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Powell Sees International Commitment to Support Iraq (2004-11-24) The international community has demonstrated its commitment to help Iraq move toward democratic elections and to prevent the country from slipping into the hands of the insurgents, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell. "What we are trying to do is to defeat an insurgency, have all the neighbors come together, and vow, as they did today, to not allow terrorists and terrorist financing and weapons to come across the border, to help with humanitarian aid and to assist the Iraqi people in this difficult time," Powell said in an interview after the Iraq Neighbors Conference November 23 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. A primary goal of the conference was to obtain commitments from Iraq's neighbors to tighten their border controls in order to prevent insurgents and foreign fighters from passing into or out of the country. This is a major concern as Iraq prepares for January 30, 2005, elections to create a new national assembly. more

United States Remains "Agnostic" about EU-Iran Negotiations (2004-11-24) The United States remains "agnostic" regarding the value of negotiations between Iran and the EU 3 -- France, Germany and the United Kingdom -- aimed at ensuring that Iran does not pursue nuclear weapons capabilities, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The United States has been supportive of the Europeans' efforts, Powell said in November 23 television interviews in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he was attending a regional conference on the situation in Iraq, but he noted that Iran's recent agreement to suspend its enrichment activities was not unlike a similar promise it made in 2003 and then withdrew in 2004. "So now the European Union has another arrangement with the Iranians, with tougher verification regime associated with it. The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] will be going in to monitor all of this. That's good. We support it," he said. "But, keep in mind it's still just -- in the eyes of the Iranians -- a suspension. And a suspension means that they can turn it back on. We want it to be turned off permanently." more

Powell Says U.S. Cannot Accept Ukraine Vote Result as Legitimate (2004-11-24) Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States cannot accept as legitimate the result announced by the Central Election Commission in Ukraine's November 21 presidential run-off election between Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych. In a briefing at the State Department November 24, Powell said, "We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse." "We call for a full review of the conduct of the election and the tallying of election results," Powell said, adding, "It is still not too late for Ukrainian authorities to find a solution that respects the will of the Ukrainian people." He also called on Ukraine's government not to use violence against demonstrators and said he had phoned Ukraine's current President Leonid Kuchma to caution him against the use of force. more

Head of U.S. European Command Describes Ongoing Force Changes (2004-11-24) Both NATO and the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) are making changes to meet the new threats of the 21st century by overhauling command structures, taking advantage of technology and closing excess bases to become more effective and efficient, says the head of the Allied Command Europe. "The idea of transformation is not to do less in Europe and Africa; it's to do more," General James L. Jones, commander of EUCOM said at the National Press Club November 23. "The world is increasingly populated by a spreading and a migration of threats to areas that we previously thought, in the 20th century, were fairly safe and secure," Jones said, adding that Africa will figure prominently in transformation plans to proactively prevent crises. more

United States Calls For End to Violence in Darfur (2004-11-24) State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli issued a statement November 24 condemning the new round of violence on both sides in Darfur in violation of the recent security protocols agreed to by all parties in Abuja, Nigeria. Ereli called on all parties to stop immediately and cooperate with the African Union peacekeeping mission in the region. more

United States Getting Tougher on Child Sex Tourism (2004-11-24) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has won another conviction in its 15-month-old initiative to arrest and prosecute travelers who intend to go to another country to engage in sexual activity with children. In a November 23 press release, ICE announces that the 10th indictment under the 2003 PROTECT Act marks a milestone for the agency in its targeting of international child sex predators. On November 19, a federal grand jury indicted Edilberto Datan of California for travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile after his arrest following a trip to the Philippines. ICE's investigation indicates that Datan was arranging sexual trysts with underage boys in the Philippines. more | U.S. Launches New Push Against Domestic Human Trafficking

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