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  • US Travel Ban Implementation Moves Ahead with Little Protest

    NEW YORK � President Donald Trump’s modified travel ban has been implemented with little immediate protest as immigration lawyers gathered at U.S. airports to aid travelers from six affected countries.

    The U.S. activated the new rules Thursday evening, requiring visa applicants from six majority-Muslim nations to have a “bona fide” relationship with a family member or business in the U.S. to be admitted into the country.

    Before the rollout, senior administration officials explained how consular officials should proceed with the visa applications for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

    Anyone in transit to the U.S. with travel scheduled before July 6 will be allowed to enter. Those with travel booked after that date will be addressed “later,” according to senior administration officials.

    Previously scheduled visa application appointments will not be canceled, administration officials said, but all new applicants will have to prove their bona fide relationship to a family member or business in the U.S. in addition to passing traditional screening.

    Acceptable close family relationships include a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling who already is in the United States.

    Relationships that do not meet the requirement include grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, fiance or other extended family. The officials said these distinctions were based on those included in the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

    First court suit

    Late Thursday, the Trump administration added fiance to the acceptable list after Hawaii filed an emergency motion in federal court, asking a judge to clarify that the ban can’t be enforced against relatives, including fiances, not mentioned in the administration’s guidelines.

    U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ordered the Justice Department to respond by Monday and gave Hawaii until July 6 for a rebuttal.

    “I think the Supreme Court actually laid it out very clearly,” New York Immigration Coalition Director of Political Engagement Murad Awawdeh told VOA. “A bona fide relationship is anyone who has a relationship with anyone in the United States or an American entity. And for the department of state to come out with such a new version of what that word actually means, it is kind of disheartening.”

    He added that the Trump administration is trying to “redefine what family means.”

    Awawdeh spoke Thursday at an anti-travel ban protest of about 150 people in New York’s Washington Square.

    Also at the protest was Yemeni American Widad Hassan, who says that choosing between family and country is nothing new. Her sister-in-law and newborn nephew are in Yemen, while her brother is in the U.S., unable to reunite with his family.

    “Do they leave to join their family in Yemen or do they stay here? So, that is pretty much how the ban has impacted us,” said Hassan, adding that the battle is a recurring one. “It is just mentally and emotionally draining, especially when you have family members who are being directly impacted by it.”

    “Hey hey! Ho ho! Syrian refugees have got to go!” shouted an older white man, hoisting a black-and-white “Keep Syrians Out” poster outside a #NoMuslimBanEver Emergency Town Hall in New York.

    Travel ban supporter Pauline Pujol told VOA, “I think Donald Trump is 100% correct. He is protecting the country. A president is supposed to protect the country; there is nothing racist about it. It’s about security.”

    Refugee numbers

    A 120-day ban on refugees and yearly cap of 50,000 total refugees coming to the United States also went into effect Thursday evening; however, any refugee who can prove a relationship to a family member in the U.S. may be allowed entry.

    Senior administration officials said 49,009 refugees had been admitted to the U.S. in fiscal year 2017 as of Wednesday night, nearing the cap three-quarters of the way through the fiscal year that begins in October. But the cap is likely to be exceeded as additional refugees are accepted on the basis of family ties. Officials said about half of refugees admitted to the U.S. have family in the country.

    The Supreme Court partially reinstated the president’s executive order limiting travel after it was halted by two lower courts. The high court will hold its own hearing on the legal challenges in October.

    Trump says the order is necessary to protect national security, with the entry freezes meant to give the government time to strengthen vetting procedures.

    Source: Voice of America

  • Press Briefing on President Trump’s Upcoming Visit to Poland and Germany

    AIDE: Hi. Just want to restate the ground rules. Today’s briefing is off camera, on the record, and the audio is not for broadcast. It is embargoed until the end of the briefing.

    And with that, I will turn the podium over to —

    Q Can you make this on — can you make the audio available? Because it puts radio at a disadvantage.

    AIDE: It is off camera, not for broadcast. Those are the ground rules.

    And now I’m going to turn it over to General H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn. Thank you.

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Good afternoon, everybody. Next Wednesday, President Trump will depart on the second foreign trip of his administration. He will travel first to Warsaw, Poland to meet that country’s leaders and speak to the Polish people. He will continue on to Hamburg, Germany for the G20 and for meetings with many world leaders.

    While this trip is short, the agenda is packed. I’ll run through the objectives and the schedule, and then turn it over to Gary, who will walk you through the President’s agenda for the G20.

    First of all, the primary objectives are three: To promote American prosperity, to protect American interests, and to provide American leadership. These three objectives tie together every engagement President Trump has with foreign leaders, whether here in the White House, as you saw with the strengthening of our strategic partnership with India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit on Monday and we’ll see tonight and tomorrow with the strengthening of our alliance with South Korea during President Moon’s visit.

    Additional objectives for the trip include, first, to strengthen American alliances. America First, as Gary and I have stressed in the past, does not mean America alone. President Trump has demonstrated a commitment to American alliances because strong alliances further American security and American interests.

    While there are no official NATO meetings on this trip, the President will meet with many NATO leaders, and he will reiterate both America’s commitment to NATO’s common defense and his expectation that all countries share responsibilities and burdens for that defense. We’ve seen countries strengthen their defense budgets in response to the President’s call. When we all do more, our alliance becomes stronger and our countries are all more secure.

    Second is to reassert who we are. Traveling to Europe, especially to Central Europe, which had its identity forcibly submerged for so long, is a great way to demonstrate what binds us together not just as an alliance, but as people. America has been influenced by many nations, but we share Europe’s commitment to liberty and rule of law in particular.

    Third is to continue to forge a common understanding of threats. We saw the President make great progress in Saudi Arabia on denying terrorists safe havens, cutting off their funding, and discrediting their perverted ideology. He’ll continue to build on that work while also addressing other threats, including attempts by revisionist powers to subvert the global order that undergirds our common security and economic prosperity.

    The fourth is to develop a common approach to Russia. As the President has made clear, he’d like the United States and the entire West to develop a more constructive relationship with Russia. But he’s also made clear that we will do what is necessary to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior.

    Fifth is to expand economic opportunity for Americans. Did I skip — I think I skipped — no, okay. Again, I’ll let Gary cover most of this, but from a foreign policy perspective the President’s goal will be to make clear, even to our allies, that America cannot tolerate unfair trade and economic practices that disadvantage our workers and our industries. We’re prepared to act where necessary, but we hope to resolve our differences in ways that benefit all sides and are based on really a drive toward reciprocal trade and economic relationships.

    The sixth is energy. We want to create robust, open and fair markets that drive economic growth and leave no countries hostage to energy-market manipulation. We are committed to the energy security of our allies and partners, and to the diversification of energy sources, supplies and routes. The President’s America First energy plan will help us achieve all of these objectives.

    The seventh is environment and climate, which Gary will cover as well.

    Now, just a brief look at the schedule. In Poland, the President will meet with President Duda, the leader of a staunch NATO ally and of a nation that remains one of America’s closest friends. He will speak to 12 Central European, Baltic, and Western Balkan leaders at the Three Seas Conference. His remarks will focus on infrastructure development and energy security, highlighting, for instance, the first shipments of American LNG into Poland earlier this month. He will also meet with Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic who is the co-host of the Three Seas Conference.

    Then he will give a major speech to the Polish people at Krasinski Square, epicenter of the 1944 Warsaw uprising against the brutal Nazi occupation. He will praise Polish courage throughout history’s darkest hour, and celebrate Poland’s emergence as a European Power. And he will call on all nations to take inspiration from the spirit of the Poles as we confront today’s challenges. He will lay out a vision, not only for America’s future relationship with Europe, but the future of our transatlantic alliance and what that means for American security and American prosperity.

    I’ll let Gary cover the details of the G20. I’ll just note that while in Hamburg, the President will meet with many world leaders, including Chancellor Merkel of Germany, the host of the G20, Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, President Moon of South Korea, President Xi of China, President Putin of Russia, President PeAa Nieto of Mexico, President Jokowi of Indonesia, and Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, among others.

    With that, I’ll turn it over to Gary.

    MR.COHN: Thank you. Thank you, H.R.

    Let me go through the G20 quickly, because there’s a lot of overlap with what H.R. just talked about. I won’t go through the individual meetings but I’ll touch on the major broad themes here.

    The President’s primary objectives of these meetings is to work with our partners to jumpstart the world economy. Economic growth around the world has been far too weak for far too long. It’s important that leading economies of the G7 take steps in their own countries to strengthen economic growth, but also to work together to address economic challenges that cross all of our borders.

    Here at home, the President has embarked on a strong pro-growth agenda featuring deregulation, tax reform, and infrastructure investment. On the trip, he will support G20 countries continuing to proactively use all the tools at their disposal — monetary, fiscal, and structural — to strengthen growth in their countries. Importantly, the G20 also needs to do more to address global imbalances, especially from overcapacity in industrial sectors.

    Which brings me to trade, and I’ll repeat something H.R. said: On trade, no less than on alliances, America First does not mean America alone. The goal of U.S. trade policy is to expand trade in a way that are free and fair. Insisting on fair trade is the best way to ensure the long-term strength of the international trading system. We look forward to engaging in free and fair trade with the G20 economies. The United States stands firm against all unfair trading practices, including massive distortions in the global steel market and other non-market practices that harm U.S. workers. We ask the G20 economies to join us in this effort and to take concrete actions to solve these problems. But let us be clear: We will act to ensure a level playing field for all.

    On energy, the President remains committed to working with world leaders and private sectors on sound environmental policies and on innovative technologies. We have been mindful of the fact that, while renewables have a role to play, we cannot achieve the growth or anti-poverty agenda we want without strong contributions from clean fossil fuel technologies which, in the United States, is a global leader.

    On climate, the President looks forward to discussing his decision to leave the Paris Agreement with the other G20 leaders. He’ll make clear that he has decided to leave the agreement because it was a bad deal for the United States, but that he is open to reengaging in the agreement or a new agreement if it makes sense for the American people.

    Another focus of the G20 will be famine and other global crises. We are focused on the crisis in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia, and recently announced that the United States would provide more than $329 million in additional humanitarian assistance in this crisis — bringing the total U.S. humanitarian assistance here to nearly $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2017. The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance here. The assistance we provide represents the best of Americans’ generosity and goodwill. It will also improve our national security by helping to stabilize insecure regions while building strong relations with nations and people around the world.

    Finally, the United States is pleased that the G20 will have a focus on women’s economic empowerment. We believe that gender equality and women’s empowerment is vital in today’s labor market. We are advocating for more equality and equal access to the workplace, financial services, and the labor market with quality employment for women and men all throughout the world.

    With that, General H.R. McMaster and myself are happy to take your questions.

    Well, that was quick. (Laughter.)

    Q Hey, Gary. A couple of questions for both of you. One on Russia and one on climate. Can you talk about the meeting with President Putin? What are the President’s objectives in that meeting? And will he bring up Russia’s interference in the 2016 election? Either of you.

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Well, there’s no specific agenda. It’s really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about. And that’s — and he will talk with many other leaders during the conference as well.

    Q And does he want to talk about election interference? Is that something he plans to bring up?

    MR. COHN: We don’t have an agenda set up for these meetings right now. As you know, these meetings are a week away. We’re still finalizing schedules. So agendas for meetings have not been set up at this point.

    Q Just on climate, I want to get you on that. Because Angela Merkel is now saying that she is not going to overlook tensions with the U.S. when it comes to the Paris Agreement. You noted just now, and the President has noted, he wants to renegotiate this Paris climate deal. In what concrete ways does he expect to do that, given what it took to get the deal in the first place?

    MR. COHN: Well, look the President has been very clear on climate and on Paris. He cares very much about the climate. He cares about the environment. But he has to enter into a deal that’s fair for the American people, the American workers. He’s done everything he’s done based on job creation, economic growth in the United States.

    Q Then what will he ask for?

    MR. COHN: He’s going to ask for a fair and level playing field. We cannot be in a position where the United States is cutting and cutting emissions while other countries continue to grow until 2030. That doesn’t seem like it’s a fair and level playing field. We want a level playing field, just like everything else. We’re looking for fairness across the board in the agreement.

    Q Can I ask you about the Russia meeting a little bit, to follow up on that? Do you see that as a full-fledged meeting, as a bilateral, like we’ve been reading that the President wants? Or is it just a pull-aside? What’s the format of the meeting?

    MR. COHN: Well, look, in the G20 meetings as a whole, the world leaders are gathered. We will have pull-asides, we’ll have bilaterals. As I said, the schedule is being formalized right now. We would imagine that the countries that H.R. talked about, we would be planning on bilateral meetings. But they’re during the G20 meetings. So these are not long, long meetings. These are bilateral pull-asides during the G20.

    Q I want to follow up. Gary, in that sense — because Merkel, May, Abe, Moon — they all fall into a category where the President has had meetings with them before. I would assume you would have a formal agenda. Putin is different from that. Is the Putin one going to be a separate bilateral — 10, 20, 30 minutes — not just something that is a chance encounter in the context of the G20? That’s what we’re trying to drive at, that it doesn’t fit into this other category. You have to —

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Indonesia is in that.

    MR. COHN: Indonesia is in it. Singapore is in there. There’s countries at the G20 that, yes, we have met with before, some we’ll meet with tonight for the first time, and there’s other that we will have a second or third meeting with, and they’re the countries that are important to us because of economic relationship, military relationship, a lot of different reasons for us having meetings with them. There will be a more formal schedule as we get closer. But I think you should assume that most of these countries we’re going to have sort of bilateral meetings set up in advance — probably not a formal agenda of what’s on the schedule, but a formal agenda of what time these meetings will happen in a bilateral situation.

    Q — for Russia, as well?

    MR. COHN: Yes, yes.

    Q So the President has laid out to NATO countries some of the things they need to do vis-A�-vis meeting their 2 percent GDP investment in defense. Does he have a similar set of things to ask Moscow, to ask Putin — to say, we need to see you do these trust-building measures before we can normalize relations?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Well, our relationship with Russia is not different from any other country in terms of us communicating to them, really, what our concerns are, where we see problems in the relationship, but also opportunities. Secretary Tillerson, obviously as he does with all countries in the world, has the lead for that and has been engaged in a broad, wide-ranging discussion about irritants, problems in the relationship, but also to explore opportunities — where we can work together in areas of common interest.

    So it won’t be different from our discussions with any other country, really.

    Q Given the assaults on press freedom by the ruling party in Poland, the Law and Justice Party, is the President concerned about assaults on a free press, and former communist countries backsliding as it were? And do you think that making this the first — making Warsaw the first stop on the President’s trip to Europe might send the wrong message, that he endorses such assaults on a free press?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: I don’t think there’s a danger of that at all. I think Poland is a clear choice for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s one of our staunchest allies. It is a NATO ally that will meet and exceed its pledge to go over 2 percent from the Wales conference. It is in many ways a front-line NATO nation in connection with threats on the Eastern flank. It is a country that has partnered with us and had been a great ally during combat missions in Afghanistan and in Iraq, as well. And so this will be — the President will emphasize themes about the past, what Poland has gone through as a nation, what they’ve achieved to fight to be part of Europe. He’ll talk about what Poland is doing now and how our relationship can be strengthened in that context.

    But what he’s really going to talk about I think is also the future — the future of America’s relationship with Poland, with Europe, the importance of transatlantic relationships generally. In the economic context, what Gary has talked about, which is free and fair trade, access to energy.

    And so there are a lot of important things for us to emphasize in connection with the future of our relationship with Poland and with Europe.

    Q Does any of that have to do with attacks on free press and free expression in Poland?

    MR. COHN: So let me just answer the question in G20 terms as well, because it’s interesting — in the G7 as well as the G20, we go through these arduous communique writings. And we as Americans have fought very vigorously to protect intellectual property rights and to protect freedom of speech in Internet. And we’ll continue to do that. We’ll continue to defend that. We did it in the G7 communique; we’re going to do it in the G20 communique.

    So that’s just where we stand.

    You back — the young lady. Yeah, you.

    Q Thank you.

    MR. COHN: No, behind you. The young lady.

    Q I wanted to ask you about this — the comments you made about steel. As you know, they were expecting an omnibus trade deficit report by the end of the week, and there’s also this ongoing 232 investigation by Commerce and Treasury. That seems to tee you up perfectly for a conversation with China and Japan about trade deficits. Do you plan on releasing that information ahead of the G20 and presenting it there?

    And then, secondly, on LNG, if you could just talk about — will the President be offering or brokering any additional deals to backstop European needs in that respect to get them independent from Russia and a reliance on Russian energy?

    MR. COHN: So I’m not sure when the Commerce Department is going to release their final report on the steel industry and what’s been going on there. They have been working on it for quite some period of time, so it’s in draft or final drafting forms. They will be delivering it to the White House at some point.

    But the premise of that report will — we will use that as an opportunity to talk with many of our trading partners around the world. What’s going on in steel — I mentioned steel in my remarks specifically, because if you look at the G7 communique, there has been consensus among our G7 allies that there is overcapacity and there’s dumping in steel. So I think there’s uniformed consensus among all of our G7 allies that we do need to deal with the steel problem specifically.

    On LNG, what the President is committed to do is the President is committed to have a deregulated environment here in the United States where LNG facilities can get licensed, we can license more pipeline systems so we can be in the business of exporting LNG. It’s not the President’s job to broker LNG supply contracts. It’s the President’s job to make sure that the U.S. authorizes facilities to be built in the United States because they need federal approval. And then once those facilities are built, hopefully those facilities enter into long-term supply contracts around the world. Because, uniquely, the rest of the world needs something we have, which is our huge supply of LNG.

    Eamon, in the back.

    Q Thanks, Gary. If you could, could you give us your sense of the state of the relationship between the United States and Germany right now? We’ve had a couple of smallish flash points recently. We see reports that Chancellor Merkel might be preparing to press the U.S. on Paris. We see this moment where Secretary Ross was cut off in mid-speech. How do you see the relationship right now between the United States and Germany?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Okay, the relationship with Germany is as strong as ever. And, of course, there are going to be differences in relations with any country, and we’ll talk frankly about those differences. The President enjoys those conversations.

    But what we should remember about a relationship with Germany and other allies is that we agree on 95 — at least — percent of the key issues, and we’re cooperating every day on those issues. That cooperation, I think, is stronger than ever, and really our common concerns in security in economic development — in our relationships economically.

    So I think that — to answer your question, the relationship is as strong as ever.

    Q Do you see that as a snub of Secretary Ross?

    Q Yes. In terms of —

    MR. COHN: We’ll get you next.

    GENERAL MCMASTER: We’ll get you next. Go ahead, sir.

    MR. COHN: Go ahead.

    Q So in terms of the North Korean question, what more do you think that the President and this administration can do to pressure China? It seems like you have come to the point where you’re realizing that China is not going to do more without more coercion, so what more can you do on that front?

    And then a second question, with regards to Russia: Do you feel like the President is taking seriously the question of Russian meddling in the 2016 election? And do you think — and what has he done to actually address that issue, which a number of senior U.S. officials have raised as a threat on U.S. democracy?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: So, first of all, on North Korea and China’s relationship with us and with others and working on the North Korea problem — there are really three key things that came out of the Mar-a-Lago summit that I think are critical for us to build on.

    It shouldn’t really be about pressuring China, it should be about working with China in our common interests. The first big thing that came out of Mar-a-Lago was a recognition that a nuclear-armed North Korea with long-range missile capabilities is a threat not only to the United States, not only to South Korea and Japan, but also to China. And there was clear acknowledgement by both parties, the United States and in China on that.

    The second is a recognition that while China’s political influence with the regime might be limited, that they have tremendous coercive power in connection with the economic relationship and the trade relationships with North Korea. So China acknowledged that there is a lot that they can do in connection with convincing the North Korean regime that it’s in their interest to denuclearize.

    And the third is critical — is that we agreed on a joint objective of denuclearization of the Peninsula. That’s a solid basis to work together on. There’s a lot more to be done, however. The President has told all of us — he has said that he will not tolerate a North Korean regime that can target the United States, that can reach the United States with a nuclear weapon. He just won’t tolerate it.

    So what we have is a commitment to deliver to him a broad range of options and to do our best to work with everyone, including China, on this. So it’s not a question of pressuring China. It’s a question of working with China to do more about this problem so it doesn’t get to everybody wants to avoid.

    Q Are we doing enough?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Well, I mean, none of us are doing enough. I don’t think China is doing enough now because the problem is not resolved. So the question is, how much more must we do together to address this, short of a military solution. So that’s the kind of discussions that we’ll continue to have with Chinese leadership as we work together with them — not pressuring them — but working with them.

    On the second point on Russia. The President has asked us to work together across all departments and agencies to do, really, three things: to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior — whether it’s cyber threats, whether it’s political subversion here in Europe and elsewhere — in the Balkans now. So confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior and to come up with a strategy to do that.

    The second is to deter Russia, right? Because the worse thing — nobody wants a major power war, right? And so what is it that we have to put in place to be able to deter conflict.

    And then the third thing is to foster areas of cooperation. What are the areas that we can identify in which we can work together with Russia, which is clearly in both of our interests? And there are a lot of problems in the world that fall into that category. North Korea, for example, is one of them; the fight against transnational terrorist organizations is another. So the need to deescalate the Syrian civil war, to defeat ISIS there, and to end that humanitarian catastrophe.

    And so these are areas of discussion, again being led extremely well by Secretary of State Tillerson, and that will continue to be the focus of our Russia policy and strategy.

    Q Okay, thank you, sir. You mentioned that the President will be speaking with the President of Poland. Will he also meet with other leaders of Polish political scene? And this speech in Warsaw is really highly anticipated. So what is the main message the President wants to deliver to the people of Poland?

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Yeah, the main message is that America is with you, America understands that its interests align with the interests of the Polish people, and we are determined to do our best to work together on our common priorities and our common interests.

    Across the three areas — the three main themes that I mentioned at the beginning — which is, first, to protect our security — this is Polish security, American security, our common security; to promote prosperity in terms of economic growth and development, and economic growth and development in a way that protects the environment, that advances our interests in the economic energy realm. And the third is to provide American leadership — American leadership to help connect Poland broadly, to keep Poland connected to what they fought for for so long, which is to be part of Europe. And for American leadership to be associated with the Polish-American relationship, the American-European relationship, and transatlantic relations generally.

    MR. COHN: And, yes, he’s speaking to other Polish leaders. I’ve got to run to Energy Week. I’m on a panel at 2:00. I can take one last question.

    Right there.

    Q Thank you, Mr. Cohn.

    MR. COHN: You’re welcome, sir.

    Q Very quickly, is the IMF going to come up at all when the meeting is held? During the IMF World Bank meeting earlier this year there was considerable discussion that there’s been nothing said from the administration about the IMF and whether the U.S. would continue the same policy which directly connects us to the bailout in Greece.

    MR. COHN: Look, I don’t think the IMF directly will come up during the G20. The IMF will be there. They’re one of the participants at the G20. That said, I’m having discussions with IMF leadership, and we’ve got very amicable discussions with IMF going on.

    Q Madam Lagarde?

    MR. COHN: Yes. Okay, thank you, everyone.

    GENERAL MCMASTER: Thanks, everybody.

    Source: White House

  • UN World Food Programme Welcomes Japanese Contribution To Address Food Insecurity In Yemen

    SANA’A � The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$4.5 million contribution from the Government of Japan, to help WFP fight the devastating food crisis in Yemen, building on the US$12.99 million grant contributed by Japan earlier this year.

    This latest contribution will allow WFP to meet the food needs of more than 760,000 desperately hungry people in Yemen through its general food assistance (GFA) programme, in addition to partly covering the monthly nutrition needs of more than 280,000 pregnant and nursing women across Yemen.

    More than 17 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are suffering from hunger in Yemen. This includes around 6.8 million people who are suffering from extreme hunger and more than one million pregnant and nursing women who are acutely malnourished and face an increased risk of death and disease.

    At a time when millions of Yemenis face the very real prospect of famine, we would like to express our gratitude for the steadfast support of the people and Government of Japan for boosting their support to WFP, said Country Representative and Director Stephen Anderson. By making this second important contribution to WFP’s emergency response this year, Japan also sends a positive signal to other donors as needs are outstripping available resources.

    In Yemen, the needs are higher than ever and funding is urgently required to head off a disaster, especially with an escalating cholera outbreak.

    WFP has been reaching some 4.5 million people on a monthly basis with life-saving assistance including people living in districts most at risk of tipping in to famine. During this year, WFP and its partners aim to provide food assistance to more than 9 million people suffering from extreme hunger and specialized nutritious foods to 2.9 million people mainly children under five years of age.

    Reaching out to vulnerable people in Yemen is Japan’s priority at this critical moment, said Katsuyoshi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to Yemen. We feel privileged to have a strong partnership with WFP that has been tackling the daunting task of alleviating hunger and malnutrition of the Yemeni people.

    In April 2017, WFP launched a new emergency operation to prevent famine and support longer-term recovery in Yemen. The new emergency operation will cost up to US$1.2 billion over a 1-year period to gradually scale up assistance to feed all severely food insecure people in Yemen every month. The success of this operation hinges on immediate sufficient resources from donors.

    The Government of Japan has been one of WFP’s most consistent and reliable partners through funding food assistance to relieve the hunger crisis in Yemen.

    Source: World Food Programme

  • After Attack on IS, Iran Proposes Expanding Missile Program

    Iran’s parliament is considering a proposal to spend nearly $550 million to bolster security and expand the country’s missile program.

    The proposal follows an Iranian rocket strike on Islamic State in Syria that analysts called retaliation for twin terror attacks in Tehran and a warning to regional rivals.

    The bill would raise the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) budget to $8 billion, in addition to an already approved five-year development plan that requires the government to earmark at least 5 percent of the national budget to defense, particularly development of the multidimensional missile program.

    The June 18 strike � the first time Iran fired missiles outside its borders in 30 years � hit IS command centers in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor and a bomb-manufacturing facility outside the city, the IRGC said.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the “Islamic Republic will respond more decisively to any future terrorist attack on Iran’s soil.”

    And former IRGC chief General Mohsen Rezai wrote on Twitter, “The bigger slap is yet to come.”

    A parliament correspondent in Tehran, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was little doubt the bill would pass because it projected patriotism and some legislators are retired IRCG commanders or have strong ties with the force.

    Symbol of pride

    Although Iran’s defense budget is less than those of many of its Arab neighbors, the missile program is considered a symbol of national pride and deterrence.

    Iran has surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar, the kind Iran used to hit IS in Syria. The military also has missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), long enough to reach Israel and U.S. bases.

    Hojatoleslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi, former deputy speaker of parliament, has called the missile program one of the major pillars of sovereignty.

    Babak Taghvaee, a Malta-based Iran military expert, said the additional fund for missile development “would probably be spent on the domestically produced Ya-Ali cruise missile, which was long awaited for financial sources.”

    “I assume a big chunk of this money is going to be dedicated to [research and development] on anti-jamming and target-error-correcting technology,” he said. The money would be insufficient to push Iranian missile capability close to that of Chinese or Russian weapons, but it would help the Iranians “enhance their progress in terms of making missiles more accurate.”

    Still, the timing of the bill, which will be considered in the coming days, and the agility to be able to spend such a large amount are very important factors to consider, analysts say.

    U.S.-Saudi deal

    U.S. President Donald Trump sealed a $110 billion arms deal last month with Iran’s chief rival in the region, Saudi Arabia, and Tehran was stung by the IS-claimed June 5 attacks on parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that killed 17 people.

    “The quick reaction of parliamentarians in putting together the bill and accelerating country’s missile program projects the level of insecurity Tehran feels from its southern neighbors teaming up with the United States under the Trump administration,” said retired Iranian Admiral Houshang Aryanpour, now based in Virginia.

    “The successful missile strike, which was also a real-time test for them, was a great victory for IRGC to be rewarded after that huge frustration of the Tehran attacks,” Aryanpour said. “This bill carries, for sure, a propaganda aspect within and serves domestic public opinion.”

    The U.S. and Israel are rankled by Iran’s increasing missile activity, which they see as a threat to regional stability.

    ‘Bad behavior’

    The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran this year over what it called “bad behavior” with respect to Iranian missile tests, and on Thursday the U.S. urged the United Nations to closely watch Iran’s missile buildup.

    The U.N. said Thursday that Tehran was in compliance with its obligations under an international nuclear deal, but U.S. envoy Nikki Haley disputed that.

    Under Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran is “called upon” to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years. Tehran and Moscow argue that the language does not make such restraint obligatory. The U.S. and Israel strongly objected to an Iranian missile test in March 2016 that they said violated the U.N. resolution.

    “Iran’s destructive and destabilizing role in the Middle East goes far beyond its illicit missile launches,” Haley said. “From Syria to Yemen and Iraq to Lebanon, Iran’s support for terrorist groups continues unabated. Iran’s weapons, military advisers and arms smugglers stoke regional conflicts and make them harder to solve.”

    Source: Voice of America

  • Accord on Iran’s Nuclear Programme Remains on Track, Political Affairs Chief Tells Security Council

    The United Nation’s political chief this afternoon told the Security Council that the 2015 accord on Iran’s Nuclear Programme known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action remained on track, calling on all participants in the agreement to continue to commit to its full implementation.

    Two years after the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Secretary-General is deeply encouraged by the continued commitment by all participants to the agreement, Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council about the progress of the accord.

    The meeting on progress on the accord � agreed between by China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Iran � also heard briefings from JoAPound o Pedro Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, and Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), by which the 15-member Council endorsed the accord.

    Introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) through which the Council endorsed the accord, Mr. Feltman said reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continued to show Iran’s compliance with parts of the agreement under its purview and the Secretary-General had not received any information regarding the supply to Iran of nuclear-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of the resolution.

    In regard to letters submitted by Member States regarding Iran’s 29 January 2017 medium-range ballistic missile launch, he said there was no consensus in the Council on how it related to resolution 2231 (2015). He quoted the Secretary-General, however, on the need to avoid any more such launches.

    In regard to an arms shipment seized in the North Indian Sea by the French Navy in March 2016, he stated that the Secretariat’s investigation concluded that the weapons were indeed shipped from Iran. Other possible incidents were under discussion and related information had been sent by a number of countries but had not been independently confirmed.

    The world would not be a safer place without the Joint Action Plan, Mr. Almeida said in his briefing. Iran’s macroeconomic performance had shown great improvement due to trade and investment. He described the activities of the procurement mechanism as well as projects being done by the European Union with Iran, focused on nuclear safety and related areas. He called for rigorous implementation of commitments by all sides.

    Mr. Cardi described requests to the procurement mechanisms and his group’s discussions on Iran’s ballistic missile launch in relation to resolution 2231 (2015). He said that one view emphasized the ambiguity of the resolution in regard to which types of missiles were constructed in a manner as to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Another maintained that the launch involved a system that was, by design, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, so its use was inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015).

    Following those briefings, country representatives took the floor to make statements on the report. Most welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on progress in implementation, but also expressed varied degrees of concern over the reports of Iran’s launch of a ballistic missile, shipment of arms and violation of a travel ban. They stressed the importance of complete compliance with all of the provisions of the nuclear accord and resolution 2231 (2015), while calling for issues such as a ballistic missile launch to be dealt with through diplomatic means that did not undermine the accord.

    The representative of the United States, however, warned that her country was ready to reinstitute some bilateral sanctions if what she called Iran’s destructive behaviour continued, listing violations cited in the reports as well as support for terrorism and other destabilizing behaviour. She likened the country to the scorpion in the fable that could not help killing the frog transporting it across a pond because of its destructive nature.

    The representative of the Russian Federation, on the other hand, stressed that the Plan of Action should serve as a basis for cooperation and not a source of confrontation. He flagged concerns over some elements of the Secretary-General’s report, including its calls on Iran to avoid ballistic missile launches. He described the conclusion that seized weapons were of Iranian origin as dubious in nature, adding that politicizing the reports would undermine the nuclear accord.

    Representatives of France, Kazakhstan, Egypt, China, Uruguay, Ukraine, Japan, Sweden, Ethiopia, Senegal, United Kingdom, Italy, Bolivia and Germany also spoke.

    The meeting began at 3:54 p.m. and ended at 5:43 p.m.

    Briefings

    JEFFREY FELTMAN, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said, Two years after the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Secretary-General is deeply encouraged by the continued commitment by all participants to the agreement. The accord � reached by Iran and the E3/EU+3 [China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] on 14 July 2015 � is the embodiment of successful multilateral diplomacy, political will and perseverance. It was imperative, therefore, that the participants in the accord, the United Nations and the international community continue to support its full implementation, he added.

    International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports since Implementation Day, 16 January 2016, had shown Iran’s continued implementation of its nuclear-related commitments, he said. The 25 April meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna noted the continued adherence to the agreement’s commitments by all participants, he stressed, adding that full implementation would bring forth to a satisfactory conclusion the consideration of the Iranian nuclear issue by the Security Council and guarantee that its nuclear programme remained exclusively peaceful.

    Introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), through which the Security Council endorsed the accord, he said that the Secretary-General had not received any reports or open-source information regarding the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of nuclear-related items undertaken contrary to the provisions of the resolution. He also welcomed the fact that Member States were making greater use of the procurement channel. Of 16 proposals submitted since the Implementation Day, 10 were approved by the Council, 2 were withdrawn by the proposing States and 4 were currently under review. He welcomed the cooperation between the Security Council and the Procurement Working Group.

    In regard to letters submitted by Member States regarding Iran’s 29 January 2017 medium-range ballistic missile launch, he said there was no consensus in the Council on how it related to resolution 2231 (2015). He quoted the Secretary-General, however, on the need to avoid more such launches to avoid an increase in regional tensions. In regard to an arms shipment seized in the North Indian Sea by the French Navy in March 2016, the Secretariat’s investigation concluded that the weapons were indeed shipped from Iran. The participation of Iran’s Defence Industries Organization in exhibitions held in Iraq was also under discussion and would be included in future reports.

    The Secretariat, in addition, had not been able to independently corroborate information provided to the Secretary-General by Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen related to implementation of resolution 2231 (2015).

    JOA�O PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union delegation, delivered a statement on behalf of the bloc’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who was Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Noting that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action had been properly implemented and was delivering on its objectives, he added that the results were clear and spoke for themselves: Iran’s nuclear programme had been rolled back and placed under tight inspections. Furthermore, Iran’s macroeconomic performance, due to trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), had shown great improvement and oil production had returned to pre-sanction days.

    As well, tourism was being revived and key infrastructure and investment deals were being developed, including with Airbus and Boeing, he continued. The Action Plan’s implementation was an ongoing task and its complexity and the wide scope of the agreement as well as the challenges were evident. However, the rigorous implementation of commitments by all sides continued to be the best way to build trust, strengthen the Plan and overcome the hurdles that were part of all comprehensive and far-reaching deals.

    In regards to Annex III which addressed civil-nuclear obligations, he emphasized that the text was the key in the overall balance of the agreement and essential for the overall objective of ensuring the exclusive peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. The Union was already engaging with Iran in a number of projects, mostly focused on nuclear safety. As well, Iranian nuclear experts and scientists were being invited to participate in civil-nuclear activities and conferences of nuclear safety regulators.

    Turning to the Procurement Working Group, he said that establishing a new authorization mechanism, which entered into force after a long prohibition period, had not been an easy task. However, the first proposals received through the Procurement Channel had been reviewed and approved. Furthermore, the number of proposals and the number of countries submitting proposals were steadily increasing. On 12 June, the Coordinator of the Working Group submitted its third bi-annual report to the Facilitator, on behalf of the Joint Commission, offering an overview of the Working Group’s activities from 23 December 2016 to 12 June 2017. The world would not be a safer place without the JCPOA [Joint Action Plan], he stated, and he called upon all other parties to remain committed to its full implementation. It was essential to continue building trust, strengthening multilateral diplomacy and reinforcing non-proliferation, while promoting regional peace and stability.

    SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), speaking in his capacity as Facilitator for the implementation of Council resolution 2231 (2015), recalled that IAEA reports had verified that Iran had taken the actions specified in Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan. In addition, the Agency had indicated that on 21 January, Iran, under IAEA verification and monitoring, had begun feeding natural UF6 into a single IR-8 centrifuge for the first time. In both reports, the Agency had affirmed, among other things, that Iran had not pursed construction of the existing Arak heavy water research reactor based on its original design; had no more than 130 metric tonnes of heavy water, and had not conducted any uranium enrichment or related research and development activities.

    However, on 2 March at the 2231 format meeting the experts of one Member State had observed that the medium-range ballistic missile tested by Iran on 29 January was designed to carry a payload greater than 500 kg to a range of 1,000 km. That was the approximate mass required to carry a first generation nuclear weapon and 300 km was an internationally-accepted range of strategic significance. The test therefore was constituted as an activity related to ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. The regional implications and the launch’s relation to resolution 2231 (2015) were discussed, with one representative emphasizing that the resolution had not provided a definition as to which types of missiles were constructed in a manner as to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Other delegates said that the text concerned intrinsic capability rather than intent. Since the launch involved a system that was, by design, capable of delivery a nuclear warhead, its use was therefore inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015), he said.

    There was no consensus on that particular launch, he continued, stressing that it was essential the Security Council act in a unified manner in order to foster the effective implementation of the resolution. It was also of great importance that all parties continue to build trust and implement the Plan and the resolution. He also noted, among other things, that since Implementation Day, a total of 16 proposals to participate in or permit the activities set forth in the resolution’s paragraph 2 of annex B had been submitted to the Council by four Member States from three different regional groups, including States who were not participants of the Plan. That shows the growing confidence of Member States in the procurement channel, he noted, adding that he planned on engaging new outreach activities on the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), including an open briefing for Member States on the text and its implementation.

    Statements

    NIKKI R. HALEY (United States) said that the Secretary-General’s report was full of descriptions of destructive and destabilizing actions by Iran, many of which violated the nuclear agreement. Those included ballistic missile launches, arms smuggling, support for terrorist groups and for the Assad Government’s use of chemical weapons on its own people and travel by persons specifically banned from doing so. Many violations had been reported widely and included in the Secretary-General’s report, but had been ignored by the Council.

    The Council must stand strictly behind the provisions of resolution 2231 (2015), she said. The United States would not turn a blind eye to violations and would work with partners to interdict sanctioned goods and impose its own necessary sanctions. The continuance of Iran’s destructive behaviour would keep it from fully joining the community of nations. Citing Iran’s threats to Israel following a cross-border missile launch recently, she said that the statements were not those of a good international citizen, but those of a scorpion, referring to the fable in which a frog is stung to death by a scorpion as they travelled across a pond, causing them both to die, with the scorpion explaining that it was his nature to be destructive.

    FRANCOIS DELATTRE (France), reviewing the foundations of the current international security and non-proliferation system, said that the nuclear agreement with Iran was a strong response to a major proliferation crisis. It was an historic agreement and the international community had a responsibility to make sure that it lasted. He noted IAEA’s reporting on Iran’s continued following the portions of the agreement in its purview. He also described the opening of trade and bilateral agreements between Iran and his country.

    However, he cautioned, the establishment of an atmosphere of trust required participants to abide by all provisions of the agreement. In that context, France had condemned the recent ballistic missile launch by Iran. The seized arms shipment was also in violation of resolution 2231 (2015). It was essential that such activities ceased. He anticipated further formal demands that all provisions of the resolution be respected, and his country would back such demands.

    KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan), describing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a momentous agreement, commended Iran’s commitment to comply with its provisions as well as Council resolution 2231 (2015). Noting that his delegation expected to receive more information about alleged violations of Section B, he said the Plan had had a significant impact on the region’s normalization and could also have a positive effect on its economic situation. Calling for the strict observance by all parties of the Plan’s provisions, he voiced Kazakhstan’s commitment to continue to support that collective action.

    IHAB MOUSTAFA AWAD MOUSTAFA (Egypt), emphasizing that the Council should always be credible and earnest in addressing issues of non-proliferation and avoid any selectivity or politicization, welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a step towards stability, peace and security in the Middle East. Resolution 2231 (2015) went beyond that agreement, outlining clear technical and legal regulations. Calling for its prompt implementation, he said Iranian nuclear activities must also be subject to international controls in order to ensure compliance; indeed, the resolution’s implementation would help to prevent the launch of a regional armament race in the Middle East.

    Pointing out that the turbulence in the region was further exacerbated by a number of subservice acts on the part of Iran � including fuelling activities in hotspots such as Syria and Yemen, smuggling weapons to armed groups and intervening in the affairs of other States of the region � he cited evidence that the arms shipment seized by France in March 2016 had been of Iranian origin and had Somalia as its destination. The Security Council will be held accountable by the international community [] to verify the earnestness and seriousness of Iran, he stressed, noting that any failings in that respect would threaten the body’s credibility.

    VLADIMIR K. SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation), stressing that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action should serve as a basis for cooperation and not a source of confrontation, flagged several concerns about the Secretary-General’s report. In particular, its calls on Iran to avoid ballistic missile launches had no place in such a report, whose purpose was exclusively to report on implementation. Describing the conclusion that weapons found on the vessel seized in 2016 were of Iranian origin as dubious in nature, he emphasized that such unsubstantiated facts had no place in the report even if they came from Member States. Raising additional concerns about the allegation that the Iranian vessel stopped in a South African port had been in violation of international obligations, he said leaks to the media about the Secretary-General’s report prior to its publication were unacceptable and urged Member States to adhere to a due level of integrity. Warning against efforts to turn the report into a political document � which would inevitably undermine the Plan of Action � he said that, if respected, that important agreement could serve as a template for addressing other pressing international challenges.

    WU HAITAO (China) said that the agreement was a firm step to settle the Iran nuclear issue, but it was important that it was correctly implemented. Parties must implement in earnest their commitments and create an atmosphere of trust, based on the principles of gradual implementation and balance. Differences must be resolved through diplomatic means in a context of consensus, and the reports must be presented in a completely impartial way. He pledged China’s continued participation in mechanisms that supported implementation. He stated that issues such as ballistic launches should be handled in a sensitive way that did not undermine the agreement. China would continue its cooperation with the participants, including work with Iran on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and other areas.

    LUIS BERMASDEZ (Uruguay), noting that his country belonged to the world’s first nuclear-free zone, said that it had welcomed the agreement as a key achievement in non-proliferation. Expressing satisfaction in IAEA’s reports on Iranian cooperation with the group, he called, however, on Iran to act with due caution and moderation in regard to reports of missile testing. He called on all parties to the agreement to take all measures to comply with all provisions and refrain from any action that might endanger the agreement. The Council, for its part, must monitor implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) carefully.

    Mr. SHUTENKO (Ukraine), noting that the last six months had seen a smooth and effective functioning of the procurement channel mechanism with several proposals to supply Iran with relevant goods and technologies, echoed calls for diligent compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. That agreement aimed to strike a balance between the legitimate right to develop nuclear energy and the need to stem the proliferation of weapons, he said, adding that Iran had been proving its intention to use nuclear technologies exclusively for peaceful purposes. Acknowledging the existence of different interpretations regarding the applicability of Iran’s ballistic missile tests to resolution 2231 (2015), he underlined the importance of ensuring that any concerns raised in the Secretary-General’s report did not provoke further tensions but instead were resolved through negotiations. With regard to the January 2017 incident in the Kyiv airport, when an attempt to smuggle components of military goods to Iran had been prevented by Ukrainian law enforcement authorities, his Government remained open and ready to engage with the Secretariat on a relevant investigation.

    KORO BESSHO (Japan), pointing out that Iran’s January ballistic missile launches were inconsistent with resolution 2231 (2015) and could be destabilizing for the Middle East, said the Plan of Action nevertheless had the potential to contribute to the region’s peace and security. Iran could and should play an active role in that regard � particularly in Syria and Yemen � as well as in the international community more generally. Welcoming the parties’ steady implementation of their nuclear-related commitments, he underscored that Iran’s application of the Additional Protocol and the transparency measures was key not only for the Plan’s full implementation but also for regional confidence-building. The uniqueness of the 2231 format is increasingly clear, he said, noting that it did not include a subsidiary body but required extensive data collection, analysis and reporting by the Secretariat. In that regard, he encouraged the latter to utilize such tools as the Yemen Sanction Committee and the Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee to obtain relevant information.

    OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) welcomed reports of compliance with the nuclear agreement, while also expressing concern over reports of ballistic tests and arms shipments as well as contravention of the travel ban. He would carefully study future reports for information on such events. He called on Iran to avoid activities that endangered the agreement and all parties to act in accordance with, and in support of, the pact, avoiding provocative actions.

    MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia) welcomed the positive progress on implementation of the nuclear agreement as found in the Secretary-General’s report. She also welcomed activities that enhanced awareness of the agreement for the general United Nations membership. Acknowledging challenges to the implementation to resolution 2231 (2015), she called for its full implementation. In that context, she expressed concern over reports of missile launches and arms shipments, calling on Iran to avoid such activities and on all parties to act in a way that ensured continued implementation.

    GORGUI CISS (Senegal), praising the signing and implementation of the agreement, noted the progress reported by the Secretary-General as well as such challenges to the agreement as the launch of ballistic missiles. He called on all sides to deal with those challenges in a way that facilitated further implementation of the agreement. He welcomed the activities of Council mechanisms that supported the pact, including outreach activities that enlisted the support of the wider United Nations membership.

    PETER WILSON (United Kingdom), recalling that IAEA had confirmed Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, said the deal’s continued success hinged on the commitment of all parties to uphold their responsibilities across a range of issues. Iran’s launch of a medium range ballistic missile in January had been inconsistent with its obligations under the Plan, he said, calling on it to refrain from such activities in the future. Evidence of attempts by Iran to transfer conventional weapons, as well as infringements on the travel ban, were also worrying. Agreeing that all stakeholders should work to combat ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Da’esh] and defeat terrorism, he nevertheless stressed that we cannot turn a blind eye to Iran’s efforts to support armed groups and proxy forces throughout the region.

    INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) said the international community must undertake every effort to ensure the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and resolution 2231 (2015), both of which would benefit regional security. Describing the Plan as an example of the benefits of diplomacy leading to a reduction of tensions between States, he vowed to continue to support IAEA in its relevant work and encouraged all stakeholders to resolve any outstanding issues through negotiations.

    SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLA�Z (Bolivia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, agreeing that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action represented a milestone in diplomacy. Pointing out that IAEA had verified Iran’s withdrawal of all its centrifuges and enrichment mechanisms within the agreed timeline � which demonstrated its commitment to the Plan � he expressed concern that no reference had been made in the Secretary-General’s report to Annex A. Indeed, both annexes were critical to the comprehensive implementation of resolution 2231 (2015). Reaffirming Bolivia’s commitment to the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, he stressed that politicization and provocative rhetoric ran counter to the Plan of Action.

    HARALD BRAUN (Germany), stressing that the Plan as endorsed by resolution 2231 (2015) represented an outstanding success of diplomacy in an extremely volatile region, added that the deal, as such, is working. Indeed, it had clearly promoted security and stability in the region, and all parties were adhering to it. Urging them to continue to do so, he added that Iran was complying with all its commitments. Going forward, IAEA’s verification procedures continued to reassure the world that Iran’s nuclear activities were for exclusively peaceful purposes. Underscoring Germany’s commitment to establishing economic ties with Iran to the benefit of all parties concerned, he also expressed concern that while that country’s January ballistic missile launch did not violate the Plan of Action it had nevertheless exacerbated tensions and mistrust.

    Source: United Nations

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