Smiling Iranian president makes direct offer of ‘peace and friendship’ to the United States in his first English message since election
By Carol J. Williams and Vincent Bevins September 24, 2013, 7:59 a.m. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used her lead-off speech at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to blast the United States for operating a worldwide spying network that she said violates the sovereignty of other countries and the civil liberties of their citizens. Rousseff had already signaled her nation’s outrage over reports of National Security Agency data interceptions in Brazil by canceling a summit and state dinner with President Obama that had been set for late October. “What we have before us is a serious case of violation of human rights and civil liberties,” Rousseff told the assembly immediately after opening pleasantries. Also She described arguments that the technological surveillance of individuals, businesses and diplomatic missions is necessary in the global fight against terrorism as “untenable” and an affront to the sovereignty of nations. “Brazil can protect itself,” Rousseff declared. “Brazil doesnt provide shelter to terrorist groups.” Rousseff never mentioned Obama or the NSA by name but said her nation’s dismay over “this case of disrespect” had been communicated to Washington, along with its insistence that Brazil “cannot possibly allow recurring and illegal actions to go on as if normal practice.” Since July, Brazilian news organization Globo has published three reports based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden , which alleged that the United States had spied on Brazilian citizens, Rousseff herself, as well as important state-run oil company, Petrobras. Rousseff has strongly denounced the alleged eavesdropping and asked Obama for a public apology and concrete actions to curb it. The decision to cancel the Washington trip, a rare diplomatic snub of the United States, was well received in many parts of Brazil, especially in the base of her left-of-center Workers Party, many of whose members have memories of a U.S.-backed military dictatorship that spied on dissidents. ALSO:
United States, Russia agree on United Nations-Syria chemical arms measure
Western powers on the Security Council backed away from many of their initial demands, diplomats say, in order to secure Russia’s approval. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an “understanding” had been hammered out, but gave no details. A major sticking point had been Russia’s opposition to writing the resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which covers the council’s authority to enforce its decisions with measures such as sanctions or military force. The compromise draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, makes the measure legally binding, but provides for no means of automatic enforcement as the United States, Britain and France originally wanted. ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ The only reference to enforcement in the draft is a threat that if Syria fails to comply with the resolution, the council would impose unspecified punitive measures under Chapter 7, which would require a second resolution that Russia could veto. A US State Department official hailed the deal as a “breakthrough”. “The Russians have agreed to support a strong, binding and enforceable resolution that unites the pressure and focus of the international community on the Syrian regime to ensure the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons,” the official said. Diplomats from the permanent Security Council members – China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain – had been haggling over the details of a resolution to back the American-Russian accord announced on September 14 in Geneva to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad agreed to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons amid an international outcry over a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus last month – the world’s deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. Washington has blamed Assad’s forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1400 people, and President Barack Obama threatened a US military strike in response. Russia and Assad have blamed the attack on rebels battling to overthrow him in a civil war that, according to the United Nations, has left more than 100,000 people dead. TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama sought to persuade world leaders to apply pressure on Damascus with a resolution that included tough consequences should Assad not surrender his chemical weapons stockpiles in a verifiable way. But by putting the Syria crisis back in the hands of the UN Security Council where Russia has the ability to block punitive action, the chances of US military action appeared to recede even further.
organic food and farming sector. “This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to producers both in the United States and Japan and to consumers who choose organic products,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Vice President of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA). Assessments conducted in Japan and the United States leading up to the signing found organic management, accreditation, certification and enforcement programs are in place in both countries, and conform to each other’s respective programs. The first two-way trade agreement in Asia also marks the first organic equivalency arrangement without organic standards exceptions. As a result, certified organic products as of Jan. 1, 2014 can move freely between the United States and Japan. Under the agreement, MAFF will recognize USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS) and the MAFF Organic Program, and will allow products produced and certified as meeting USDA’s NOP standards to be marketed as organic in Japan. Likewise, the United States will allow Japanese products produced and certified under the JAS Organic Program to be marketed as organic in the United States. Both countries will require that the accredited certifier must be identified on the product label. “On behalf of the U.S. organic industry, OTA extends its sincere thanks and congratulations to the U.S. government and MAFF Japan teams that brought equivalency between our nations after a decade of rigorous and thoughtful negotiations,” said Batcha. She noted that OTA and the U.S.
United States and Japan today sign organic equivalence arrangement
Obama is warned that meeting new Iranian leader branded a ‘master of disguise’ during crunch UN summit will be a ‘terrible idea’ Rouhani and President Obama have been conducting an exchange of letters in recent weeks and there had been suspicions that the two would conduct the first face-to-face meeting between American and Iranian heads of state since before the revolution of 1979 overthrew the Shah. ‘There were some talks about it,’ Rouhani said to Amanpour through a translator. ‘And preparation for the work was done a bit as well.’ Tiring WorK: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013 First Address: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013 ‘The United States declared its interest in having such a meeting, and in principle Iran could have under certain circumstances allowed for it to happen,’ he said. ‘But I believe we didn’t have sufficient time to really coordinate the meeting to the full extent that we needed to.’ According to CNN, the meeting was on-track but was postponed because it would have been ‘too complicated’ domestically for the new Iranian leader. However, Rouhani claimed that he had full autonomy on conducting negotiations with the West and that he was operating with the full backing of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. ‘The supreme leader of Iran has said that should negotiations be necessary for the national interest of the country, he is in fact not opposed to it,’ said Rouhani to Amanpour. And in a revealing segment, he seemed to concede that the Holocaust did indeed occur, which is in stark contrast to his Ahmadinejad, who has in the past spoken of his desire to ‘destroy’ the state of Israel. ‘I have said before that I am not a historian, and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust it is the historians that should reflect on it,’ Rouhani told Amanpour. ‘But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, was reprehensible and condemnable as far as we are concerned.’ Message to the World: Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 Earlier in the day President Obama cautiously embraced overtures from Iran’s new president as the basis for a possible nuclear deal, but a failed effort to arrange a simple handshake between the two leaders underscored entrenched distrust that will be hard to overcome. In a speech to the United Nations, Obama said he was determined to test President Hassan Rouhani’s recent diplomatic gestures and challenged him to take concrete steps toward resolving Iran’s long-running nuclear dispute with the West. Hours later, Rouhani used his debut at the world body to pledge Iran’s willingness to engage immediately in ‘time-bound’ talks on the nuclear issue but he offered no new concessions and repeated many of Iran’s grievances against the United States, and Washington’s key Middle East ally, Israel. A senior U.S.