UNITED NATIONS – In a sign of a potential thaw in relations, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will sit down Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of five other world powers in the highest-level formal meeting between U.S. and Iranian diplomats in more than three decades.
Kerry and Zarif will come together at the United Nations in a session of the so-called P5-plus-1, a diplomatic group that has sought for seven years to try to negotiate curbs on Iran’s nuclear development program. Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, announced the meeting Monday.
U.S. and Iranian officials have hinted for weeks that top officials might meet during the annual U.N. General Assembly this week to begin an intensified round of negotiations, possibly including one-on-one talks between Washington and Tehran.
Another funeral bombed; 14 killed
BAGHDAD – A double bombing targeting Sunni mourners in Baghdad killed 14 people on Monday, the third day in a row in which funerals have been attacked amid a wave of bloodshed across Iraq, officials said.
Police say back-to-back blasts tore through a tent set up for the funeral of one of four people killed two days before when gunmen shot up a store selling liquor in the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah. A security official said 35 were wounded in the bombing.
Monday’s attack came only one day after a suicide bombing of another Sunni funeral in Baghdad that left 16 dead. On Saturday, a double suicide attack on a Shiite funeral killed 72 mourners.
Attacks on Shiite civilian targets – including funerals – are a hallmark of al-Qaida’s Iraq branch. But it was not clear if the two attacks on Sunnis were also the work of al-Qaida, which has been known to target Sunni rivals, or part of a growing number of apparent reprisal attacks by Shiites.
Britain donates to fight AIDS, malaria
UNITED NATIONS – Britain announced Monday that it is giving $1.6 billion to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years and hopes the money will lead to “some incredible results.”
One goal, to be met by the end of 2015, is to halt and reverse the AIDS pandemic.
The Global Fund is trying to raise $15 billion for 2014-2016. The U.S. has requested $1.65 billion per year for the Global Fund in its 2014 budget.