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‘Geneva II’ conference could be in jeopardy after UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon invites Iran to preliminary meeting

Court upholds jail terms for activists in Bahrain

The highest court in Bahrain has upheld the jail sentences of 20 opposition leaders accused of conspiracy to overthrow the government during pro-democracy demonstrations which began in February 2011.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) shake hands with UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi as they arrive for talks in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister blames Syrian opposition for deadlock

Russia's foreign minister declared a deadlock on Saturday in the latest efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, blaming the Syrian opposition for refusing to negotiate with the government and reiterating that Moscow will not force President Bashar Assad to leave.

Foreign fighters fuel the sectarian flames in Syria

Fighters from as many as 29 countries have filtered into Syria to join a civil war that has split along sectarian lines, increasingly pitting the ruling Alawite community against the majority Sunni Muslims, UN human rights investigators said today.

The News Matrix: Friday 7 December 2012

Rescue dogs learn how to drive cars

Syria refugee camp blast kills four

A bomb blast in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus killed four people and seriously wounded a member of a faction that has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's bitter civil war, activists said today.

No one wants ‘little Englander’ MPs, but they leave themselves open to allegations of impropriety

If we don’t want our MPs to become “little Englanders” with no experience of life beyond our shores then it is not unreasonable to expect them to travel. But as today’s examination of the £1.5m of free foreign trips that MPs have taken in the last two years shows, something is not quite right with our current system.

Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran hosts meeting on Syrian conflict

Under the motto "No to violence, yes to democracy," an estimated 200 Syrian and regional politicians gathered in Tehran on Sunday to discuss a possible end to the violence that has engulfed Syria since March 2011.

Arab shopping spree boosts UK shops

Well-heeled Middle Eastern shoppers increased their spending by half in the UK last month, making them the most important group for retailers from outside the European Union.

Syrian opposition fighters overrun a military post at Ras al-Ain on Wednesday. Below, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

Syrian rebels seek missile supply

Syrian opposition figures will push at a donor conference in London today for the provision of anti-aircraft missile systems to repel President Bashar al-Assad's devastating airstrikes, as momentum builds to adjust a European Union arms embargo.

Syrian opposition group pleads for recognition

The leader of the new opposition coalition has urged European states to recognise the group as the legitimate government, enabling it to buy the weapons it needs to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Iranian nuclear ambitions will be top of the agenda for David Cameron in Saudi Arabia

Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be top of the agenda when David Cameron visits Saudi Arabia tomorrow during a three-day visit to the Gulf and the Middle East.

Defence contracts on the agenda as Prime Minister arrives in UAE

David Cameron will tomorrow arrive in the United Arab Emirates on a mission to sell Britain's expertise in producing everything from bombs to hospitals.

Prime Minister David Cameron is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf amid rising tension in the region

Britain meets Gulf allies over growing tensions in Iran

Saudi Arabia and the UAE fear there may be attempts to block a vital oil supply route

Palestinian activists have denounced their President, Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians furious with Abbas for giving up refugees’ right to return

Palestinian activists have denounced their President, Mahmoud Abbas, for saying he would ensure there was “never” be a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel - and for giving up his “right of return” to his Israeli birthplace.

Tehran has criticised the American and French presence in the Gulf, saying it is an attempt at intimidation

Exclusive: PM on standby to send warplanes to Gulf as Iranian tensions rise

Cameron weighs use of jets amid fears move could inflame situation

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