You are herediplomacy


2008 election for change - leading US out of debt, world out of war? Obama, Biden won: "two wars, worst financial crisis"

Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," President-elect Barack Obama said after his victory. The first black president-elect cast his election as a defining moment in the country's 232-year history and a rebuke to cynicism, fear and doubt. "Even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century," he said. "There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and, for us to lead, alliances to repair."

both Obama and McCain’s speeches call for unity

Obama’s victory speech was delivered before a multiracial crowd that city officials estimated at 240,000 people. He said he had received an "extraordinarily gracious" call from his Republican rival John McCain, who he said had "fought long and hard" for this campaign and for his country. "We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader," he said of the former Vietnam prisoner of war, "and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the month's ahead."  read more »

World's most decorated penguin: Sir Nils Olav, honorary colonel-in-chief of Norwegian King's Guard, now a knight

King penguin Nils Olav walks past soldiers from the Norwegian King's Guard after he was given a Knighthood at Edinburgh Zoo August 15, 2008. Edinburgh Zoo penguin Olav has been an honorary member and mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard since the 1980s and was made Honorary Colonel-in-Chief in 2005

*UPDATE 22 Aug 2016* Knighted penguin Sir Nils Olav inspects his guard and gets promoted to Brigadier


For the com- manding officer of the Nor- wegian King's Guard, it was a moment as surreal as it was moving. As Lieutenant-Colonel Ingrid Gjerde surveyed the scene before her in Edinburgh yesterday, she must have wondered whether she was dreaming. For the King's Guard was about to award a knighthood to what was already the world's most decorated penguin.

Nils, or now Sir Nils Olav, waddled into the history books Friday when he was knighted by a visiting royal Norwegian regiment in Scotland. The king penguin became the first black-and-white pint-sized Norwegian Sir with wings after inspecting the Norwegian King's Guard, which is visiting Edinburgh for the annual Military Tattoo.  read more »

Iraq Prime Minister pushes for firm withdrawal date, demands all foreign troops out by 2011

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims march in a rally in the holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, to denounce the surprise visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iraq last week. Maliki publicly demanded a deadline for the U.S. departure from Iraq


BAGHDAD — Days after top Iraqi and American officials suggested that a draft of the security pact between the countries was close, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki toughened his language, reiterating earlier Iraqi demands for a fixed date for the withdrawal of American troops. “It is not possible for any agreement to conclude unless it is on the basis of full sovereignty and the national interest, and that no foreign soldiers remain in Iraqi soil after a defined time ceiling,” Mr. Maliki said in a speech to Shiite tribal leaders in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki  read more »

EU, US and Iran to hold historical nuclear talks in Geneva; Iran Open to US Diplomatic Talks

Senior official William Burns will sit at the same table as Iran's negotiator


GENEVA (Reuters) - Major world powers will sound out Iran's readiness to negotiate an end to the long dispute over its nuclear program on Saturday. The unprecedented participation of a senior U.S. official in the one-day meeting in Geneva, together with Iranian comments playing down the likelihood of an attack by the United States and Israel, have raised hopes of progress.

Arriving for talks with officials from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- the so-called sextet -- chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said he had "positive intentions". Jalili has a mandate from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take any decision needed, a senior Iranian official told Reuters, adding that the meeting "will clarify the fate of the negotiations".

senior Iran diplomat Jalili will discuss Iran's nuclear program with Western officials over the weekend  read more »

Charm of diplomatic optimism: EU, Britain, France, Germany, Russia & China, direct talks with Iran while Bush quick to condemn

Mr Solana was on a charm offensive in Iran


They are not usually used to the limelight. In fact you might imagine them blinking as they emerge into the sunshine. The political directors of the foreign policy departments of the great powers are the archetypal bureaucrats - more used to influencing policy behind closed doors, than appearing before the glare of television lights.

But in the stylish residence of the German ambassador to Iran, they took their place alongside the EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana, in what was, not for the first time in Tehran, a rather bizarre news conference. The aim was to demonstrate the unity of the international community, in the face of Iran's nuclear programme. In the event, it showed rather the opposite.

Mr Solana's mission was to bring a new package of incentives, designed to encourage Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium - the process the West fears could be used to make a nuclear bomb.

Ahmadinejad says Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful

Diplomatic optimism

But while he was in the process of delicately explaining his offer to various Iranian officials, US President George W Bush jumped the gun, and announced that Iran had already rejected the package "out of hand".

In fact, as Mr Solana quietly explained later on, Iran has agreed to take away the ideas and think about them.

It was more than just a misunderstanding on Mr Bush's part.

What was so striking was the difference in tone. President Bush was quick to condemn the Iranian government at the earliest opportunity.  read more »

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