by Guy Dinmore
published on FT 19 November 2009
The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, on Wednesday expressed his appreciation of support given by Barack Obama, the US president who is visiting China, while members of the exiled government said they were hopeful that stalled talks with Beijing would resume soon.
Speaking in Rome, where he attended an international parliamentary conference on Tibet, the Dalai Lama said the Obama administration had been “very supportive”, as had the previous Bush and Clinton administrations. He noted the appointment by the White House of a special Tibet coordinator.
In Beijing on Tuesday, Mr Obama called for the “early resumption of dialogue” between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama.
A White House official, briefing reporters, said Mr Obama discussed Tibet with Hu Jintao, China’s president, “making clear his respect for the Dalai Lama as a cultural and religious leader, and his intention to meet with the Dalai Lama at an appropriate time”. Read more…
by Guy Dinmore in Trieste
The US counter-narcotics strategy in Afghanistan is to undergo a U-turn with money previously spent on controversial opium poppy eradication shifting to agricultural development, Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, told an international conference on Saturday.
Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister who chaired the conference in the port city of Trieste, quoted Mr Holbrooke as saying the US would spend “several hundred million dollars” in promoting production of legal crops and cut back funding for eradication. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore in Rome
Three Tunisian detainees to be accepted by Italy under the US plan to close its Guantanamo prison may be allowed to travel freely across Europe, Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister, said on Tuesday.
Italy’s decision, conveyed by Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, to Barack Obama in the White House on Monday, has already led to dissent within Italy’s centre-right government with the hardline interior minister, Roberto Maroni, expressing his opposition. Read more…
by James Blitz, Daniel Dombey, & Guy Dinmore | FT.com
The Obama administration on Thursday marked a clear break with George W. Bush’s policy of isolating Iran by declaring its intention to invite the Islamic republic to an international conference on stabilising Afghanistan.
Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, announced in Brussels that Tehran was likely to be invited to a meeting that would bring together all “interested parties” on Afghanistan. Administration officials later confirmed Iran would be on the guest list. Read more…
By Guy Dinmore and John Thornhill in Cernobbio, Italy, Financial Times, London, UK, Sep 6 2008
Dick Cheney, the US vice president, broadened his attack on Russia late on Saturday, directly challenging Vladimir Putin’s view of history and warning that his government could “not have it both ways” by using “brute force” and still hoping to build economic progress. Mr Cheney saved his toughest anti-Russian speech for the last leg of his tour of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Italy.
By Guy Dinmore in Rome and Heba Saleh
Published: September 1 2008
Italy’s pledge to pay Libya compensation for its colonial rule paves the way for further Italian investments, such as in energy and infrastructure, but raises uncomfortable issues for former colonial powers in Africa.
In a tent outside Benghazi on Saturday, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s centre-right prime minister, returned a headless statue of Venus carted away by Italians decades ago and signed a friendship pact with Muammer Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.
By Guy Dinmore
Soaring commodity prices and falling incomes have hit many Italian companies but for Finmeccanica – the defence-aeronautics-rail-power-plants conglomerate – oil-rich states offer expanding markets while the US remains a constant in big weapons spending. Read more…