Showing posts with label The Washington Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Washington Post. Show all posts

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beyond the Diplomatic Tête-à-Tête Between Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, right, meets with Nigeria's acting President Goodluck Jonathan, left, in advance of the Nuclear Security Summit, at Blair House in Washington, Sunday, April 11, 2010. Photo Credit: Associated Press/Daily Life

Beyond the Diplomatic Tête-à-Tête Between Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama

Acting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was invited to the two-day Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, D.C., on April 12 and 13, 2010. But before the crucial summit he met with President Barack Obama at the Blair House to discuss the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Nigeria, a week after both countries signed an agreement for the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission.

Bilateral relations between the U.S. and Nigeria have been strained for disclosed and undisclosed reasons of which the most apparent was the case of electoral malpractices masterminded and perpetrated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP ) during the 2003 and 2007 elections in Nigeria. The U.S. rejected the results and found Prof. Maurice Iwu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wanting and would want electoral reforms to prevent electoral malpractices in future elections. Another problem was the critical case of the Nigerian al Qaeda underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab whose botched attempt to blow up an American plane on Christmas Day shocked the U.S. and increased the suspicion of Nigeria as a vulnerable target for recruiting al Qaeda foot soldiers. The last case actually culminated in the U.S. security warning to all her citizens to relocate from the predominantly Islamic northern states of Nigeria. Moreover, the protracted illness that incapacitated President Umaru Yar’Adua left the U.S. with no better choice but to support Acting President Jonathan in the amelioration of the bilateral relations between the two great countries.

President Barack Obama emphasized that the “United States places great importance on the US relationship with Nigeria and the Nigerian people” and “urged Acting President Jonathan to use his tenure to make historic and tangible progress in strengthening the Nigerian government's commitment to follow through on countering corruption."

Majority of Nigerian news media channels were carried away by the importance of their meeting and seemed to ignore the importance of the Nuclear Security Summit that was attended by 47 nations and was the largest meeting of top global leaders since1945. This was the first summit and will be a biennial event , and the next one comes up in Seoul in 2012. The Summit focused on how to better safeguard weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

At the end of the summit, there was a communiqué with a seven page work plan.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

World leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit

Communiqué from Washington Nuclear Security Summit
Nations pledge to strengthen nuclear security, reduce nuclear terrorism

April 13, 2010

Communiqué of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit
Nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security, and strong nuclear security measures are the most effective means to prevent terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials.

In addition to our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we also all share the objective of nuclear security. Therefore those gathered here in Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2010, commit to strengthen nuclear security and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. Success will require responsible national actions and sustained and effective international cooperation.

We welcome and join President Obama’s call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years, as we work together to enhance nuclear security.
Therefore, we:

1. Reaffirm the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective international obligations, to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control; to prevent non-state actors from obtaining the information or technology required to use such material for malicious purposes; and emphasize the importance of robust national legislative and regulatory frameworks for nuclear security;

2. Call on States to work cooperatively as an international community to advance nuclear security, requesting and providing assistance as necessary;

3. Recognize that highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium require special precautions and agree to promote measures to secure, account for, and consolidate these materials, as appropriate; and encourage the conversion of reactors from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel and minimization of use of highly enriched uranium, where technically and economically feasible;

4. Endeavor to fully implement all existing nuclear security commitments and work toward acceding to those not yet joined, consistent with national laws, policies and procedures;

5. Support the objectives of international nuclear security instruments, including the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as essential elements of the global nuclear security architecture;

6. Reaffirm the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to carry out its mandated nuclear security activities in accordance with its Statute, relevant General Conference resolutions and its Nuclear Security Plans;

7. Recognize the role and contributions of the United Nations as well as the contributions of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G-8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction within their respective mandates and memberships;

8. Acknowledge the need for capacity building for nuclear security and cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for the promotion of nuclear security culture through technology development, human resource development, education, and training; and stress the importance of optimizing international cooperation and coordination of assistance;

9. Recognize the need for cooperation among States to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking; and agree to share, subject to respective national laws and procedures, information and expertise through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms in relevant areas such as nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new technologies;

10. Recognize the continuing role of nuclear industry, including the private sector, in nuclear security and will work with industry to ensure the necessary priority of physical protection, material accountancy, and security culture;

11. Support the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of States to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technology and will facilitate international cooperation in the field of nuclear security; and

12. Recognize that measures contributing to nuclear material security have value in relation to the security of radioactive substances and encourage efforts to secure those materials as well.

Maintaining effective nuclear security will require continuous national efforts facilitated by international cooperation and undertaken on a voluntary basis by States. We will promote the strengthening of global nuclear security through dialogue and cooperation with all states.

Thus, we issue the Work Plan as guidance for national and international action including through cooperation within the context of relevant international fora and organizations. We will hold the next Nuclear Security Summit in the Republic of Korea in 2012.

The list of world leaders and Heads of Delegation who attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April 12-13:

People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
His Excellency Mourad Medelci
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

Argentine Republic
Her Excellency Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
President of the Argentine Republic

Republic of Armenia
His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan
President of the Republic of Armenia

The Honorable Senator John Faulkner
Minister for Defense of Australia

His Excellency Yves Leterme
Prime Minister of Belgium

Federative Republic of Brazil
His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

The Right Honorable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada

Republic of Chile
His Excellency Sebastián Piñera
President of the Republic of Chile

People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China

Czech Republic
His Excellency Jan Fischer
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Arab Republic of Egypt
His Excellency Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt

European Union
His Excellency Herman Van Rompuy
President of the European Council

Republic of Finland
Her Excellency Tarja Halonen
President of the Republic of Finland

French Republic
His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy
President of the French Republic

His Excellency Mikheil Saakashvili
President of Georgia

Federal Republic of Germany
Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Republic of India
His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of the Republic of India

Republic of Indonesia
His Excellency Dr. Boediono
Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia

International Atomic Energy Agency
Mr. Yukiya Amano
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

His Excellency Dan Meridor
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy of Israel

Italian Republic
His Excellency Silvio Berlusconi
President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic

His Excellency Yukio Hatoyama
Prime Minister of Japan

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Republic of Kazakhstan
His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Republic of Korea
His Excellency Lee Myung-bak
President of the Republic of Korea

The Honorable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia

United Mexican States
His Excellency Felipe Calderon Hinojosa
President of the United Mexican States

Kingdom of Morocco
His Excellency Abbas El Fassi
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco

Kingdom of the Netherlands
His Excellency Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

New Zealand
The Honorable John Key
Prime Minister of New Zealand

Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan
Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency Jens Stoltenberg
Prime Minister of Norway

Islamic Republic of Pakistan
His Excellency Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Republic of Philippines
Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic of the Philippines

Republic of Poland
His Excellency Radoslaw Sikorski
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Russian Federation
His Excellency Dmitry A. Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
His Royal Highness Prince Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud
President of the General Intelligence Presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Republic of Singapore
His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore

Republic of South Africa
His Excellency Jacob Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa

His Excellency José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
President of the Government of Spain

His Excellency Fredrik Reinfeldt
Prime Minister of Sweden

Swiss Confederation
Her Excellency Doris Leuthard
President of the Swiss Confederation

Kingdom of Thailand
His Excellency Trairong Suwankiri
Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

Republic of Turkey
His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey

His Excellency Viktor Yanukovych
President of Ukraine

United Arab Emirates
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces

United Kingdom
The Right Honorable David Miliband, M.P.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

United Nations
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations

United States
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States

Socialist Republic of Vietnam
His Excellency Nguyen Tan Dung
Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fidel Castro Commends President Barack Obama on Historic Health Care Reform

Comrade Fidel Castro

The legendary revolutionary Fidel Castro of communist Cuba on Thursday commended President Barack Obama for his historic Health Care Reform law and called it a miracle. But he also seemed to have responded to the Wednesday statement of President Barack Obama on the reluctance of the communist government to accept democratic reforms and "for an end to the repression, for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba, and for respect for the basic rights of the Cuban people."
Castro called Obama "a fanatic believer in capitalist imperialism."

"We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro was quoted from an essay published in the communist state media.

"It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence ... the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago," Castro added.

See The Washington Post for the details.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adaobi Nwaubani Wins Coveted Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book

Adaobi Nwaubani Wins Coveted Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's novel I Do Not Come to You by Chance has won her the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in the Africa Region.

The crime fiction tells the story of the notorious Nigerian 419 Internet scammers from a very sensitive narrative writer and has been described as a must read by The Washington Post.

"Nwaubani's subversive skill lies in telling us a familiar story from an unfamiliar angle. By making Robin Hood heroes of the vilified perpetrators of e-mail scams, she allows us to enjoy watching a potbellied pervert from Utah pay an African village kid's school fees," wrote Chris Cleave in The Washington Post on Saturday, May 23, 2009. I Do Not Come to You by Chance made the highly esteemed newspaper's Best Books of the Year in 2009.

Adaobi is the Editor of Elan, a small glossy fashion and style magazine published by Timbuktu Media in Nigeria.