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Posts tagged ‘Samantha Power’

Boko Haram terrorists: Fulfil promises to Borno others, US tells President Jonathan.


US-state-department

THE United States has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to fulfil his promises to implement developmental projects in the troubled states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in order to curb Boko Haram insurgency in the region.

The three states have been under the emergency rule since May.

US Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who said this in her opening remarks at a meeting with some civil society organisations in Abuja on Wednesday, also expressed worry about what she called uncoordinated security crackdown on Boko Haram members.

This, she noted, had resulted in loss of lives of many innocent people.

She said, “The United States is concerned by some of the stories we hear of inhumane detention practices in Nigeria, and I have discussed this with officials here.

Security crackdowns that do not discriminate between legitimate targets and innocent civilians are both counterproductive and wrong.

“We know how hard it is to fight insurgency and terrorism, but we have also seen how much more effective we are when we put the welfare of the local population at the heart of our efforts.”

The envoy, who regretted that the US and Nigeria had been targets of terrorists, said the Nigerian government must implement policies that would help lay a foundation for longer term progress.

“I was pleased to hear President Jonathan’s announcement earlier this month of his development plan for the North-East. Efforts to fight poverty, create jobs, and respect the dignity and rights of all people would help lay a foundation for longer term progress. My government will be urging President Jonathan to fulfil his commitment to implement his plan as soon as possible,” she said.

Power said the meeting was called to have a candid conversation with civil society organisations to know the challenges confronting them in promoting free, fair, and transparent elections, fighting corruption, advancing responsible, effective, and rights-respecting approaches to insecurity.

She observed that the US and Nigeria shared much in common because they “both have vibrant civil societies, whose promotion of civic engagement was key to advancing important reforms and making government accountable to its citizens.

Power said, “In Nigeria, civil society organisations like yours have tirelessly advocated for increasing the credibility of elections and citizens’ participation in the electoral process, which is so vital for any democracy. You all have also worked to highlight the impact of poor governance and public corruption on the average Nigerian citizen who wants to contribute meaningfully to society.

“Tragically, we have both been targeted by terrorists. The brutality of the attacks against your people is shocking. In responding to these attacks, it is essential that we do so consistent with the most fundamental of international human rights norms.”

She said efforts of the civil society could help Nigeria to empower women, create new opportunities for young people, expose and curb corruption, strengthen democratic institutions, and ensure that the electoral process became free and fair.

Expressing the US concern over the irregularities in last month’s governorship election in Anambra State, Power said her country would follow closely the next governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

“The 2015 election will draw global attention and can – if you push hard enough – prove a model for all of Africa, if they are free, fair, and transparent,” she added.

Source: Radio Biafra.

UN Ambassador Power: Regret Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Every Day’.


U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power says she feels intense guilt she feels for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” during the 2008 presidential campaign.

“I’ve pretty much regretted it every day since,” she said on NBC’sToday” show Thursday.

Power made the “monster” comment off the record to a reporter for Scotland‘s The Scotsman when she was an aide to the Obama campaign.

“In Ohio, they are obsessed, and Hillary is going to town on it because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win,” Power said. “She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything,”

Now Power cringes at those remarks, she told the “Today” show.

“You lose your temper, and you’re in a campaign, and things go back and forth,” she said. “It just completely broke my heart . . . There is a fair amount of negativity heaped upon her that I find massively unfair. And the idea that I could have contributed in some way to that narrative was terrible.”

At the time, Power publicly apologized for her comments and quit the Obama campaign. Since then she has apologized to Clinton directly. “I was so grateful . . . to have the chance just to say in person what I had said to everybody,” Power said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Dan Weil

Grenell: Samantha Power Could Have Sought to Postpone Security Council Meeting.


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power might have been able to postpone Wednesday’s emergency meeting of the Security Council about the use of chemical weapons inside Syria rather than sending a subordinate, according to foreign policy expert Richard Grenell.

“Emergency meetings are only called for emergencies,” he told Newsmax exclusively on Friday. “They are rare. They can, however, easily be postponed a little while to allow for ambassadors who need to travel back from previously scheduled events.”

Grenell, the longtime communications director and de facto press secretary for four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, took Power to task for missing the meeting in an op-ed piece that was published early Friday by Newsmax.

“Samantha Power has been on the job exactly 19 days. In that time, she’s already traveled from New York to Los Angeles to deliver a speech. Her absence from the U.N. on Wednesday sends a terrible message at a time when U.S. credibility in the region is suffering,” he penned.

“While the mainstream media continue to describe Power as a ‘human rights advocate,’ the description seems pro forma and disingenuous. Shouldn’t a human rights advocate have to make human rights a priority?”

Fox News reported that Power was in Ireland on a personal trip at the time of the meeting. It also reported that there are some 20 daily flights from Dublin to New York’s JFK Airport, half of which would have been scheduled to arrive before the 3 p.m. start time of Wednesday’s Security Council meeting.

Ireland’s Radio Kerry reported that Power’s husband, Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein, was scheduled to speak at the Charlie Chaplin Film Festival in Waterville, Ireland, on Friday. He is a former advisor to President Barack Obama.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Paul Scicchitano

UN Diplomats: Power Missed Syria Meeting Because of Personal Trip.


United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power missed Wednesday’s emergency Security Council meeting on chemical weapons usage in Syria because she was on a personal trip, U.N. diplomats told Fox News.

They said she was in a location where travel arrangements could not be arranged to New York. Power sent a deputy to the meeting instead.

In a posting on Twitter, Power called for action by the United Nations after Syrian government forces reportedly used chemical weapons Wednesday to kill hundreds of civilians, including children.

“Reports devastating: 100s dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons. UN must get there fast & if true, perps must face justice,” Power wrote.

Power has been a powerful advocate of U.S. military intervention in Syria. She took over as U.N. ambassador Aug. 2. Previously she was a special assistant to the president and an official at the National Security Council.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton criticized Power for missing the Security Council meeting.

“I think the real work of the U.N. ambassador is the interaction with the other ambassadors in New York,” he told Fox News. “You can be on the phone, but if you’re not in the room it doesn’t make a difference.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to comment on Power’s whereabouts, other than to say she was on a previously scheduled trip.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Dan Weil

Grenell: Where Was Samantha Power?.


Image: Grenell: Where Was Samantha Power?

By Richard A. Grenell

For the past several years, President Obama has presided over a U.S. policy on Syria that has made the collective support of the international community a condition of American action. Every answer the president gives on the crisis in Syria includes working through the United Nations.

So when the United Nations Security Council called an emergency meeting on Wednesday about the use of chemical weapons inside Syria, it was perplexing that the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. was nowhere to be found.

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White House Deputy Spokesman Josh Earnest issued a statement on Syria’s use of chemical weapons that emphasized the United Nations as the only U.S. action to the crisis.

The president didn’t call for State Department action or a Department of Defense option plan — he only asked for a U.N. response.

Earnest said, “The United States strongly condemns any and all use of chemical weapons. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable. Today, we are formally requesting that the United Nations urgently investigate this new allegation.

The UN investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate. For the UN’s efforts to be credible, they must have immediate access to witnesses and affected individuals, and have the ability to examine and collect physical evidence without any interference or manipulation from the Syrian government.”

So the U.S. policy on Syria is to work through the United Nations. Where was Samantha Power?

Earnest even emphasized the emergency meeting in his statement: “We have also called for urgent consultations in the UN Security Council to discuss these allegations.”

But while the White House was pretending to be in urgent mode, the new U.S. ambassador didn’t think the meeting was worth her time. Her office reportedly told Reuters that she was on a trip. But to where? What was more important?

Samantha Power has been on the job exactly 19 days. In that time, she’s already traveled from New York to Los Angeles to deliver a speech. Her absence from the U.N. on Wednesday sends a terrible message at a time when U.S. credibility in the region is suffering.

While the mainstream media continue to describe Power as a “human rights advocate,” the description seems pro forma and disingenuous. Shouldn’t a human rights advocate have to make human rights a priority?

When President Obama nominated Power for the U.N. job, he called her a “relentless advocate for American interests. . .”

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I don’t think a relentless advocate would miss an emergency U.N. meeting on a chemical weapons attack that killed roughly 1,000 people.

Richard A. Grenell was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush to serve as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He is a partner with Capitol Media Partners specializing in strategic and crisis communications issues with public policy challenges. 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Former UN Ambassador Bolton: Power Should Have Been at Meeting.


Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton was critical of the current holder of the seat for missing a critical Security Council meeting on Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Ambassador Samantha Power sent an underling to the meeting on Wednesday, even though Power has long been a critic of the United Nations’ inaction against the Syrian government.

Bolton, appearing on Fox News Channel’sOn the Record with Greta Van Susteren” said his own recess appointment began on the first day of August, but there was so much work to be done readying for the U.N.’s mid-September session he wouldn’t think of taking a vacation.

Power herself only began serving as ambassador earlier this month.

“I think the real work of the U.N. ambassador is the interaction with the other ambassadors in New York,” Bolton said. “You can be on the phone, but if you’re not in the room it doesn’t make an difference.”

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to say where Power was other than on a previously scheduled trip.

Despite missing the meeting, Power tweeted “Reports devastating: 100s dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons. UN must get there fast & if true, perps must face justice.”

Bolton said Power’s absence is far less important than the state of President Barack Obama’s policy. Obama last year said the United States would take action if Syria used chemicals weapons, but has yet to take action after U.S. intelligence confirmed the use of weapons earlier this year.

The emergency meeting was called Wednesday after video surfaced purporting to show hundreds of dead Syrians, including children, in a new attack.

“If your policy is in such disarray as the Obama administration’s policy is across the board, tweeting is probably the best they can do,” Bolton said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Senate Panel OKs Samantha Power as UN Ambassador.


Image: Senate Panel OKs Samantha Power as UN Ambassador

Declan Power Sunstein hugs his mother, Samantha Power.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, clearing the way for a vote in the full 100-member Senate.

All but three of the panel’s 18 members voted in favor of Power, who was expected to win confirmation easily by the full Senate.

Venezuela said last week it was ending efforts to improve ties with the United States after Power vowed during her confirmation hearing to oppose what she called a crackdown on civil society in the “repressive” OPEC nation.

In an echo of the many bust-ups between the two countries during the late Hugo Chavez‘s 14-year rule, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demanded an apology and said the United States had no moral right to criticize his government.

The issue did not come up during Tuesday’s committee meeting.

Power had been criticized by some conservatives for seeming to suggest, in a 2002 interview, that the U.S. Army might be needed to police the Middle East conflict if either Israel or the Palestinians move toward genocide. Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her study of U.S. failures to prevent genocide, has disassociated herself many times from that comment.

There was some pointed questioning about past statements during her confirmation hearings, but Power was praised by many Republicans, as well as by Obama’s fellow Democrats. Several senators said they looked forward to her U.N. tenure.

The committee also overwhelmingly approved Victoria Nuland, a U.S. foreign policy official in both Democratic and Republican administrations, as an assistant secretary of state.

Nuland had faced questions over her role in State Department communications after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on American diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Venezuela Slams US Over ‘Repressive Regimes’ Remarks.


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demanded the United States apologize on Thursday after the Obama administration’s nominee for envoy to the United Nations said there was a crackdown on civil society in the South American country.

Maduro has often clashed with Washington since winning an April election following the death of his mentor, socialist leader Hugo Chavez. He said Samantha Power‘s comments to a Senate confirmation hearing had been aggressive and unfair.

“I want an immediate correction by the U.S. government,” Maduro said in comments broadcast live on state television. “Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth.”

His comment was an apparent reference to the not-guilty verdict handed down in the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman on Saturday for the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Maduro has been the most vocal of three Latin American leaders who offered asylum to Snowden, the 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor wanted by Washington for leaking details of secret surveillance programs.

Since taking office, Venezuela’s leader has veered between appearing to want better ties with Washington and denouncing alleged U.S. plots to assassinate him and trigger a coup d’etat.

During her Senate conformation hearing on Wednesday, Power vowed to stand up against “repressive regimes,” and said that meant “contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who became Chavez’s foreign minister and vice president, said the “fascist right” in Venezuela were gleefully applauding her comments.

“And the U.S. government says they want to have good relations? What tremendous relations they want,” he scoffed.

In June, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a regional summit. That meeting was seen as a sign of improving ties after years of hostility during Chavez’s 14-year rule.

But the latest collision came when Maduro became the first foreign leader to say explicitly that he was offering asylum to Snowden, who has been trapped in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than three weeks.

Bolivia and Nicaragua also subsequently offered him sanctuary, but Venezuela’s government has said it can do little to help him as long as he remains stuck at the airport.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Obama’s UN Nominee Calls Inaction on Syria ‘Disgrace’.


Image: Obama's UN Nominee Calls Inaction on Syria 'Disgrace'

Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, promised to push for action on Syria and fight what she termed “unacceptable bias” against Israel at the world body during her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.”We see the failure of the U.N. Security Council to respond to the slaughter in Syria – a disgrace that history will judge harshly,” Power, best known as a human rights advocate, said in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The 42-year-old’s confirmation is expected to win strong support in both the committee and full Senate. The foreign relations panel will likely vote on Power’s nomination next Tuesday, said Senator Robert Menendez, its chairman.

The committee’s approval would pave the way for a vote in the 100-member Senate shortly afterward.

During mostly friendly questioning, Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her study of U.S. failures to prevent genocide, called Syria one of the “most devastating cases of mass atrocity that I have ever seen.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s government has “written a new playbook for brutality,” she said. She said Washington needs to push Russia in particular on Syria, although she acknowledged that she does not expect action soon.

One U.N. Security Council diplomat expressed skepticism about Powers’ ability to bring Russia and China around to an anti-Assad stance on Syria, saying on condition of anonymity, “Good luck.”

Power said the United Nations should do more to push Iran to negotiate an end to its nuclear program. Noting that she had been part of the Obama administration push for tough sanctions, Power said she backed tightening them by closing loopholes.

Nominated to replace new National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Power also took a tough line on attitudes in the United Nations on Israel.

She promised to end what she termed “unacceptable bias and attacks” against the close U.S. ally, and criticized Iran, calling for tightened sanctions.

She also said she would lobby for Israel to get a seat on the U.N. Security Council, a U.S. policy that has been blocked by the large number of countries that are cold or hostile toward the Jewish state.

Power had been criticized by some conservatives for seeming to suggest, in a 2002 interview with an academic, that the U.S. Army might be needed to police the Middle East conflict if either Israel or the Palestinians move toward genocide.

Power has disassociated herself many times from that comment. On Wednesday, she called it part of “a long, rambling and remarkably incoherent response to a hypothetical question that I should never have answered.”

REPUBLICAN PRAISE

There was some pointed questioning about past statements – some made more than a decade ago – but Power was praised by many Republicans, as well as by Obama’s fellow Democrats. Several senators said they looked forward to her U.N. tenure.

“I am confident that the same passion that she has for human rights, she has for this country,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss, one of two Republican senators from Georgia who introduced Power, who grew up in the state.

Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the committee, said he expected Power would be “a significant and positive force at the United Nations,” but was one of several senators who urged her to pursue reforms at the world body.

“All too often the U.N. acts as a place where bad actors deflect criticism,” he said.

Some senators also pushed for more control of the U.N. budget, particularly the amount that Washington spends on peacekeeping, which Power promised to support.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a committee member, introduced legislation shortly before the hearing that would reduce U.S. funding to the United Nations unless there are major changes at the world body.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Rubio Calls for More Conditions on US Funding to the UN.


Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing legislation that would place tougher restrictions on U.S. funding for the United NationsThe Washington Times reports.

The Florida Republican planned to introduce a bill Wednesday to cap the U.S. contribution and make it voluntary. It would also create an inspector general’s position to review and track the contributions.

The Washington Times also noted that the bill would withhold funding from any U.N. entity that recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a member state unless it negotiates a peace deal with Israel.

The U.S. is the largest financial supporter of the United Nations. President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget calls for $617 million to help finance the world body’s general budget and $2.1 billion for its peacekeeping operations. The U.S. share of the U.N. general fund budget usually runs about 22 percent and about 27 percent of peacekeeping funding.

Rubio’s measure also blocks funding for activities related to a fact-finding mission that investigated the 2008-2009 war in Gaza, accusing both Hamas and Israel of targeting civilians, a charge that Israel denied.

The bill also bars funds to any U.N. group that works with non-government organizations that accept anti-Semitism.

Rubio’s measure surfaced on the same day that the Senate began confirmation hearings on former journalist and White House human rights adviser Samantha Power to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

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