Biden meets leader Santos
Vice President Joe Biden pledged firm support Wednesday for Colombia’s newly re-elected leader and the peace process on which he has staked his presidency. After a meeting of more than two hours with President Juan Manuel Santos, Biden also visited a center dedicated to chronicling Colombia’s half-century-old conflict by focusing on its victims, and said true peace can only be secured with a full accounting.
Foreign minister replaced
The new president of Ukraine promised troops would soon stop firing on pro-Russian armed separatists, offering a chance to end the fighting that has killed hundreds and wracked the industrial east. In another concession to Moscow, Petro Poroshenko replaced his foreign minister, who had outraged Russians by using an obscenity to describe President Vladimir Putin. An end to the two months of fighting and a promised safe exit for rebels would allow Putin to say that Russia has fulfilled its goal of protecting Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine, while Poroshenko can claim victory over the rebellion.
Cooperation in search continues
In a blistering attack on those suspected of seizing three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said they want “to destroy us,” and he pledged continued cooperation with Israeli security forces in the effort to track them down. The blunt remarks at a meeting of foreign ministers from Arab and other Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia were Abbas’ first comments on the suspected abduction, and reflected a readiness to aggressively confront the militants thought to have kidnapped the teens. Though there’s been no credible claim of responsibility, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has alleged that members of the militant Islamist group Hamas kidnapped the teens, and he’s dispatched hundreds of troops to the West Bank in a sweeping crackdown on the group.
Marriage rights approved
Lawmakers in Luxembourg, whose prime minister Xavier Bettel is openly gay, overwhelmingly approved changes in the small European nation’s legislation governing marriage allowing same-sex couples to wed and adopt children. The Chamber of Deputies voted 56-4 to approve what was called the most fundamental rewrite of laws on marriage since 1804. New rules could take effect in early 2015, or six months after becoming official. The Human Rights Campaign, a U.S. organization, said the vote makes Luxembourg the 19th nation to sanction “full marriage rights.”
Compiled from wire reports