Start of Syria Peace Talks in Doubt
The United Nations wants to convene a new round of Syrian peace talks on Monday, but with only days remaining and no agreement on who should participate there are doubts about whether the negotiations will begin as scheduled.
Staffan de Mistura, the U.N.'s envoy for Syria announced last month that he wanted to begin the talks on January 25 in Geneva.
He has the support of a group of 17 nations, including the United States and Russia, but those nations have yet to decide which of the many opposition groups fighting in Syria will have representatives at the negotiating table.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that invitations will not be sent until those decisions are made. He said the U.N. is still focused on January 25 for a start date and that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging world powers to "redouble efforts" to reach an agreement.
Suicide Bomber Kills 12 in NW Pakistan
Officials in northwestern Pakistan say a suspected suicide blast Tuesday killed at least 12 people and wounded many more. A majority of the victims are said to be security forces.
Witnesses say the bomber riding a motorbike struck a security checkpoint separating the semi-autonomous and volatile Khyber tribal district from the city of Peshawar.
Rescue workers and local officials say a senior officer of the tribal police force and a local journalist are among the dead.
The massive blast caused damage to several vehicles and motorbikes parked near the security post.
There are no immediate claims of responsibility.
Khyber serves as one of the two main routes for trade and transit between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan.
The Pakistani tribal area has been a hub of local and foreign militants involved in terrorist attacks on both sides of the border.