News

    Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on Iraq Offers US Interaction with Countries in the Region

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The recent international conference on Iraq held in Sharm el-Sheikh was the biggest and most inclusive diplomatic push to end that nation’s security crisis since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.  During an unannounced visit to Baghdad earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says he pressed Iraqi leaders to make progress on pending security and political issues.  Vice President Cheney is also visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to garner their support in helping to stabilize Iraq.

    According to many analysts, the U.S.-Syrian meeting on the sidelines of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference was a long anticipated breakthrough.  Syria’s Ambassador to Washington described Secretary Rice’s meeting with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem as “significant.”  Speaking with host Judith Latham of VOA News Now’s International Press Club, Nadia Bilbassy, senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Arabiya television, says that’s the way the Arab World sees it, too.  She says Secretary Rice told the Syrians that Washington wants Damascus to do more to seal its borders and stop foreign fighters from entering Iraq.  Syria’s Ambassador to Washington later described the high-level meeting as a “tipping point” in U.S.- Syrian bilateral relations.  Ms. Bilbassy says it seems to signal a “change in attitude … regarding the two pariah states” – Syria and Iran – that the United States had refused to talk to.

    Gerard Baker, U.S. editor of The Times of London, says that people in Britain also see the meeting as a breakthrough, even though “they don’t expect anything much to come of it.”  Mr. Baker says the British are “pretty pessimistic” about Iraq.  There is, however, a belief that Washington should talk with countries in the region, whatever it may think of their policies regarding Iraq.

    Although no high-level meeting took place between Secretary Rice and her Iranian counterpart at Sharm el-Sheikh, her chief coordinator for Iraq and America’s Ambassador to Iraq did meet with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for a few minutes.  People in the Arab World see that as promising, according to Nadia Bilbassy, and there is an “understanding in the region that Iranian influence has to be halted.”

    Iranian journalist Ali-Reza Nourizadeh, who directs the Center for Arab-Iranian Studies in London, says he faults the Iranian Foreign Minster for using an entertainer’s red dress as a “pretext” to leave a diplomatic dinner early.  And in that way, he could avoid speaking with the U.S. Secretary of States.  But Mr. Nourizadeh says Iranians were not fooled because they had earlier seen President Ahmadinejad sitting with the Emir of Qatar, watching dances during opening ceremonies of the Asian Games in Doha.  Unfortunately, he says Iran lost an important opportunity.  Mr. Nourizadeh also says that not addressing the stabilization of Iraq makes no practical sense because Iran certainly does not want to see Iraq fall apart, which would in fact be a “nightmare” scenario for Tehran.

    On the other hand, Nadia Bilbassy says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s promise to accelerate political reforms, to reconcile ethnic groups, and to disband and disarm all militias was greeted with much “skepticism” in the Arab World.  British journalist Gerard Baker says people in Britain do not find the Iraqi Prime Minister’s promise of reform and national reconciliation credible either.  The view in Washington is that success in Iraq depends largely on the “political will” of the Prime Minister and it remains to be seen whether benchmarks for progress on the political front will be met.

    To listen to all of the comments, click on the audio link above

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora