World News Roundup: Analysis-Sudan paramilitary leader jostles for role ahead of civilian handover; Putin makes surprise trip to Russian-occupied Mariupol in wake of ICC warrant and more
Also backed by the United States and Jordan, the meeting follows a Feb. 26 U.S.-brokered conference in Aqaba, the first of its kind in years, that secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges to de-escalate but was challenged by factions on both sides and failed to halt violence on the ground. Putin makes surprise trip to Russian-occupied Mariupol in wake of ICC warrant A day after being accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, scene of some of the worst devastation of his year-old invasion.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Analysis-Sudan paramilitary leader jostles for role ahead of civilian handover
The leader of a powerful paramilitary force in Sudan has put himself at the forefront of a planned transition toward democracy, unsettling fellow military rulers and triggering a mobilisation of troops in the capital Khartoum last week. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo commands tens of thousands of fighters in the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and has amassed considerable mineral wealth. He is also deputy leader of Sudan's ruling council, which took power in a coup more than a year ago.
Putin makes surprise trip to Russian-occupied Mariupol in wake of ICC warrant
A day after being accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, scene of some of the worst devastation of his year-old invasion. State television showed extended footage of Putin being shown around the city on Saturday night, meeting rehoused residents and being briefed on reconstruction efforts by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin.
Iran proposes locations to Saudi Arabia for FM meeting
The Iranian government has proposed to Saudi Arabia three locations for a meeting at foreign minister level, Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday, citing the latest messages with Riyadh since the countries agreed to re-establish ties. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a news conference in Tehran his country had agreed to such a meeting, although he did not list the three locations or say when such a meeting might take place.
Italy pushing IMF to help Tunisia and avoid instability, minister says
Italy wants the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unblock a $1.9 billion loan to Tunisia, fearful that without the cash, the country will be destabilised, unleashing a new wave of migrants towards Europe, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said. Tunisia's bailout talks with the IMF have been stalled for months, with the United States, amongst others, demanding far-reaching reforms from President Kais Saied to free up the cash.
Israeli and Palestinian officials meet in pre-Ramadan push for calm
Israeli and Palestinian officials were meeting on Sunday in Egypt for talks aimed at calming surging violence that has stoked fears of further escalation once the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins later this week. Also backed by the United States and Jordan, the meeting follows a Feb. 26 U.S.-brokered conference in Aqaba, the first of its kind in years, that secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges to de-escalate but was challenged by factions on both sides and failed to halt violence on the ground.
Black Sea drones show U.S. involvement in conflict against Russia, says Kremlin
U.S. drone flights over the Baltic Sea are a sign of direct U.S. involvement in conflict with Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on Sunday. Last week, a U.S. drone crashed into the sea after being intercepted by Russian Su-27 fighter planes in the first known direct military encounter between the two sides since Russia launched its war in Ukraine last year.
Syria's Assad arrives in UAE in official visit
Syrian President Bashar al Assad arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday for an official visit, accompanied by his wife Asma al Assad, at a time when more Arab states have signalled openness to easing the isolation of Damascus. The visit was marked with more ceremony than his previous trip to the UAE last year, which had been his first to an Arab state since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, when Gulf states including the UAE backed rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.
North Korea fires ballistic missile as US-South Korean drills go on
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile towards the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Sunday, South Korea and Japan said, in the latest of a series of tests carried out by the nuclear-armed state since the start of this year. The missile, launched from the Dongchang-ri site on the west coast around 11:05 a.m. (0205 GMT), flew some 800 km (500 miles) before hitting a target, a South Korean military statement said. Japan's Defence Ministry said the missile flew as high as 50 km (30 miles).
France's Macron faces another test with parliamentary votes on Monday
President Emanuel Macron faces a critical moment on Monday when the National Assembly is due to vote on no-confidence motions filed after his government bypassed parliament on Thursday to push through an unpopular rise in the state pension age. The move, which followed weeks of protests against the pension overhaul, triggered three nights of unrest and demonstrations in Paris and throughout the country, reminiscent of the Yellow Vest protests that erupted in late 2018 over high fuel prices.
Hundreds of elite Israeli reservists say they are joining judicial protests
A group of Israelis describing themselves as reservists in elite military and intelligence units said they would not turn up for some duties from Sunday, escalating protests at the hard-right government's planned judicial overhaul. Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, which wields a Knesset majority, say they want bills that would limit the authority of the Supreme Court to be written into law by April 2.
(With inputs from agencies.)