BBC News with Neil Nunes
The Arab League says Syria has agreed to its proposals to bringan end to the violence which has racked the country for thepast seven months. The apparent breakthrough was announced by the Qatari prime minister aftera meeting in Cairo, from where Jon Leyne reports.
According to the Arab League, Syria will withdraw tanks and armoured vehicles from the streets,free political prisoners and prepare for the beginning of a national dialogue with the opposition intwo weeks’ time. Arab League officials and journalists are to be allowed into the country to monitorimplementation. According to Arab League officials, Syria has agreed to the proposals withoutreservation. There’s no confirmation of the details yet from Damascus. The Syrian opposition willbe watching with deep scepticism about whether President Assad’s government keeps its word.
France says Greece must quickly decide if it wants to remain in the eurozone. The warning followssimilar comments from Germany. It came just hours before emergency talks on Greek plans to[put] the latest bailout package for its economy to a referendum and on the eve of a G20 summitin Cannes. From there, James Robbins.
Pressure on the Greek prime minister to change course is now intense, and it’s coming fromleaders around the world not just in Europe. The Americans, the Chinese, the Indian governmentall due at this G20 meeting are dismayed that a euro rescue package they regard as critical for thehealth of economic recovery around the world seems to be unravelling fast. This evening, theGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Sarkozy will confront George Papandreouwith a blunt message: Greece has to stick to its commitment.
A court in New York has found the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout guilty of conspiracy to sellweapons to what he believed were Colombian rebels prepared to kill Americans. Laura Trevelyanreports.
Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military officer-turned-arms dealer nicknamed the Merchant ofDeath, showed no emotion as the jury delivered a unanimous verdict. Bout has been found guiltyof trying to sell a massive weapons haul to people he thought were members of the Colombianrebel group Farc, who wanted the arsenal to kill Americans helping the Colombian governmenttrying to stop Farc’s cocaine trade. In fact, the so-called Farc rebels were informants working forthe US drug enforcement agency. Bout had pleaded not guilty, saying he was merely a legitimatebusinessman who wanted to sell cargo planes.
The French government has condemned the arson attack on the Paris offices of the satiricalmagazine Charlie Hebdo, which published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed on its front cover.The Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that freedom of expression was an inalienable right in Frenchdemocracy and that such an act of violence couldn’t be justified.
World News from the BBC
There’s been widespread condemnation of Israel’s decision to speed up the construction ofsettlements in the occupied West Bank. The White House said it made peace efforts more difficult.The EU called the decision illegal, a view echoed by France and Britain. Israel announced thebuilding programme on Monday after the UN cultural organisation Unesco admitted Palestine as afull member, but it says that acceleration isn’t linked to that.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says a group ofmercenaries may be trying to help Saif al-Islam Gaddafi escape Libya. Colonel Gaddafi’s son iswanted by the ICC on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the early stages ofthe Libyan uprising. Here’s Barbara Plett.
Mr Ocampo called on all states to disrupt a possible plan by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to escape Libyawith the help of mercenaries. The whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi’s son are unknown, but it’s beenreported that he’s hiding with desert nomads in Niger. The ICC prosecutor said his office had alsoreceived questions from Saif al-Islam through an intermediary about the legal conditions attachedto his potential surrender. And he told the Security Council that he would continue investigatingevidence of mass rapes by pro-Gaddafi forces as well as allegations of crimes committed by bothNato forces and rebel leaders.
China says that one of its spacecraft has docked with an orbiting module for the first time in whatit calls a major step towards setting up a space station. The Xinhua news agency says theunmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft coupled with the module about 340km above the surface ofthe Earth.
The President of Ghana, John Atta Mills, has reacted angrily to comments by the British PrimeMinister David Cameron, in which he said aid could be withheld from countries that deny gayrights. Mr Atta Mills said Britain couldn’t impose its values on his country.