Entries in Summit (7)


Iran Summit: Tehran Hosts 100 Countries, Denies Nuclear Ambitions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran is hosting the biggest international summit it’s held in its modern history, and the country that is known for provocative words and unpredictable actions is trying to paint itself as the victim of lies, unfair sanctions and terrorism.

The Iranians have gathered representatives from more than 100 countries, all clearly aware that the U.S. considers Iran an immense threat to the world’s nuclear security and a major source of terror.

But in Tehran, everywhere the delegates go, they see descriptions of horrors the Iranians say were inflicted on their “innocent” citizens. One of the major displays the Iranians have set up is a series of cars, all of them bombed. The drivers of the cars were Iranian scientists.

The attacks were right out of a spy thriller: The bombs were planted on the cars by a speeding motorcycle driver. Iran blames Israel for the violence and there has been no flat-out denial from Israel.

At the summit the Iranians even trotted out the scientists’ widows and children. Some delegates have been offered tours of a nuclear facility the Iranians claim is for peaceful purposes. But the U.S. says satellite photos show the facility has been sanitized in recent weeks and the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Thursday that Iran has added about 1,000 new machines in an underground site that produce material that can be used to construct nuclear weapons.

“This information that the United States announced to the people, it’s wrong,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.

Mehmanparast also called threats by Israel to attack nuclear facilities “a joke” and said if Israel attacks, Iran may respond militarily.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

The summit will make it hard to argue that Iran is isolated, but nothing has changed the minds of the U.S. and especially Israel that Iran continues to rapidly make progress toward a nuclear weapon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iranians Embarrassed by UN Chief, Egyptian President at Summit

AFP/GettyImages(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Things didn't go quite as planned for Iranian leaders hosting the Nonaligned Movement summit in Tehran on Thursday as they were taken aback by criticism of the Syrian government's continued onslaught against pro-democratic forces in a civil war that has lasted 18 months and cost tens of thousands of lives.

What was supposed to be Iran's return to the world stage as a legitimate power in the region in hosting the summit attended by 120 delegations quickly unraveled as both United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi denounced the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Iran.

Morsi, who rose to power via a people's revolutions that was over in a matter of weeks, declared, "I am here to announce our full and just support for a free, independent Syria that supports a transition into a democratic system and that respects the will of the Syrian people for freedom and equality at the same time, preventing Syria from going into civil war or going into sectarian divisions."

When he got around to calling the Syrian government an "oppressive regime," that was enough for Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem, who stormed out of the hall in protest.

Secretary General Ban also expressed the international community outrage at al-Assad, saying, "The Syrian government has the primary responsibility to resolve this crisis by genuinely listening to the people’s voices."

To add insult to injury, Ban also took aim at Iran for its unending mission to destroy the state of Israel as well as labeling the Holocaust a myth.

Iran's state media did not report the comments made by Ban and Morsi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghan President Thanks US for ‘Your Taxpayers’ Money’

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai thanked the United States on Sunday for shouldering much of the cost for the decade-old war in Afghanistan, as the NATO alliance readies to hand over primary responsibility to Afghan security forces.

“I’m bringing to you and to the people of the United States the gratitude of the Afghan people for the support that your taxpayers’ money has provided us over the past decade, and for the difference that it has made to the well-being of the Afghan people,” Karzai said after his meeting with President Obama ahead of the start of the NATO Summit.

The two leaders met in Afghanistan earlier this month where they signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement outlining plans for the U.S.-Afghan relationship from the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2014 through 2024.

Obama said on Sunday that the NATO Summit will be largely devoted to “ratifying” the plan to draw down U.S. and NATO forces and to “painting a vision, post-2014, in which we have ended our combat role.”

“The Afghan war as we understand it is over, but our commitment to friendship and partnership with Afghanistan continues,” he said.  “Both of us recognize that we still have a lot of work to do, and there will be great challenges ahead.  The loss of life continues in Afghanistan; there will be hard days ahead.  But we’re confident that we are on the right track, and what this NATO Summit reflects is that the world is behind the strategy that we’ve laid out.”

Karzai reaffirmed his commitment to the transition process and to the completion of the withdrawal in 2014, “so that Afghanistan is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and our other allies.”

Sitting alongside Obama, Karzai told reporters his country is “looking forward to an end to this war” and that they are “fully aware of the task ahead and of what Afghanistan needs to do to reach the objectives that we all have of a stable, peaceful and self-reliant Afghanistan.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Ready for Pep Talk on Afghanistan During NATO Summit

U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury(NEW YORK) -- President Obama will take center stage at the NATO summit in Chicago Sunday by urging the alliance to resist deescalating its commitment in Afghanistan.

With the American public having grown weary of the 10-year conflict, leaders from other nations have also seen diminishing support for the war.

For instance, new French President Francois Hollande was elected partly on his promise to pull his forces out of Afghanistan faster than the planned 2014 timetable for withdrawal.

In two years, virtually all coalition forces will have exited the country, 13 years after the U.S.-led effort to destroy al Qaeda training camps and depose the Taliban regime in response to the 9/11 attacks.

While the meeting is expected to be cordial, Obama will likely get hit with hard questions from NATO members on how fast the pullout of military forces will be, how many troops to leave behind and how the financial burden of upkeeping Afghan national forces will be shared.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iraq Vets Returning Medals at NATO Summit in Chicago

Khalid Mohammed-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A protest of Iraq war veterans at the NATO summit being held in Chicago this weekend is intended to send a strong message to Washington and the European alliance.

Some members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War plan to return their medals to NATO generals on Sunday, claiming they were given their honors for bravery or suffering for "a war based on lies and failed policies."

The group said on its blog the Global War on Terror "has killed hundreds of thousands, stripped the humanity of all involved, and drained our communities of trillions of dollars, diverting funds from schools, clinics, libraries, and other public goods."

Following the rally, the vets are expected to march to the convention center to give back their medals.  If they are unable to meet with the NATO generals, they said they would throw their medals at the building.

About 30 to 50 veterans are expected to participate in the protest.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arab League Summit Gets Off to Shaky Start in Baghdad

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- This was not the way the Iraqi government envisioned things happening as the highly-anticipated Arab League summit got underway Thursday in Baghdad.

For one thing, the participants were greeted with rockets, presumably fired by the enemies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's regime.  One hit near the fortified Green Zone where the summit was taking place while two others landed elsewhere in Baghdad.  No injuries were reported.

More embarrassing for the Iraqi government was that the only monarch from its neighboring Gulf states who showed up was from Kuwait while the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar were conspicuously absent as were the rulers of Jordan and Morocco.

There is still a great deal of distrust between the Sunni leaders of the Arab League and Iraq's Shiite government, particularly since Baghdad now considers Iran a close ally.

The Arab League is also angry that Iraq hasn't take a stronger stand against Syria, which continues to crack down on pro-democracy dissidents.

Still, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who also attended the summit, exhorted all the summit participants to go along with a plan backed by the international community to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the onslaught against civilians that has claimed more than 8,000 lives over the past year.

The group then endorsed the plan, which calls for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations between Damascus and opposition leaders although there is no demand for al-Assad to step down.

This was the first Arab League summit since before the "Arab Spring" last year that spawned revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arab League Members to Witness the "New" Iraq at Summit

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- It's a huge week in Iraq, one that Baghdad says will convince its neighbors just how far the nation has come since it was invaded by U.S.-led forces nine years ago to depose dictator Saddam Hussein.

Members of the Arab League will get to see it for their own eyes as they convene for a summit in the Iraqi capital.

The last time Arab League officials gathered for such an event in Iraq in the early 1990s, Saddam was running the show and the government was decidedly undemocratic.

Two decades later, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has gone as far to claim "This summit could truly be called the Arab Spring summit...It is a recognition of the new Iraq that emerged since 2003 by its new leaders, its new constitution, its new policies, its new political system at the heart of the Middle East."

What Iraqi leaders want to desperately avoid is a repeat of last week's carnage by al Qaeda and other militants, who launched a coordinated series of deadly bombings and gun attacks that stretched from northern cities through Baghdad and into the south.

Since the summit is taking place inside the fortified Green Zone, the Arab guests would likely be shielded from any violence should insurgents go on another rampage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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