U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Saudi Arabia late Sunday where he was met by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. The kingdom has become frustrated with Washington's perceived inaction in Syria, and is concerned about its diplomatic engagement with Iran and lukewarm attitude toward the military-backed government in Egypt. A senior Saudi prince last month warned that the kingdom could "shift away" from the United States, suggesting a major strategic change after decades of close military and economic cooperation. In Washington, officials saw the threat as mostly rhetoric. Kerry will meet King Abdullah Monday.
Despite growing international pressure Russia has shown no signs of normalising its Crimean presence.Ukraine has accused the Kremlin of seizing key border posts and deploying 16,000 Russian troops in the region since last week.In many areas across Crimea a stand off persists, with besieged Ukrainian outfits unwilling to stand down in the face of heavily equipped counterparts.Moscow claims their presence is one for stability and to protect its citizens. Kyiv says the world is witnessing an invasion.In Ukraine’s West tensions flared as pro-Russian protesters surrounded Odessa’s regional parliament blocking the steps to the legislative building.In the Eastern city of Donetsk they went one step further, storming the areas centre of power. Those demonstrating could be heard calling for the region to break from Kyiv.
The impending arrival by sea of Syrian chemical weapons has led to widespread protests in southern Italy. The toxic cargo is due to be transfered between a Danish vessel and an America ship and then destroyed at sea in international waters.But they have to use a port at Gioia Tauro valley in Calabria and people there are angry because they say secrecy surrounds the whole operation and they have been given no guarantees from the government.“They are telling us that the material carried is not dangerous, but in fact nobody knows what is inside those containers,” said one demonstrator.With the shipment expected to arrive within ten days, the mayor of the local region has threatened to close the port and called for a massive protest on February 1.