From Washington, this is VOA news. The United States to send Patriot missiles to Jordan. Global arms trade treaty singed at the U.N. I’m Ray Kouguell reporting from Washington.
The United States is sending Patriot missiles and F16 fighter jet aircraft to Jordan as part of a planned military exercise with an agreement that some of the equipment may stay in the country to bolster security against violence from Syria.
A spokesman at the U.S. Central Command told VOA the deployment will send the weapons for a multi-national training exercise called Eager Lion later this month.
Concern is growing that Syrian missiles being shipped to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia could be used to attack targets across the region.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria’s military’s siege of Qusair risks widespread civilian casualties. Secretary Kerry says civilians are under near-constant assault by forces of President Bashar al-Assad and allies from Iran and the Lebanese-based militant group Hezbollah.
He calls President Assad’s conduct unacceptable by any standard.
“The world is seeing the actions of a person who has lost touch with any reality except his own and who is willing to wreak any kind of punishment [on his own] on the people of his country simply so that he can maintain power.”
Secretary Kerry says “all civilized countries” call on President Assad to engage in a legitimate peace process.
President Obama signed off a new U.S. sanctions against Iran, targeting its already shaky currency, the rial.
The White House says it will be imposing sanctions on foreign banks and others who knowingly buy or sell large amounts of the rial.
The United States also will sanction those who sell parts that Iran can use to build cars, trucks and other vehicles.
Members of the Afghan Taliban say they met with Iranian officials and clergy in Iran despite deep differences in Muslim ideology between the two. VOA’s Sharon Behn reports.
According to a Taliban statement released in Kabul, two groups of Taliban militants were recently in Iran at the invitation of the Tehran government. One group is in on an unspecified three-day visit, while a second took part in an Islamic conference.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai had little to say on the reported talks.
He says the Kabul government is in touch with the Islamic Republic of Iran to confirm these reports. But before hearing them, he thinks there is no need for further comment on this issue.
Sharon Behn, VOA news, Islamabad.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says calm is returning to his country while he dismisses anti-government protest as bitterness over lost elections.
Thousands have been marching in Ankara and other cities since Friday, accusing the prime minister of imposing Islamic views on a secular nation.
At least one person was killed and hundreds injured as police used tear gas and water cannon against rock-throwing crowds.
More than 60 countries have agreed to an arms trade treaty. The first such international agreement was signed Monday at the United Nations aimed at efficiently regulating the global trade in conventional weapons. VOA’s Margaret Besheer has more.
After they say more than half million people are killed worldwide by armed violence each year, they hope through the implementation of international regulatory standards they can lower those numbers.
Anna MacDonald, head of Arms Control at Oxfam, said the treaty will also help make the arms trade more transparent.
“The world has come together and said ‘Enough!’ to unscrupulous arms dealers, dictators and human rights abusers. We have a clear message. Your days of easy access to weapons and ammunition are over. The world is watching, and the world will hold you to account.”
A decade in the making, the treaty will become part of international law and go into force 90 days after 50 countries have signed and ratified it. MacDonald said that could take about two years.
Margaret Besheer, VOA news, the United Nations.
For the first time, the United States is offering rewards to help track down terror suspects in West Africa. The State Department is offering $23-million in rewards for information on the whereabouts of five top militants in the region.
Its highest reward of up to 7 million is for the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.
A U.S. federal grand jury has indicted a Mississippi man for allegedly sending poisoned letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge.
James Dutschke faces life in prison if convicted. He allegedly sent ricin-laced letters to Mr. Obama and Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker.
The letters were intercepted at mail handling facilities and the president and the senator were never in any danger.
I’m Ray Kouguell, VOA news.
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