A variation on the caption from a cartoon that ran just over a year ago:
A variation on the caption from a cartoon that ran just over a year ago:
Syria will give up control of chemical weapons
Syria will cede control of its chemical weapons to the international community, the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has said in a yet-to-be-aired interview on Russian television.
In what is believed to be his first public acknowledgement of the country’s chemical weapon stockpile, Interfax news agency quoted the president as saying the move had not been prompted by US military threats but Russian diplomatic efforts.
“Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision,” Interfax said, quoting the state-run Rossiya-24 channel’s yet-to-be-aired interview.
Assad also told Rossiya-24 that Syria would submit documents to the United Nations for an agreement governing the handover of its chemical arsenal.
The reports came hours before the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and US secretary of state, John Kerry, were due to meet in Geneva to discuss the proposal, which Lavrov announced on Monday along with Moscow’s plan for implementing it.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has said the initiative will not succeed unless Washington abandons plans for potential air strikes to punish Assad for a poison gas attack on 21 August that the US president, Barack Obama, blames on Syrian government forces. (Source: The Guardian)
This cartoon was posted to NPR’s Double Take, with lots of commentary from supporters and detractors.
Secretary of State John Kerry has called on China to do more to help resolve the North Korean missile crisis, saying the country provided the Pyongyang regime with a “lifeline.”
In an interview with NBC’s TODAY that aired on Monday, Kerry also said any deal with the rogue state would need to be structured so that Pyongyang could not later renege on its terms.
In recent days the North Koreans have readied missiles for launch and some speculated this would happen on Monday, when the nation celebrates the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, current leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.
In an interview in Tokyo before flying back to the U.S. on Monday, Kerry said that if the missiles were not fired “that would mean perhaps we’re turning a corner and there’s a possibility of moving in a better direction.”
“Everybody understands the negative side of what happens if there is a shoot. And my hope is that we can move in a different direction here. China, I think, is serious about this,” he said. “They understand the instability this is creating.”
Kerry said it was “very important” for the United States to make clear to North Korea that there would be “consequences for their action” and to reaffirm its security agreements with its allies in the region.
“That done, I think it is very important to the Chinese to focus on the fact that … if they’re not prepared to put the pressure on the North — and they have the greatest ability to have an impact on the North — then this can become more destabilizing,” he said. “And that instability is not in China’s interest, certainly. It’s not in anybody’s interest in the region.”(Source: NBC News)
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday September 29, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in New York City Thursday night to receive an impressively named award — the World Statesman of the Year — bestowed by a U.S.-based inter-faith group.
In a speech salted with reminders about Canada’s partnership with the United States and other “like-minded” nations, Harper told a black-tie crowd he was accepting the honour not for his own qualities, but “on behalf of the unique and magnificent country I have the privilege of leading.”
But while Harper was being honoured in the U.S., he was facing criticism at home. Opposition politicians say if Harper truly was a statesman, he’d make time during his trip to New York to speak at the United Nations.
World leaders have been addressing the UN General Assembly this week. Everyone from U.S. President Barack Obama to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken the podium to address the world. But when Canada’s turn to speak comes up, Harper won’t be there.
The job of representing Canada will fall to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
The prime minister has only spoken to the General Assembly twice since taking office in 2006. To the opposition, it’s a clear sign the prime minister simply doesn’t like the UN.
“He’s going to New York to receive an award. That’s nice. I’m happy for him,” said NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar.
“But his responsibility as a prime minister — one of his responsibilities — is to go to the UN to explain what our foreign policy is. Particularly now. We have no shortage of issues to deal with.” (Source: CBC News)
Letter to the Editor:
Cartoonist Graeme MacKay missed the mark with his caricature of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The biggest joke of the opening session of UN General Assembly was the “red-line” speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the Wile E. Coyote-style cartoon of a grenade with a wick. The Israeli leader, whose country has a nuclear arsenal and who hasn”t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is accusing the Iranian leader, who has signed the NNPT and declares he has no intention of making a bomb, of being a threat to the world.
As for the words “hate, hate, hate” coming out of Ahmadinejad’s mouth, The Spectator has a duty to its readers to provide accurate translations from the original Farsi of the statements made by the Iranian leader, rather than self-serving, twisted simulations manufactured in the US and Israel. Demonstrations will take place across Canada, the U.S. and the UK on Oct. 6 because ordinary people worry we are being led down the warpath against Iran based on the same falsehoods which led to war in Iraq.
Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday May 29, 2012
Peace envoy Kofi Annan expressed “grave concern” to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday and Western nations threw out its envoys to protest against a massacre of 108 civilians, many of them children, in the town of Houla.
France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia said they were expelling the Syrian envoys from their capitals in a move that was coordinated with the United States and underlined Assad’s diplomatic isolation.
The killings in Houla drew a chorus of powerful condemnation from around the world, with the United Nations saying entire families had been shot dead in their homes.
“Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Monde. “He must relinquish power. The sooner the better.” His Australian counterpart Bob Carr said: “This massacre of more than 100 men, women and children in Houla was a hideous and brutal crime.”
Assad’s government late on Monday denied having anything to do with the deaths, or even having heavy weapons in the area.
Western countries that have called for Assad to step down were hoping that the Houla killings would tip global opinion, notably that of Syria’s main protector Russia, towards more effective action against Damascus.
Annan drew up a peace plan backed by the United Nations and the Arab League to steer a way out of the 14-month-old uprising against Assad. But six weeks after it was agreed by Damascus and the rebels, the bloodshed has barely slowed.
Annan told Assad of the “grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria, including in particular the recent events in Houla”, his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement after two hours of talks in Damascus. (Source: Reuters)