Posts Tagged ‘America’
Iraq’s Leaders Back Fragile Power-Sharing Deal – Voice of America
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2010 07:26 Written by admin Thursday, 11 November 2010 07:26
11 November 2010
Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Iraq’s president has asked Shi’ite incumbent Nouri al-Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and form a new government, but a dispute in parliament on a newly reached power-sharing deal prompted most of the Sunni-backed opposition to walk out, underscoring the agreement’s fragility.
Iraqi lawmakers Thursday re-elected Jalal Talabani as president. The Kurdish leader then nominated Mr. Maliki to form a unity government, paving the way for his return to office for another four-year term. Under Iraqi law, he has 30 days to form his Cabinet.
But newly elected parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab, and roughly two-thirds of the other 91 lawmakers from the Iraqiya coalition — including former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — walked out of Thursday’s session to protest the rejection of a series of demands they made.
Among them were commitments to release detainees and reverse the disqualification of three Iraqiya candidates for their alleged ties to the outlawed Ba’ath Party of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Sunnis view the controversial de-Baathification process as a Shi’ite attempt to bar them from returning to power.
Nujaifi later returned to the session, where voting had continued on Mr. Talabani’s re-election. Earlier Thursday, parliament members also elected a Sadrist Movement member and a Kurdistan Alliance lawmaker as deputy speakers.
The walkout underlined the Sunni minority’s ambivalence over the prospective new unity government outlined in the deal, which ensures continued Shi’ite domination while giving Sunnis a role far short of the greater political power they seek.
U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday welcomed the progress but urged Iraqi leaders involved in the fragile power-sharing arrangement to aim for an “inclusive government.” The White House said Mr. Obama spoke to several Iraqi leaders in recent days and stressed the need for Mr. Allawi, other Iraqiya members and all the winning political blocs to hold leadership posts in the country’s new government.
Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani, who brokered the agreement, said Thursday Mr. Allawi would lead a newly created committee overseeing foreign policy and national security, the National Council for Strategic Policies. The council’s powers, however, remain undefined.
For their part, Iraqi Kurds feel they have solidified their role in government. Though the presidency is a largely symbolic position, Mr. Talabani has been able to wield considerable power because of his background as a longtime Kurdish leader.
Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya alliance won the most seats in inconclusive March elections but was unable to gain enough support from other parties to create a majority coalition. Iraqiya’s inability to find political partners allowed Mr. Maliki, who partnered with anti-American Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in an Iranian-backed coalition, to gain momentum and support.
If the shaky deal holds, it could end the stalemate that has paralyzed Iraqi state institutions as security forces battle insurgents who have taken advantage of the political vacuum to stoke violence.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.
Obama: India and Pakistan Must Bolster Peace Efforts – Voice of America
Last Updated on Sunday, 7 November 2010 12:26 Written by admin Sunday, 7 November 2010 12:26
07 November 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama is in New Delhi after discussing the sensitive subject of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan during a meeting with Indian students in Mumbai.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted Mr. Obama upon his arrival Sunday at the airport in the Indian capital, the second stop on the president’s 10-day Asian tour.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet for dinner later Sunday, before announcing a series of deals Monday on issues including counter-terrorism and climate change.
Mr. Obama told students in Mumbai Sunday the U.S. is working with Pakistan aggressively to combat the cancer of Islamic extremism, but that progress is not coming as quickly as the U.S. would like.
India blames Pakistan for fostering Islamic extremists who carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which killed more than 160 people.
Mr. Obama told students gathered at Mumbai’s St. Xavier College Sunday India has the biggest stake in Pakistan’s success in the fight against extremists. He said India does not need the distraction of security troubles at a time when it is starting to see success on the global economic stage.
President Obama called on the long-time rivals to bolster peace efforts, and said the United States is willing to be a friend and partner in the process although it cannot impose peace on the two nations.
Mr. Obama also said a strong relationship between the U.S. and India has “limitless potential,” potentially serving as an anchor for security, prosperity and progress for Asia as a whole.
Mr. Obama says he believes India is no longer a rising power, but one that is taking its rightful place among world leaders.
President Obama began Sunday in Mumbai, dancing with Indian students to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Mr. Obama will next visit Indonesia on his 10-day Asian tour. He lived in Indonesia during part of his childhood. He then travels to South Korea for the summit of leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies.
The president is expected to raise the issue of China’s tight control of its currency, which many lawmakers and business leaders say makes Chinese goods cheaper to sell on world markets. Mr. Obama is also hoping to announce progress on the long-stalled U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement.
President Obama will also visit Japan.
America and India: The Almost-Special Relationship – New York Times
Last Updated on Saturday, 6 November 2010 09:26 Written by admin Saturday, 6 November 2010 09:26
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America and India: The Almost-Special Relationship
New York Times
Rajanish Kakade/AP By JIM YARDLEY NEW DELHI — At a panel discussion last week on relations between India and the United States, Strobe Talbott, the former American diplomat, told an audience of Indian business leaders that he had learned a valuable …
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Obama Arrives in India for Start of Asia Tour – Voice of America
Last Updated on Saturday, 6 November 2010 02:26 Written by admin Saturday, 6 November 2010 02:26
06 November 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama is in India, the first stop on a 10-day tour of Asia, focused on boosting economic ties.
President Obama arrived in India’s financial center, Mumbai, early Saturday.
He will also travel to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.
In India, President Obama will meet with government officials to discuss trade and cooperation in counter-terrorism.
U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters on the way to Mumbai that India is “a cornerstone relationship for the United States.”
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will stay in Mumbai at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the targets of the November 2008 terrorist attacks that killed 166 people. Mr. Obama is expected to meet with survivors and pay tribute at a permanent memorial to those who died.
He also will meet with U.S. and Indian business leaders. The president told reporters Thursday the region is one of “the fastest growing markets in the world,” and his goal is to open up those markets to sell U.S. goods and create jobs
Mr. Obama’s stay in India will be the longest time he has spent in a foreign country since taking office.
After India, Mr. Obama will visit Indonesia, where he lived during part of his childhood, then travel to Seoul for the summit of leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies.
The president is expected to raise the issue of China’s tight control of its currency, which many lawmakers and business leaders say makes Chinese goods cheaper to sell on the world markets. Mr. Obama is also hoping to announce progress on the long-stalled U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement.
President Obama is undertaking his trip to Asia days after his Democratic Party suffered a heavy defeat in midterm congressional elections, losing control of the House of Representatives and several seats in the Senate.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.