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Posts Tagged ‘diplomacy’

Obama to launch Asian diplomacy push

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 at 4:36 am

 US President Barack Obama, twice forced to cancel a trip to Asia this year, will launch a major diplomatic push on the region by meeting five key leaders at this weekend’s G20 summit.

The White House said Obama would have meetings in Toronto with the leaders of India, China, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia, and five of his six bilateral encounters there will focus on Asia.

Aides said Obama wanted to make a statement about the importance with which he views US links with the dynamic region, ahead of a planned trip to India, South Korea and Japan in November.

“You’ll note that five out of the six bilaterals mentioned are with Asia-Pacific countries,” a senior administration official told reporters.

“That is, I think, an eloquent demonstration of the importance that the president attaches to Asia, the importance of Asia to our political security and economic interests.

“It’s an area of rising influence globally.”

A man holds a banner dipicting US President Barack Obama during a pro-Obama rally in Jakarta in March.

Obama, who will also attend a G8 summit in Canada, will discuss key global issues, including emerging from the worst economic crisis in decades, and security threats including North Korea with the Asian leaders, aides said.

He will hold the latest of his regular meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, which will take place days after Beijing moved towards a key US foreign policy goal, letting the yuan trade more freely against the dollar.

“We of course have been cooperating and coordinating closely with China on a number of leading priorities heading into this summit, both in terms of the global economy and in terms of security issues,” an official said.

The administration says its relationship with China is productive, despite disagreements on some key issues, and points to the recently passed UN Security Council sanctions on Iran as the fruit of good ties with Beijing.

Obama is also likely to discuss North Korea’s nuclear challenge with Hu, and the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, which an investigation blamed on Pyongyang.

North Korea will also be the dominant issue when Obama meets South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak also on Saturday.

“The focus of this meeting will be security and alliance issues in the wake of the sinking of the (ship) as the result of a torpedo attack by North Korea,” an official said.

The meeting will be a public and a private demonstration of our strong solidarity with our South Korean ally in the wake of this episode.”

On Sunday, Obama will have breakfast in Toronto with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia.

The US leader was forced to cancel a planned visit to Indonesia, a country where he spent four years as a boy, earlier this month, as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill escalated into America’s worst environmental crisis.

Earlier in the year, a previous attempt to visit Indonesia was dropped as Obama successfully lobbied for his landmark health care reform bill.

“Regrettably, (Obama) has not been able to make it to Indonesia yet, but he very much wants to continue the close coordination that we have with Indonesia on a number of issues,” the official said.

Obama will also meet Sunday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as a precursor to his promised trip to India in November — when he is also due to attend the next G20 summit in South Korea and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in Japan.

The president will also have his first encounter with new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, after he replaced Yukio Hatoyama, who lost his job amid a row over the location of a US base.

Obama and Kan will also likely discuss North Korea and Iran.

Source: SGGP

Public diplomacy reaps more success

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Public diplomacy reaps more success

QĐND – Monday, April 19, 2010, 21:34 (GMT+7)

Participants in a conference held by the Central Commission for External Relations in Hanoi on April 19 emphasized the importance of people-to-people diplomacy in relation to State diplomacy and Party external relations.

According to speakers, Vietnam’s public diplomacy has continued to play an active role in expanding cooperation and diversifying forms of activities while deepening the ties with traditional friends, progressive forces worldwide and major regions in 2010.

They also suggested that this year, people-to-people diplomacy should pay more attention to activities within the ASEAN framework and build on the ASEAN presidency that Vietnam currently holds.

Participants said more coordination is needed between domestic agencies and Vietnamese embassies to promote the images of the Vietnamese land and people and refute incorrect arguments by hostile forces as well as prevent other misunderstandings about Vietnam.

In 2010, they said, priority will be given to the Party’s 11th National Congress and the celebrations of major anniversaries.

In 2009, Vietnam sent more than 700 delegations abroad comprising nearly 5,000 people, and received some 600 international delegations of nearly 6,000 people in total through the channel of public diplomacy.

The conference on people-to-people diplomacy in 2010 was attended by Permanent Member of the Party’s Secretariat Truong Tan Sang and Foreign Minister-cum-Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Netanyahu, Obama meet in night of White House diplomacy

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama met twice during a dramatic evening in the White House, but no signs emerged of a breakthrough in a row over Jewish settlements.

Obama hosted Netanyahu in the Oval Office late Tuesday for 90 minutes, but with the two sides embroiled in their most testy disagreement in years, unusually did not appear before the cameras with his visitor.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) walks into the West Wing of the White House in Washington. AFP photo

As an evening of intense diplomacy developed, Netanyahu then asked to consult privately with his staff, a US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

After just over an hour ensconced in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing, the Israeli leader asked to see Obama again, and the president returned from his family quarters for a second Oval Office encounter of 35 minutes.

Shortly afterwards, Netanyahu swept away from the White House in his limousine, without glancing at reporters.

White House officials declined to describe the tone or the substance of the talks or to say if any agreements had been proposed or reached.Chronology: US-Israeli relations since 1991

Earlier, Netanyahu, joined at the talks by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, took a hard line on US demands for a freeze in settlement construction, saying Washington’s stance could delay peace talks with the Palestinians for a year.

“If the Americans support the unreasonable demands made by the Palestinians regarding a freeze on settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the peace process risks being blocked for a year,” Netanyahu said.

“Relations between Israel and the United States should not be hostage to differences between the two countries over the peace process with the Palestinians,” he was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

The talks, which likely also focused on Iran’s nuclear challenge, as Washington tries to focus the world on framing tough sanctions towards Tehran, took place amid one of the most corrosive US-Israeli rows in decades.

Netanyahu declared late Monday in a passionate speech to the powerful US-Israel lobby AIPAC that “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” spelling out an apparent message of no compromise towards Obama.

The United States has warned that building more Jewish settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem directly undermines US credibility as a mediator and efforts to get “proximity” talks started between Israel and the Palestinians.

Washington reacted angrily when Israel’s government announced the construction of 1,600 settler homes in the eastern part of the city while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.

Despite Netanyahu’s apology over the timing of the announcement, the row has rumbled on for two weeks — with neither side showing signs of backing down.

Even as Tuesday’s White House meeting went ahead, it emerged in Israel that local officials had given final approval for the building of 20 apartments for Jewish settlers at the site of a former Palestinian hotel in east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu says he is simply following the policies of all Israeli governments since 1967, when Israel won a war with its Arab neighbors and seized east Jerusalem, which it later annexed in a move not recognized by any major world power.

Israel claims all Jerusalem as its eternal capital. The Palestinians want to make the predominantly Arab eastern sector of the city the future seat of their state.

Deepening the sense of crisis Tuesday, the Palestinians warned Netanyahu’s position threatened to destroy hopes for serious peace negotiations.

“What Netanyahu said does not help American efforts and will not serve the efforts of the American administration to return the two sides to indirect negotiations,” Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

Netanyahu met Obama as his government was embroiled in another row, this time with Britain, over the use of fake British passports by an Israeli hit squad blamed for killing Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai.

Britain ordered the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the affair. Israel, which has said there is no evidence its spy agency Mossad is to blame, said it was disappointed at the decision.

Despite criticizing Israel over settlements, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told AIPAC on Monday that US support for Israel’s security is “rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.”

China adopts “malaria diplomacy” as part of Africa push

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

In a laboratory in China’s southern city of Guangzhou, scientists are trying to enhance the rare sweet wormwood shrub, from which artemisinin — the best drug to fight malaria — is derived.

China hopes to improve and use the drug as a uniquely Chinese weapon to fight malaria not on its own soil, where the deadly disease has been sharply pruned back, but in Africa, where it still kills one child every 30 seconds.

Already, a Chinese-backed eradication program on a small island off Africa has proven a huge success.

Away from its practical application, scientists back in the lab in Guangzhou are also achieving results. In one of the lab’s refrigerators sit a dozen triangular test-tubes holding seedlings of the sweet wormwood shrub, also called Artemisia annua, which has only been found in the wild in China, Vietnam and border areas in Myanmar.

“There are about 0.6 parts of artemisinin in every 100 parts of the plant in the wild, but we have managed to increase the artemisinin content to between 1.2 and 1.8,” said Feng Liling, assistant professor at the Tropical Medicine Institute in Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

China pledged to help Africa fight malaria at the triennial Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2006 and has since set up 30 anti-malaria and prevention units. The next FOCAC meeting is in Egypt on November 8-9.

Helping developing countries eradicate malaria will help China project its influence and prestige as a global power, said politics professor Joseph Cheng at City University in Hong Kong.

“China is exploring cost effective ways to help the Third World and is interested in making distinct contributions,” Cheng said, adding that Western interest was often lacking in a disease that seldom afflicts rich country citizens.

“Malaria suits these requirements. It is not that expensive. It is cheaper than fighting AIDS.”


Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria have begun farming hybrids of the sweet wormwood shrub with Chinese and Vietnamese ancestry, said Li Guoqiao at the Tropical Medicine Institute.

“I inspected the plantations and the plants are growing well,” Li told Reuters in an interview.

Asked if China would export the high-yielding Artemisia annua to Africa, Li said: “We want to grow them in China and whatever we export depends on bilateral relationships.”

Li is spearheading a project on the tiny African island of Moheli, which belongs to the Comoros group of islands at the northern mouth of the Mozambique Channel.

In mid-November 2007, he launched a “mass drug administration” exercise on the island. Its entire population of 36,000 had to take two courses of anti-malarial drugs to flush the parasite from their bodies — on day one and day 40.

The rationale was that while mosquitoes pass the parasite from person to person, they are merely “vectors” and not hosts. The real reservoir of the disease is people, and many carry the parasite in their bodies without even showing symptoms.

“The key is to eradicate the source, which is in people. Without the source, the vectors are harmless,” he said.

The results were startling. While the parasite carrier rate in Moheli ranged from 5 to 94 percent from village to village before the exercise, that fell to 1 percent or less from January 2008 and has stayed around that figure since.

“Before, 70 to 80 percent of hospital patients were there for malaria. After that, you hardly find any,” Li said.

Comoros now bars anyone from entering Moheli unless they take a course of antimalarial drugs — a mix of artemisinin, primaquine and pyrimethamine that China provides for free.

Its government has asked Beijing to roll out the same program in two of its larger islands, Grande Comore and Anjouan, with a total population of 760,000. Li said Beijing supported the idea in principle and that funding was being worked out.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

US envoy in shuttle diplomacy for settlement deal

In World on September 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm

JERUSALEM, Sept 18, 2009 (AFP) – US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders again on Friday, trying to wrest a deal on settlements ahead of the UN General Assembly next week.

The former US senator huddled for two hours with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for a third time this week and was then to head to the West Bank for his second meeting in just days with president Mahmud Abbas.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell (R) speaks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit as they exit the presidential palace following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on September 17, 2009 (AFP photo)

No statement was released at the end of the Netanyahu meeting, but Israeli sources said that Mitchell was due to return to Jerusalem for more talks after his meeting with Abbas.

In the meantime, Netanyahu was to meet with a handful of the most important ministers in his cabinet, they said.

Mitchell is aiming to get some kind of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction that would be acceptable to the Palestinians and enable the resumption of peace talks that were suspended in late December amid a devastating Israeli offensive on Gaza.

An agreement on settlements could pave the way for a three-way meeting between Netanyahu, Abbas and US President Barack Obama at the UN General Assembly next week.

Netanyahu said late on Wednesday that it was far from clear whether such a meeting would take place.

“The three-way meeting has not been set yet. But I’ll go anyway and give my speech” at the General Assembly, he told reporters.

Mitchell has been in the region for nearly a week, urging all parties to “take responsibility” for peace amid US efforts to secure a comprehensive regional deal to resolve the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.

“The United States is asking all the parties, Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states to take responsibility for peace through actions that will help create a positive context for the relaunch of negotiations,” he said on Thursday after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

But he has faced an uphill task in the face of Israel’s refusal to cede to US demands that it freeze construction in settlements in the occupied West Bank including annexed east Jerusalem — a move on which the Palestinians insist in order to resume peace talks.

On Monday, Netanyahu repeated he had no intention of implementing a complete freeze, saying any halt would be temporary, would not extend to east Jerusalem and would exclude some 2,500 units already under construction.

Mitchell said at the start of his latest tour that the United States shared a “sense of urgency” for peace talks to resume before the end of September.

Standing in the way are Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land — home to half a million Israelis, viewed as illegal by the international community and a key obstacle to reaching a peace deal.

Obama’s administration has been working towards a comprehensive peace package that would see Israel strike deals with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon, and Arab countries normalise relations with the Jewish state.

Israelis and Palestinians resumed negotiations in November 2007 after a nearly seven-year hiatus, but the talks made little visible progress and were suspended in late December after Israel launched its war in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Source: SGGP