Sun, 16 May 2021

Xinhua world news summary at 0030 GMT, April 15

15 Apr 2021, 10:44 GMT+10

BRUSSELS -- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies on Wednesday agreed to pull out all of their armed forces from Afghanistan after the United States announced that all U.S. troops would leave the country by Sept. 11.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, with other NATO members also deploying military forces to the country, in a bid "to confront al-Qaeda and those who attacked the United States, and to prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack us," according to a statement after a virtual NATO foreign and defense ministers' meeting on Wednesday. (NATO-Afghanistan-Withdrawal)

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DAMASCUS -- The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied an accusation by a global watchdog about the use of chemical weapons against the population in northwestern Syria, according to the state news agency SANA.

In a statement, the ministry slammed as "misleading" a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which said that "the Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against its population in the city of Saraqib in 2018." (Syria-Chemical Weapons)

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WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before Sept. 11, a move to end the longest war in American history.

"The United States will begin our final withdrawal, begin it on May 1 of this year," Biden said in his remarks at the White House. "U.S. troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11th." (US-Afghanistan-Troops)

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BRUSSELS -- Leaders of the European Union (EU) member states formally agreed on Wednesday to launch negotiations on details of a Digital Green Certificate with lawmakers in the European Parliament in order to have a system that would enable travel by summer, the Council of the EU said in a statement.

The certificates would allow "safe free movement" within the EU for those already vaccinated against the deadly virus, those who recovered from COVID-19, or those with negative test results. (EU-Digital Green Certificate-Travel)

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