted parameters "is the only way for them to politically be able to keep the negotiations moving".
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tuesday's policy talks between U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande will showcase a revamped relationship that is now a cornerstone of diplomatic efforts in Iran and Syria, as well as the fight against extremism in northern Africa. The partnership between the longtime allies has slowly improved after hitting a low point a decade ago, when the French public and politicians alike bitterly opposed the U.S-led conflict in Iraq. Now, with Americans weary of war, it's France that has been staking out a more muscular military posture in parts of the world, with the White House gladly playing a supportive role.
State dinners generate big tabs. CBS News, using information from the State Department Office of Protocol, reports that the costs of President Obama's first five state dinners ranged from just more than $200,000 to just less than $575,000. The most expensive dinner, more than $572,000, was held in 2009 for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. The least expensive, more than $203,000, for President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea. Obama hosts another state dinner Tuesday for French President Francois Hollande.
A member of Thailand's Election Commission said it may prove impossible to complete this month's disrupted election and the whole vote may need to be re-run, implying many months more under a caretaker government with limited powers. Action by anti-government protesters meant voting was scrapped or halted in about a fifth of constituencies, so there will not be enough lawmakers elected to convene parliament to vote in a prime minister. Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn told Reuters in an interview that if the situation continues, "there is no way the election will be successful and we will not get the 95 percent of parliamentary seats needed."