Connect with us

Foreign

Pompeo rebukes ICC for allowing appeal of war crimes probe decision

Published

on

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday rebuked the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allowing an appeal of its decision against opening an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan.


Pompeo said the U.S. “remains committed to protecting its personnel from the ICC’s wrong-headed efforts spearheaded by a few grandstanders.”


Judges at the Hague-based court in April rejected investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan since 2003, effectively backing off from a fight with the U.S. government.


The judges said at the time that while there was a reasonable basis to believe crimes took place, the prospect for a successful prosecution was “extremely limited.”


But last month the court said chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda may appeal this decision.


Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday that the appeals process “is pointless as far as we are concerned.”


The U.S. has consistently objected to any attempts to assert ICC jurisdiction over U.S. personnel, he said.


An investigation by the ICC of U.S. personnel “would be unjustified and unwarranted,” Pompeo added.


The U.S. is not party to the ICC, and thus its citizens are not under the court’s jurisdiction, but Pompeo said the U.S. respects the decision of those nations that have joined the court.


FAT/YEE

Edited by Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim

Foreign

Pompeo doubles down on recommendation for Trump to fire State Department watchdog

Published

on

By

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday doubled down on his request for President Donald Trump to fire State Department’s Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick amid bipartisan scrutiny.

“I recommended to the President that Steve Linick be terminated. Frankly, should’ve done it some time ago,” Pompeo told reporters during a briefing at the State Department.

Trump said last week that he was firing Linick because he did not have the fullest confidence in the official, who began his tenure as the State Department’s watchdog in 2013.

That decision has sparked an inquiry by Democrats and scrutiny even from a number of Republicans, as Linick was reportedly looking into a number of issues relating to Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state.

On Wednesday, Pompeo denied any knowledge of investigations being undertaken by Linick.

“I’ve seen the various stories that someone was walking my dog to sell arms to my dry cleaner, I mean, it’s just crazy,” he said, arguing that charges of political retaliation are “patently false.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that Pompeo should testify before Congress.

“Let’s see how this unfolds,” the California Democrat told reporters on Capitol Hill. “But what it is that we know so far is scandalous.”

As inspector general, Linick was responsible for, among other things, conducting administrative and criminal investigations of waste, fraud, mismanagement, and misconduct in the State Department, according to his online biography.

Besides Linick, Trump has moved in the past few weeks to fire Intelligence Community IG Michael Atkinson, acting Pentagon IG Glenn Fine, and Christi Grimm, principal deputy IG of the Department of Health and Human Services.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Trump says state department watchdog fired under Pompeo’s request

Published

on

By

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked him to fire the State Department’s Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick, of whom the president said had never heard.

Asked about his Friday’s decision to oust Linick, Trump told reporters in the White House that “I don’t know him at all, I never even heard of him, but I was asked to by the state department, by Mike.”

“He is an Obama employee … they ask me to terminate him, I have the absolute right as president to terminate,” Trump said, adding that the removal should have been done a long time ago.

Trump also downplayed the reports about the state department watchdog was investigating if Pompeo had asked a staffer to run personal errands for him or his administration’s decision to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia by declaring an emergency last year.

In an interview with The Washington Post earlier in the day, Pompeo said that he asked Trump to fire Linick, but he noted that he was unaware of Linick’s ongoing investigation on him.

“It is not possible that this decision, or my recommendation rather, to the president rather, was based on any effort to retaliate for any investigation that was going on or is currently going on,” Pompeo said. “Because I simply don’t know. I’m not briefed on it. I usually see these investigations in final draft form 24 hours, 48 hours before the IG is prepared to release them.”

U.S. media reported Sunday that Linick was investigating whether Pompeo “made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning, and make dinner reservations” for him and his wife.

Eliot Engel, chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee, told U.S. media on Monday that Linick’s office was also investigating Pompeo’s decision to fast-track 8 billion U.S. dollars arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year.

Trump’s decision to fire Linick is coming under bipartisan scrutiny. “The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented,” tweeted Senator Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, and 2012 Republican presidential nominee. “Doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose.”

Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said Saturday that they had launched an investigation into the move, which they said was “politically-motivated.”

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Ousted watchdog reportedly looking into whether Pompeo made staffer run personal errands

Published

on

By

Ousted Inspector General for the U.S. State Department Steve Linick was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had asked a staffer to run personal errands for him, U.S. media outlets reported on Sunday.

NBC News, citing two congressional officials, reported that Linick, whom U.S. President Donald Trump announced fired late Friday night, was investigating whether Pompeo “made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations” for him and his wife.

The officials said they are working to learn whether Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo, according to NBC News.

CNN and The New York Times also reported the allegations on Sunday.

Trump said he’s firing Linick because he hasn’t had the fullest confidence in the official, who began his tenure as the State Department’s watchdog in 2013.

A White House official reportedly said Pompeo, the administration’s second secretary of state, recommended the move and Trump agreed.

The decision has triggered an inquiry from Democrats and scrutiny even from several Republicans.

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who co-authored a law asking U.S. president to notify Congress 30 days prior to the removal of an inspector general along with the reasons for the move, tweeted on Saturday that the White House has not provided the kind of justification for the firing of Linick required by the law.

“I have long been a strong advocate for the Inspectors General,” she said. “They are vital partners in Congress’s effort to identify inefficient or ineffective government programs and to root out fraud and other wrongdoing.”

As inspector general, Linick was responsible for, among other things, conducting administrative and criminal investigations of waste, fraud, mismanagement, and misconduct in the State Department, according to his online biography.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Pompeo concludes visit in Israel after talks over West Bank annexation plan

Published

on

By

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concluded his visit to Israel on Wednesday afternoon after meeting Israeli leaders over the country’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

During his six-hour visit, Pompeo held separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist party of Blue and White and Netanyahu’s partner in the soon-to-be unity government.

He also met Gabi Ashkenazi, a lawmaker with Blue and White who is expected to serve as the new government’s foreign minister, and Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

The talk with Netanyahu focused on the prime minister’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley that took a major part of his re-election campaign in March, the COVID-19 outbreak, and Iran.

In joint remarks at the start of their meeting, Pompeo accused Iran of attempting to “foment terror” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The campaign that we have been part of to reduce resources has borne fruit,” he said, referring to the nuclear-related sanctions Washington has imposed on Iran.

Netanyahu expressed his “appreciation” for the U.S. government’s “strong position” against Iran.

“Iran has not stopped for a minute its aggressive designs and its aggressive actions against Americans, Israelis and everyone else in the region,” he said.

He also praised the “unbreakable bond” between Israel and the United States.

The unity government, expected to be inaugurated on Thursday, “is an opportunity to promote peace and security based on the understandings that I reached with President (Donald) Trump” in January, Netanyahu said.

Pompeo landed in the morning at the Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv and headed directly to Jerusalem, with an exemption from the Israeli two-week quarantine requirement.

This was the first international official arriving in Israel since January when the Israeli government started to impose anti-coronavirus restrictions.

The visit comes just a day before the swearing-in ceremony of a new power-sharing Israeli government led by Netanyahu and Gantz.

Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to annex the Jordan Valley, which was captured by Israel together with the rest of the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East war. Under the unity deal signed by Netanyahu and Gantz in April, he could make the move from July.

The annexation is actually part of Trump’s peace plan for Middle East, better known as the Deal of Century, but it was not immediately clear if Washington will back the timing of the move.

The plan is strongly objected by the Palestinians and the Arab world as well as international organizations such as the United Nations, which denounced the plan as a violation of international law.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Pompeo lauds Israel over coronavirus cooperation, raps China

Published

on

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes the hand of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following their meeting in Jerusalem on Oct. 18, 2019. (AFP file Photo via Getty Images)

Cooperation

Jerusalem, 13, 2020 U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday praised Israel for sharing information during global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and took another swipe at China over what he said was its lack of transparency.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his senior officials have engaged in a war of words with China, where the new coronavirus first emerged.

They said it failed to inform the world fast enough about the dangers it posed and muzzled those who raised the alarm.

However, Beijing strongly denied the charges.

Pompeo told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his arrival in Israel on a one-day visit, “you’re a great partner, you share information.

“Unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide that information and we’ll talk about that country, too.’’

Pompeo did not name China and did not give specific examples of Israeli cooperation in the fight against coronavirus.

Earlier, he repeated Washington’s charges against Beijing in an interview for the Israel Hayom newspaper.

“Here is what we know for sure.

“The virus originated in Wuhan, China.

“The Chinese Communist Party knew about this virus in December 2019 and attempted to obfuscate this.

“They denied people the ability to talk, they didn’t share this information quickly enough, they created enormous risk for the world,’’ he said.

The U.S. has previously cautioned Israel against potential security threats from Chinese investment in Israel, prompting the Netanyahu government to set up a committee in October 2019 to vet such projects.

Israel, with a population of nine million, has reported 16,539 new coronavirus cases including 262 deaths.

The U.S., which has 328 million people, has reported 1.4 million cases and over 83,000 deaths, the world’s highest number.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Pompeo in Jerusalem to discuss annexation with Israeli leaders

Published

on

By

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel on Wednesday for talks with Israeli leaders on Israel’s plan to annex portions of the occupied West Bank and other issues.

His brief visit began with meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the official prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

In joint remarks at the start of the meeting, Pompeo accused Iran of attempting to “foment terror” during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The campaign that we have been part of to reduce resources has born fruit,” he said, referring to the nuclear-related sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

Referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan, Pompeo said that “there remains work to do.”

Pompeo will also meet with Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, Gabi Ashkenazi, a lawmaker with Blue and White party who is expected to be appointed foreign minister in the new unity government, and Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

Pompeo landed in the morning at the Ben Gurion international airport outside Tel Aviv, wearing a mask in the colors of the U.S. flag. He headed directly to Jerusalem, receiving an exemption from the Israeli two-week quarantine requirement.

His visit is the first visit to Israel by an official since January and the beginning of the coronavirus-related restriction.

His visit comes a day before the swearing-in ceremony of a new power-sharing government led by Netanyahu and Gantz.

Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to annex the Jordan Valley, part of the occupied West Bank. Under the unity deal signed by Netanyahu and Gantz in April, he could do the move starting from July.

The annexation is part of Trump’s peace plan, but it was not immediately clear if the U.S. will back the timing of the move.

The plan is objected by the Palestinians and the Arab world as well as international forums such as the United Nations, which denounced the plan as a violation of international law.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Pompeo uses one lie to cover up another on China’s handling of COVID-19: spokesperson

Published

on

By

https://vodpub2.v.news.cn/publish/20200508/XxjhmeE007052_20200508_CBVFN0A001.mp4%20%20

https://vodpub2.v.news.cn/publish/20200508/XxjhmeE007052_20200508_CBVFN0A001.mp4%20%20

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told one lie to cover up another in his continued attacks against China over its handling of the COVID-19 epidemic, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Pompeo reaffirms U.S. mission to denuke N.Korea after Kim’s return to public eye

Published

on

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has renewed Washington’s goal of denuclearising North Korea and creating a “bright future” for its people after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s return to the public eye following his 20-day absence.

In an interview with ABC News’ “This Week”, Pompeo also cast the two Koreas’ recent exchange of gunfire, which was triggered by the North’s gunshots, as “accidental” amid worries that the flare-up of tensions could undercut efforts to resume dialogue with Pyongyang.

“Our mission has remained the same, to convince the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons, to verify the same, and to then create a brighter future for the North Korean people,” the secretary said.

“That’s been something President (Donald) Trump’s been focused on since the beginning of his time in office and something we’ll continue to work on,” he added.

On Saturday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported on Kim’s visit to a fertilizer factory completion ceremony in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang, on Friday, ending rumors of his failing health.

Kim had disappeared from the public view since he presided over a premier ruling party meeting on April 11.

Various rumors emerged afterward, including Kim being in a coma after surgery or the ruler simply self-isolating over coronavirus concerns.

Asked about Kim’s weekslong absence, Pompeo refused to comment in detail.

“There’s not much that I can share with you about what we knew about Chairman Kim’s activities during that time. We don’t know why he chose to miss that moment,” he said, referring to Kim’s absence from an event marking the April 15 birth anniversary of his late grandfather and national founder, Kim Il-sung.

“We know there have been other extended periods of time where Chairman Kim’s been out of public view as well, so it’s not unprecedented,” he added.

On Sunday, border tensions flared anew as Pyongyang fired several gunshots that hit a South Korean guard post at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), prompting the South to fire back.

Pompeo pointed out that there were no casualties on either side.

“We think those were accidental. South Koreans did return fire.

“So far as we can tell, there was no loss of life on either side,” he said.

A Seoul official said the North’s firings did not appear to be intentional.

But the military authorities made it clear that the incident was a breach of the 2018 inter-Korean military pact aimed at building confidence and reducing border tensions.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

U.S. will not let Iran buy arms when UN embargo ends- Pompeo

Published

on

The United States will not allow Iran to purchase conventional arms after a UN prohibition on this expires in October, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“We’re not going to let that happen,” Pompeo said at a news briefing.

“We will work with the UN Security Council to extend that prohibition on those arms sales and then in the event we can’t get anyone else to act, the U.S. is evaluating every possibility about how we might do that.”

The U.S. in 2018 withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal that sought to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

As part of that deal, a UN arms embargo on Iran expires in October.

A U.S.-drafted resolution to extend the embargo has been given to Britain, France and Germany, all parties to the nuclear deal, a U.S. official confirmed.

However, UN diplomats said it has not been shared with the remaining 11 UN Security Council members, including Russia and China. Russia and China.

The Security Council members which hold vetoes on the council and are parties to the nuclear deal, are believed to be eager to sell armaments to Iran.

“The failures of the Iran nuclear deal are legion. One of them is now upon us. … where China, Russia, and other countries from around the world can all sell significant conventional weapon systems to the Iranians in October, Pompeo said.

“We are urging our E3 partners to take action. This is within their capacity to do,” he added

He was referring to Britain, France and Germany, each of which has the ability to force the “snapback” of all UN sanctions on Iran – including the conventional arms embargo – lifted under the nuclear deal.

Several European diplomats said since Washington has pulled out of the nuclear deal, it may not be able to spark a sanctions snapback, but Pompeo on Wednesday pushed back on that argument.

“The UN Security Council Resolution 2231 is very clear.

“We don’t have to declare ourselves as a participant…It’s there in the language…It’s unambigious and the rights that accrue to participants in the UN Security Council resolution are fully available to all those participants,” he said.

Some UN diplomats said that while legal opinions on whether the U.S. could do this were split, ultimately it would be up to council members to decide whether to accept a U.S. complaint of “significant non-performance” by Iran.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Read Also