The New York Times yesterday published a letter by Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, assailing Caroline Kennedy's status as apparent frontrunner for the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton. The author termed it "surprising and not very democratic, to say the least."
The OSCE's mission in Georgia, which opened in 1992, is coming to a close. Veronika Oleksyn for AP:
OSCE chair Finland called a meeting Monday morning to seek a three-month extension to the mandate, which expires on Dec. 31, to allow time for more negotiations on the mission's future. It had been the topic of behind-the-scenes discussions for some time. "Unfortunately, there was no consensus on this decision," said Antti Turunen, Finland's ambassador to the OSCE, after the closed-door gathering.
More than four months after the hot phase of Russia’s war on Georgia, Russia continues to violate the European Union-brokered ceasefire agreements of August 12 and September 8. Russia agreed to return to pre-August 7 lines and to withdraw its forces from areas of Georgia adjacent to the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has done neither.
Just days ago, the BBC reported that the leaders of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko's respective parties had agreed to form a new governing coalition after the previous one collapsed in September. But of course, doubts have already emerged about this arrangement. Last Monday, Nikolas Gvosdev noted the fragile nature of the new "coalition."
NATO and Russia are talking again for the first time since the August invasion of Georgia, AP reports.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow's ambassador to the alliance, met over lunch Friday in the first high-level meeting after a four-month hiatus caused by the war.
Following weeks of disagreement with Brussels, and France and the UK in particular, the German government has agreed to a second stimulus package of nearly €40 ($55.5) billion. Merkel faced a strong backlash throughout Europe in recent weeks from critics who felt the government was not responding adequately to Germany's economic downturn. Her refusal to spend more on the crisis has also cost her domestic popularity.