U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva on Wednesday: officials

National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representatives from the United States and Russia are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to explore the idea of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China, U.S. senior administration officials said on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he would like to see a new type of arms control deal with Russia and China to cover all types of nuclear weapons, a topic that he has discussed individually with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China is not currently a party to nuclear arms pacts between the United States and Russia.

The U.S. delegation will be led by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and will include Tim Morrison, a top aide at the White House National Security Council, as well as representatives from the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency, said the U.S. officials, who spoke to reporters on condition on anonymity.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, will lead the Russian delegation, the U.S. officials said.

“We actually feel that – touch wood – we’ve actually got to a point where we can try to start this again,” one of the officials said, listing off a long series of incidents that have soured relations between the United States and Russia during the past year.

“I say touch wood because we’re always just one incident away from unfortunately things getting derailed,” the official said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Exclusive: Venezuela removed 8 tons of central bank gold last week – legislator

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro touches a gold bar as he speaks during a meeting with the ministers responsible for the economic sector at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

By Corina Pons and Mayela Armas

CARACAS (Reuters) – At least 8 tons of gold were removed from the Venezuelan central bank’s vaults last week, an opposition legislator and three government sources told Reuters, in the latest sign of President Nicolas Maduro’s desperation to raise hard currency amid tightening sanctions.

The gold was removed in government vehicles between Wednesday and Friday last week when there were no regular security guards present at the bank, Legislator Angel Alvarado and the three government sources said.

“They plan to sell it abroad illegally,” Alvarado said in an interview.

The central bank did not respond to requests for comment.

Alvarado and the government sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say where the central bank was sending the gold. They said the operation took place while central bank head Calixto Ortega was abroad on a trip.

In 2018, 23 tons of mined gold were transported from Venezuela to Istanbul by plane, according to sources and Turkish government data.

The central bank bought part of this gold from primitive gold-mining camps in the south of Venezuela and exported it to Turkey and other countries to finance the purchase of basic food supplies, given widespread shortages, according to more than 30 people with knowledge of the trade.

Some 20 tons of monetary gold were also removed from the central bank’s vaults in 2018, according to the bank’s data, leaving 140 tonnes remaining, the lowest level in 75 years.

Abu Dhabi investment firm Noor Capital said on Feb. 1 that it bought 3 tons of gold on Jan. 21 from the Venezuelan central bank and would not buy more until Venezuela’s situation stabilized. Noor Capital said its purchase was in accordance with “international standards and laws in place” as of that date.

Maduro’s government has been seeking to repatriate some 31 tons of gold in the Bank of England’s vaults on fears it could be caught up in international sanctions on the country.

“As you would expect, the Bank does not comment on individual customer relationships,” the Bank of England wrote in response to a request for comment. “In all its operations, the Bank observes the highest standards of risk management and abides by all relevant legislation.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Wednesday, during a United Nations meeting in Geneva, that the Bank of England had blocked the government’s assets.

Maduro’s government has resorted to selling off gold after falling oil production, the country’s wider economic collapse and mounting sanctions hit public income and made it hard for the country to access credit.

The United States, which is backing an attempt by opposition leader Juan Guaido to force Maduro to step down and call new elections, has warned bankers and traders not to deal in Venezuelan gold.

(Reporting by Corina Pons and Mayela Armas; additional reporting by William Schomberg in London, Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Christian Plumb, Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)

Russia acknowledges new missile but says it does not breach treaty

By Stephanie Nebehay and Robin Emmott

GENEVA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia has recognized the existence of a cruise missile system that has prompted Washington to say it will quit the 1987 INF disarmament treaty, but has denied that it violates the pact, U.S. officials and NATO diplomats said on Monday.

Two weeks before the planned U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, which keeps nuclear-capable missiles out of Europe, Washington’s disarmament ambassador in Geneva said there was still time for Russia to destroy the system.

But after a session of the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, Russian diplomat Alexander Deyneko told Reuters: “We shall not yield to any ultimatums like to liquidate or to eliminate (a) missile that doesn’t fall within the range of the treaty prohibitions.”

Russia had denied developing what U.S. intelligence calls the SSC-8/9M729 cruise missile system.

However, NATO diplomats said Moscow did now recognize its existence but argued that its range was within the 500-km limit set by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said the system was a “potent and direct threat to Europe and Asia” as it had a range of 500 to 1,500 km (310-930 miles), contravening a treaty that is designed to prevent attacks at short notice.

“Russia must verifiably destroy all SSC-8 missiles, launchers and associated equipment in order to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty,” Wood said.

“Unfortunately, the United States increasingly finds that Russia cannot be trusted to comply with its arms control obligations and that its coercive and malign actions around the globe have increased tensions.”

After a meeting with Russian officials in Geneva last week, the United States said Moscow’s offer to save the treaty, negotiated by U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, was not genuine because it could not be verified.

The impasse sets the stage for U.S. President Donald Trump to fulfill his threat to start withdrawing from the pact on Feb. 2, potentially allowing Washington to develop its own medium-range missiles.

The United States will still have six months to formally complete its withdrawal, however.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance said it had not given up on bringing Russia back into compliance. NATO’s 29 ambassadors will hold a special NATO-Russia Council with Moscow’s acting envoy to the alliance, Yuri Gorlach, in Brussels on Friday.

NATO diplomats told Reuters that European members of the alliance led by Germany hoped Washington would make a final push to convince the Kremlin to come into line, or possibly to renegotiate the INF to include China.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Robin Emmott in Brussels; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

U.S. warns on Russia’s new space weapons

The sun reflects off the water in this picture taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station and sent on his Twitter feed July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA/Handout via Reuters

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States voiced deep suspicion on Tuesday over Russia’s pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an “abnormal” way.

Russia’s pursuit of counterspace capabilities was “disturbing”, Yleem D.S. Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, told the U.N.’s Conference on Disarmament which is discussing a new treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space.

A Russian delegate at the conference dismissed Poblete’s remarks as unfounded and slanderous.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the Geneva forum in February, said a priority was to prevent an arms race in outer space, in line with Russia’s joint draft treaty with China presented a decade ago.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled in March “six new major offensive weapons systems”, including the Peresvet military mobile laser system, Poblete said.

“To the United States this is yet further proof that the Russian actions do not match their words,” she said.

Referring to a “space apparatus inspector”, whose deployment was announced by the Russian defense ministry last October, Poblete said: “The only certainty we have is that this system has been ‘placed in orbit’.”

She said its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before, including other Russian inspection satellite activities, adding: “We are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space apparatus inspector’.”

Russia’s pursuit of counterspace capabilities “is disturbing given the recent pattern of Russian malign behavior,” she said, and its proposed treaty would not prohibit such activity, nor the testing or stockpiling of anti-satellite weapons capabilities.

Alexander Deyneko, a senior Russian diplomat in Geneva, dismissed what he called “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on”.

The United States had not proposed amendments to the Sino-Russian draft treaty, he said.

“We are seeing that the American side are raising their serious concerns about Russia, so you would think they ought to be the first to support the Russian initiative. They should be active in working to develop a treaty that would 100 percent satisfy the security interests of the American people,” he said.

“But they have not made this constructive contribution,” he said.

China’s disarmament ambassador Fu Cong called for substantive discussions on outer space, leading to negotiations.

“China has always stood for peaceful use of outer space and we are against weaponization of outer space, an arms race in outer space, or even more turning outer space into a battle field,” he said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Syrian war will drag into next decade: senior Kurdish leader

Aldar Khalil, a Kurdish politician is seen in the town of Rmeilan, Hasaka province, Syria September 27, 2017. Picture taken September 27, 2017.

By Tom Perry

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Russian-led effort to end the war in Syria will fail and the conflict looks set to extend into the next decade, a top Syrian Kurdish politician told Reuters in an interview.

Aldar Khalil, an architect of Kurdish-led plans for autonomous rule in northern Syria, also said the United States appears in “no hurry” to leave areas where it has helped Kurdish-led forces fight Islamic State, and that he expects ties with Washington to develop as U.S. recovery efforts proceed.

The Syrian Kurds are among the few winners in the almost seven-year-old war, having established control over large parts of the north with a powerful militia that has partnered with the U.S.-led coalition against IS.

Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s ally, has asked them to take part in an international peace conference on Syria for the first time — a peace congress scheduled in the Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 29-30.

“Yes we are invited and we might take part in the show but it will not succeed,” Khalil, co-chair of the Movement for a Democratic Society, a coalition of Syrian Kurdish parties, said by telephone.

He questioned what the hundreds of anticipated attendees could accomplish in two days and said more preparation was required.

U.N.-led diplomacy in Geneva was also set for more failure, he said, adding that the war would “ebb and flow” until at least 2021, the end of Assad’s current seven-year presidential term.

“I don’t expect any breakthrough in the Syrian situation before 2021 … it might even go on until ’25,” he said.

“Daesh (IS) might expand in other areas, and of course the Turks might try to stir up problems in some areas.”

The Syrian Kurds’ ascendancy in Syria has alarmed neighboring Turkey. Ankara views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as an extension of Kurdish parties in Turkey that have been fighting Ankara for more than three decades.

U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish fighters has also strained ties between the NATO allies: Turkey on Wednesday summoned a top U.S. diplomat in Ankara to protest over U.S. support of Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Khalil is seen as a key figure in plans to establish a federal region in northern Syria – a plan Washington has opposed despite backing the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the war with IS.

The Syrian Kurds say independence is not their goal. But Khalil said the Kurdish-led authorities would press ahead with unilateral autonomy plans, though elections to a new regional parliament have been postponed to allow more time to prepare.

WARNING TO ASSAD

With the fight against IS winding down, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last month he expected to see a larger U.S. civilian presence in Syria, including contractors and diplomats to focus on stabilization and ensuring IS does not return.

Khalil declined to say how long the United States might maintain a foothold in northern Syria, but said that achieving U.S. goals of helping cities such as Raqqa to recover implied a commitment of at least 18 months to two years.

“These matters will not be completed in less time than this,” he said.

“I can’t confirm to you a long-term relationship, but at least for the foreseeable time, it seems they are not in a hurry to leave,” he said. Pointing to the Mattis remarks, he said he expected U.S. ties to northern Syria to develop further.

The Kurdish-led authorities have held two local elections since September, part of their plan to build new governing structures. Discussions are underway to decide when a third vote — aimed at electing a regional parliament — will happen.

Khalil said the delay was aimed partly at giving a chance for areas recently captured from IS to decide whether to participate.

Though Assad recently condemned the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and their allies as “traitors”, Khalil said the Syrian government was incapable of attacking areas they control and warned that if it tried to “all its forces will be killed”.

He warned that Islamic State sleeper cells posed a big threat. “The Daesh campaign is not over, now the more difficult phase has started,” he said.

(Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Myanmar forces may be guilty of genocide against Rohingya, U.N. says

Myanmar forces may be guilty of genocide against Rohingya, U.N. says

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – Myanmar’s security forces may be guilty of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, the United Nations’ top human rights official said on Tuesday, adding that more were fleeing despite an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to send them home.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that none of the 626,000 Rohingya who have fled violence since August should be repatriated to Myanmar unless there was robust monitoring on the ground.

Myanmar’s ambassador Htin Lynn said that his government was working with Bangladesh to ensure returns of the displaced in about two months and “there will be no camps”.

Zeid, who has described the campaign in the past as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing”, was addressing a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva called by Bangladesh.

He described “concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya, including deliberately burning people to death inside their homes, murders of children and adults; indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians; widespread rapes of women and girls, and the burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques.”

“Can anyone – can anyone – rule out that elements of genocide may be present?” he told the 47-member state forum.

Zeid urged the Council to recommend that the U.N. General Assembly establish a new mechanism “to assist individual criminal investigations of those responsible”.

Prosecutions for the violence and rapes against Rohingya by security forces or by civilians “appear extremely rare”, Zeid said.

Marzuki Darusman, head of an independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said by video from Malaysia: “We will go where the evidence leads us…Our focus is on facts and circumstances of allegations in Myanmar as a whole since 2011.”

His team has interviewed Rohingya refugees including children in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, who recounted “acts of extreme brutality” and “displayed signs of severe trauma”, he said.

Myanmar has not granted the investigators access to Rakhine, the northern state from which the Rohingya have fled, he said. “We maintain hope that it will be granted early in 2018.”

Pramila Patten, special representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, who interviewed survivors in Bangladesh in November, said: “I heard the most heart-breaking and horrific accounts of sexual atrocities reportedly committed in cold blood out of a lethal hatred of these people solely on the basis of their ethnicity and religion”.

Crimes included “rape, gang rape by multiple soldiers, forced public nudity and humiliation, and sexual slavery in military captivity”, Patten said.

Myanmar denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya. Its envoy Htin, referring to the accounts, said: “People will say what they wanted to believe and sometimes they will say what they were told to say.”

The United Nations defines genocide as acts intended to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group in whole or in part. A U.N. convention requires all countries to act to halt genocide and to punish those responsible.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Peter Graff)

Syrian walkout from talks ‘an embarrassment to Russia’: opposition

Syrian government negotiator quits Geneva talks, says may not return

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Syrian government’s decision to quit peace talks last week was an embarrassment to its main supporter Russia, which wants both sides to reach a deal quickly, opposition spokesman Yahya al-Aridi said on Monday.

The delegation left the U.N.-backed talks in Geneva on Friday, blaming the opposition’s demands that President Bashar al-Assad should play no role in any interim post-war government.

“I don’t think that those who support the regime are happy with such a position being taken by the regime. This is an embarrassment to Russia,” Aridi said at the hotel where the opposition delegation is staying in Geneva.

“We understand the Russian position now. They are… in a hurry to find a solution.”

There was no immediate comment from Russian officials at the talks on the withdrawal of the government delegation.

Russia helped to turn the Syrian war in Assad’s favor and has become the key force in the push for a diplomatic solution. Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin said a political settlement should be finalised within the U.N. Geneva process.

The opposition, long wary of Russia’s role, now accepts it. Western diplomats say Putin’s Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentiev was present at the Riyadh meeting last month where the opposition drew up its statement rejecting any future role for Assad.

Asked if the opposition was willing to compromise on Assad’s role in any post-war government, Aridi said his delegation’s demands were based on the wishes of the Syrian people.

“I believe that our mere presence in Geneva is in itself a compromise. We are sitting with a regime that has been carrying out all these atrocities for the past seven years. What other compromise could we make?”

A source close to government delegation told Reuters on Monday that Damascus was still studying the feasibility of participation in the talks and when a decision was reached it would be sent through ordinary diplomatic channels.

 

(Reporting by Tom Miles, additional reporting by Kinda Makieh in Damascus; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens)

 

Syrian government negotiator quits Geneva talks, says may not return

Syrian government negotiator quits Geneva talks, says may not return

By Stephanie Nebehay and Lisa Barrington

GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s government delegation quit U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva on Friday and said it would not return next week unless the opposition withdrew a statement demanding President Bashar al-Assad play no role in any interim post-war government.

“For us (this) round is over, as a government delegation. He as mediator can announce his own opinion,” government chief negotiator Bashar al-Ja’afari said after a morning of talks, referring to U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura.

“As long as the other side sticks to the language of Riyadh 2 … there will be no progress,” Ja’afari said.

He was referring to a position adopted by Syrian opposition delegates at a meeting in Riyadh last week, in which they stuck to their demand that Assad be excluded from any transitional government.

Ja’afari went further in a televised interview with al-Mayadeen TV: “We cannot engage in serious discussion in Geneva while the Riyadh statement is not withdrawn.”

De Mistura put a brave face on the impasse, saying in a statement that he had asked the delegations to engage in “talks next week” and give their reactions to 12 political principles.

Previously there had been some speculation the opposition could soften its stance ahead of this week’s Geneva negotiations, in response to government advances on the battlefield.

The Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year, has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven 11 million from their homes. So far all previous rounds of peace talks have failed to make progress, faltering over the opposition’s demand Assad leave power and his refusal to go.

Pressed whether the government delegation would return to Geneva next week, Ja’afari replied: “Damascus will decide.”

Ja’afari said the statement insisting Assad leave power that was adopted by the opposition in Riyadh ahead of this week’s peace talks was a “mine” on the road to Geneva, and the opposition had purposefully undermined the negotiations.

“The language with which the statement was drafted was seen by us, the Syrian government, as well as by too many capitals, as a step back rather than progress forward, because it imposed a kind of precondition,” he said.

“The language is provocative, irresponsible,” he said.

The opposition, which held brief talks later with U.N. officials, rejected the charge that it was seeking to undermine the talks, and said it sought a “political solution”.

“We have come to this round with no preconditions,” opposition spokesman Yahya al-Aridi told reporters.

“Now, not coming back is a precondition in itself. It’s an expression or a reflection of a responsibility toward people who have been suffering for seven years now,” Aridi said.

Nasr Hariri, the opposition delegation chief, said earlier on Friday that his side had come to Geneva for serious, direct negotiations with Assad’s government. So far, government and opposition delegations have not negotiated face-to-face in any Syrian peace talks but have been kept in separate rooms.

“We call on the international community to put pressure on the regime to engage with this process,” Hariri said in a statement.

De Mistura said on Thursday the talks would run until Dec. 15, but the government delegation might return to Damascus to “refresh and consult” before a resumption probably on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Issam Abdallah, Tom Miles and Cecile Mantovani in Geneva; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Rebel area near Damascus hit by heavy shelling despite two-day truce

Rebel area near Damascus hit by heavy shelling despite two-day truce

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Dozens of mortar bombs landed on the last major rebel stronghold near the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, a war monitor and a witness said on Wednesday, despite a 48 hour truce proposed by Russia to coincide with the start of peace talks in Geneva.

After a relatively calm morning, shelling picked up later in the day, accompanied by ground attempts to storm the besieged enclave, a witness in the Eastern Ghouta area told Reuters.

The Syrian army stepped up bombardment two weeks ago in an effort to recapture Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held pocket of densely populated agricultural land on the outskirts of the capital under siege since 2012.

Scores of people have been killed in air strikes during the offensive, and residents say they are on the verge of starvation after the siege was tightened.

Russia had proposed a ceasefire on Monday in the besieged area for Nov. 28-29. U.N. Syria envoy Staffan De Mistura later said Russia had told him that the Syrian government had accepted the idea, but “we have to see if it happens”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least one person was killed when dozens of mortars crashed into Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday.

Eastern Ghouta is one of several “de-escalation” zones across western Syria where Russia has brokered ceasefire deals between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s government. But fighting has continued there.

On Tuesday, shelling killed three people and injured 15, but was less intense than in previous days, the observatory said. It had reported intense bombardment that killed 41 people over two days from Sunday to Monday.

“A two-day truce is not nearly enough for civilians facing grave violations of international law – including bombardment and besiegement – but it is a window of opportunity to save the lives of the most desperately in need of treatment,” said Thomas Garofalo, International Rescue Committee’s Middle East Public Affairs Director, in a statement on Wednesday.

The Syrian delegation arrived in Geneva to participate in the eighth round of United Nation-sponsored peace talks. It delayed its departure for one day after the opposition repeated its demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.

Nasr Hariri, head of the opposition delegation, told a Geneva news conference on Monday night that he is aiming for Assad’s removal as a result of negotiations.

The government delegation will be headed by Syria’s U.N. ambassador and chief negotiator Bashar al-Ja’afari, state-run news agency SANA said.

A breakthrough in the talks is seen as unlikely as Assad and his allies push for total military victory in Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year, and his opponents stick by their demand he leaves power.

(Reporting by Sarah Dadouch and Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Angus McDowall, Jeremy Gaunt and Peter Graff)

Syrian government delegation to arrive in Geneva for peace talks on Wednesday

Syrian government delegation to arrive in Geneva for peace talks on Wednesday

BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – A Syrian government delegation will arrive in Geneva on Wednesday, a day later than expected, to attend peace talks being held there this week, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

The delegation had delayed its planned departure for the talks, which begin on Tuesday, because of the opposition’s insistence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has received assurances that the Syrian government delegation will attend the talks, U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a Geneva news briefing.

“At least we know that they are coming,” she said, declining to give details on who transmitted the message from Damascus.

A delegation from the newly-unified Syrian opposition, which arrived in the Swiss city on Monday, is due to hold a first meeting with de Mistura later on Tuesday, she said.

Earlier, the pro-Damascus Syrian newspaper al-Watan reported that the Syrian government delegation to an eighth round of peace talks in Geneva this week has not yet left Damascus.

It had reported on Monday that the delay was because of the opposition’s insistence that Assad step down, which he has refused to do.

Nasr Hariri, head of the opposition delegation, told a Geneva news conference on Monday night that he is aiming for Assad’s removal as a result of negotiations.

The government delegation will be headed by Syria’s U.N. ambassador and chief negotiator Bashar al-Ja’afari, SANA said.

A breakthrough in the talks is seen as unlikely as Assad and his allies push for total military victory in Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year, and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Beirut and Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles in Geneva; Editing by Catherine Evans)