World News Brief, Wednesday April 1

Clinton offers Iran "reconciliation"; China to launch new stock exchange; Britain troops being withdrawal from Iraq; Arab leaders host Latin presidents; and more

Top of the Agenda: Afghanistan Conference

Speaking at The Hague at today's international conference on Afghan security, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reached out to some elements of the Taliban, saying they would be offered an "honorable form of reconciliation" (Reuters) if they abandoned extremism. Clinton then argued for bolstering the Afghan government's ability "to separate the extremists of al-Qaeda and the Taliban from those who have joined their ranks not out of conviction, but out of desperation."

Clinton's statements come as part of a push, led by President Barack Obama, to draw broader support for the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, and come days after Obama announced his strategy for U.S. policy in the region. The conference at The Hague, which opened today, brings together officials from more than seventy countries, including all the countries bordering Afghanistan. News reports have made much of Iran's invitation to the meetings, though Clinton said in the run-up to the meetings that she had no plans (al-Jazeera) to seek out Iranian officials specifically.

Tehran's delegate at the conference, for his part, said in his prepared remarks that a surge of foreign troops would "prove ineffective" (Reuters) as a strategy, but promised to help counter Afghan drug trafficking.

Background and Analysis:

- In a new interview, CFR's Stephen Biddle argues that Obama's strategy in Afghanistan appears to be mindful of the "ultimate objective" of reducing threats to security in Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan.

- This Backgrounder examines the intricacies of relations between Iran and Afghanistan.


PACIFIC RIM: China Stock Exchange

China Daily reports Beijing has plans to launch a new, NASDAQ-like trading exchange, focusing on startups and smaller companies. The step follows moves by regulators to standardize listing rules for Chinese companies.

N.KOREA: South Korea's nuclear envoy said Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington would refer (Yonhap) North Korea to the UN Security Council if it goes ahead with plans to fire a rocket.

S.KOREA: The Korea Times reports declines in industrial output in South Korea may be slowing, potentially setting the groundwork for economic recovery.



Britain begins Iraq withdrawal.
Arab-Latin American summit opens in Doha.
Pakistani court reinstates head of Punjab province.

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on