U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo in Ankara for talks on Turkey’s Syria offensive
Robie de Guzman • October 17, 2019 • 406
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Ankara on Thursday (October 17) as part of Washington’s efforts to convince Turkey to halt its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.
Turkey’s week-long assault has created a new humanitarian crisis in Syria with 160,000 civilians taking flight, a security alert over thousands of Islamic State fighters abandoned in Kurdish jails, and a political maelstrom at home for Trump.
Trump has been accused of abandoning Kurdish fighters, who were Washington’s main partners in the battle to dismantle Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria, by withdrawing troops from the border as Turkey launched its offensive on Oct. 9.
Following a phone call with Erdogan, who has rejected calls for ceasefire or mediation, Trump dispatched top aides including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara for emergency talks to try to persuade Turkey to halt the offensive. (Reuters)
The international community has criticized the U.S. decision to quit the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the move has posed negative influences on its own anti-pandemic efforts and also global cooperation.
The United States on Tuesday officially submitted its notification of withdrawal from the WHO to the UN secretary-general, following an announcement made in May. The move came amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the Americas over the past week.
The administration’s move to formally withdraw from WHO is short-sighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous, CEO of the United Nations Foundation Elizabeth Cousens said in a statement.
She said the WHO is the only body able to lead and coordinate the global response to COVID-19 and terminating the relationship undermines the global effort to beat this virus.
Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn said the “U.S. withdrawal from the WHO is a setback for international cooperation,” and called for global coordination which is necessary for fighting the pandemic.
“The U.S. withdrawal from WHO is a mistake. It is the public health authority for the world’s poorest and many will now see the U.S. as less reliable, diminishing its influence,” tweeted Tom Tugendhat, a UK Conservative Member of Parliament and also chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza made comments saying that the U.S. withdrawal decision is “serious and wrong”.
With regard to the U.S. move of pulling out from international organizations and treaties, Pascal Boniface, Founder and Director of French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), said its unilateralism inclination sabotages the current international mechanism.
“The move of withdrawing from international organizations has become a customary gimmick by the U.S. government. The U.S. pulled out from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Paris Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,” he said.
“We can say that the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO has reflected the overall attitude of the government, which broke the current international mechanism and multilateralism. It is to pursue unilateralism,” he added. (Reuters)
United States Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun held a meeting with South Korea’s top security adviser on Thursday (July 9) before heading off to Japan in a trip overshadowed by stalled denuclearisation talks with North Korea.
According to Seoul’s presidential office, Biegun met with Suh Hoon, a former spy chief, and discussed the North’s recent movement and ways to foster peace on the Korean peninsula. Suh said he “highly appreciated” the U.S. envoy’s efforts to resume talks with North Korea.
North Korea has said it has no intention of sitting down again with the United States, though U.S. President Donald Trump said this week he would be open to another summit with leader Kim Jong Un. (Reuters)
If the United States were willing to reduce its nuclear arsenal to China’s level, China would “be happy to” participate in trilateral arms control negotiation with the U.S and Russia, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday (July 8).
The U.S. has repeatedly called for China to join in trilateral negotiations to extend a flagship nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia that is due to expire in February next year.
Fu Cong, head of arms control department of Chinese foreign ministry, reiterated to reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that China has no interest in joining the trilateral negotiation. (Reuters)
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