German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized NATO’s decision to stage military maneuvers in eastern Europe, warning that such moves could worsen tensions with Russia.
His comments reflect growing divisions within Germany’s ruling right-left coalition over policy toward Moscow. Steinmeier’s Social Democrats (SPD) generally back a more conciliatory stance toward Russia than Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc.
“What we shouldn’t do now is to inflame the situation by loud saber-rattling and shrill war cries,” Steinmeier told the Bild newspaper in an interview to be published Sunday.
“Whoever believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance’s eastern border will bring more security is mistaken,” Steinmeier said. “We are well-advised not to create pretexts to renew an old confrontation.”
Steinmeier did not make clear which maneuvers he was referring to, but NATO has just completed a large-scale, 10-day military training exercise in Poland involving more than 20 NATO and partner countries.
A French prosecutor asked that two suspects with links to the killer of two French police officials earlier this week be handed preliminary terrorism charges Saturday connected to the slaying.
There was a morning deadline to release Charaf-Din Aberouz and Saad Rajraji or pursue charges. Both had been convicted along with the police killer, Larossi Abballa, in September 2013 for their roles in a jihadi network on the Pakistan-Afghan border and claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Abballa, 25, knifed to death Officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and police administrator Jessica Schneider in their home on Monday. Abballa was killed by a police intervention unit shortly after Monday’s stabbings.
— Associated Press
Afghan-Pakistan border crossing reopens: Pakistan reopened a main border crossing with Afghanistan that was closed earlier this week following clashes between the two sides over Pakistan’s construction of a gate to curb illegal cross-border movement, two Pakistani security officials said Saturday. Thousands of people have been stranded on both sides because of the border closure on Sunday, when Pakistan and Afghanistan began trading fire and two Afghan border guards and one Pakistani army officer were killed.
Haiti’s parliament to meet on interim president’s mandate: Haiti’s legislative chiefs have scheduled a parliamentary session on Tuesday to decide whether to extend an interim president’s mandate or pave the way for another provisional leader. The vote potentially could extend interim president Jocelerme Privert’s expired mandate. The opposition argues that Privert, who was made the head of a caretaker government in February, is unlawfully holding onto power. His term was supposed to last 120 days.
Bangladesh attack suspect dies while in police custody: Ghulam Faijullaha Fahim, 19, a suspected Islamist militant, was killed Saturday when he was caught in the crossfire between police and other suspects in Bangladesh. Fahim, who allegedly critically wounded a Hindu college teacher during a gang attack on Wednesday, was in police custody when he was shot. He was with officers to help capture his associates, police say. The attack Fahim was accused of was the latest on minority groups, in which more than 30 have been killed since early last year.
Space station crew members return to Earth: Briton Tim Peake’s historic, six-month stay in space came to an end Saturday when he and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko landed safely Saturday in Kazakhstan, returning from the International Space Station. Peake is the first British astronaut to have completed a spacewalk and the first man to have run a marathon in space, nine years after a woman did. “It was incredible,” Peake told reporters after landing. “Best ride I’ve been on, ever.”
— From news services