Monday, October 18, 2021

Blinken, Pope to arrive in Italy on Sunday for meeting with top leaders

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s multinational trip to Europe takes him to Italy on Sunday for several days of meetings with top Italian leaders, Pope Francis, the Group of 20 leaders and ministerial officials.

After a warm welcome in France and Germany, Blinken arrived in Rome from Paris on Sunday when he met with Italy’s foreign minister, UN food security agencies and US embassy officials.

Blinken and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio will co-chair a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome on Monday, when he meets Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Sergio Mattarella to discuss Syria’s civil war and humanitarian needs. Will meet you too. that country.

The State Department says Syria remains a major concern, where thousands of women and children in humanitarian camps are subject to security issues as members of the Islamic State terrorist group work to exploit the camps to recruit the next generation of fighters. Huh.

Syria faces humanitarian catastrophe as Turkey closes border

About 2.4 million people in northwestern Syria depend entirely on cross-border deliveries of aid from Turkey for their basic needs, including food

Also on Monday, Blinken travels to Vatican City for a meeting with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul Gallagher. Topics he and Vatican officials could discuss include climate change, human trafficking and debt relief for poor countries.

His meeting with the pope comes months ahead of an expected October meeting between the pontiff and US President Joe Biden, the second Catholic US president.

At a recent convention, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on Communion that could rebuke Catholic political figures, including Biden, who defends abortion rights but is not personally involved in this. oppose the practice.

During his visit to Paris on Friday, Blinken warned that the absence of an interim agreement to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities could prompt the US to abandon efforts to rejoin the nuclear deal.

“We will see if we can bridge the differences, but they are real, and we have to be able to bridge them,” Blinken told a briefing in Paris after meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. .

Foreign Minister Blinken to meet with French President Macron

Friday meeting in Paris to advance transatlantic ties

“I will tell you that regarding [International Atomic Energy Agency]“This is a serious concern, a concern we have conveyed to Iran, and it needs to be resolved….”

The agency said it reached a three-month interim monitoring agreement on February 21, which expires on Thursday, after being extended for a month. It said it was seeking an “immediate response” from Iran on whether it would extend the surveillance agreement, according to an internal agency statement seen by Reuters news agency.

Blinken, who is visiting Paris as part of a multinational European tour, acknowledged at a Paris news conference on Friday that the United States may ultimately decide not to rejoin the deal if talks in Vienna continue without progress. Lives.

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“There will come a point, yes, where it will be very difficult to return to the standards set by the JCPOA,” said the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers to halt its uranium enrichment program by the US, the European Union and the United States. Exchange to remove sanctions imposed by the nation.

He called on Iran to make “difficult” decisions to pursue talks that could revive the deal.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Friday that “the opposition parties are the ones who must decide.”

The negotiating parties have held talks for six weeks, and last Sunday ended a sixth round of indirect talks, with key issues still unresolved.

Le Drian underscored Blinken’s warning, telling reporters in Paris on Friday that it is up to Iran to move the talks forward.

“It has been six weeks since talks resumed. Some progress has been made, and we are now entering the most difficult times. This will require some strong and courageous decisions on the part of the new Iranian authorities, but now is the time,” Le Drian said.

Blinken met with French President Emmanuel Macron later on Friday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs as President Emmanuel Macron of France, center, points at French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, at the Elysee palace, left June 25, 2021.

Top US diplomats arrived in France from Germany, where on Thursday he and German leaders said the US and Germany were partnering to combat Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, an effort the secretary of state said “will ensure that the current And future generations learn about the Holocaust. And learn from it.”

Speaking at the Memorial of the Killed Jews of Europe in Berlin, Blinken said that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism go hand-in-hand with homophobia, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination, and “become a rallying cry for those in need.” Gone are those who want to shed our tears. Democracy.”

The top US diplomat met with Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabeba on Thursday, on the heels of an international conference focused on supporting Libya’s transition to a permanent, stable government.

Wednesday’s conference, organized by Germany and the United Nations, included officials from 17 countries and strengthened support for national elections in Libya to be held in late December.

Libya has experienced political instability since the NATO-backed uprising of 2011 that ousted longtime ruler Moammar Gaddafi from power. Rival governments operated in different parts of the country for years before a ceasefire agreement in October, which included calls for all foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days.

VOA’s Cindy Sen contributed to this report. This report also includes information from Reuters and AFP.

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