WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama once again called for the release of Aljazeera English journalists, jailed for seven years in Cairo on June 23. On the last day of the US-Africa Summit on Wednesday, he said the US demands the freedom of journalists to report, a basic tenet of a civilised society. “On the specific issue with Aljazeera journalists in Egypt we have been clear publicly and privately that they should be released. We have been very consistent in pushing governments not just in Africa but around the world to respect the right of journalists to practise their trade as a critical part of civil society and a critical part of any democratic norm,” he said. Al Anstey, Managing Director, Aljazeera English also renewed the call for the immediate release of their staff.
WASHINGTON: The US warned yesterday a jihadist offensive in northern Iraq could provoke a “humanitarian catastrophe,” amid reports that President Barack Obama was considering military action. A Pentagon official said the US military is helping the Baghdad government coordinate air drops of humanitarian aid to civilians and the White House did not rule out future direct action. The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting on Iraq, after Islamist militants seized the country’s largest Christian town of Qaraqosh. The meeting was requested by France.
WASHINGTON: The six major powers and the European Union would meet Iran in advance of this September’s UN General Assembly. The location for the meeting has yet to be decided, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said yesterday. US and Iranian officials had a “constructive discussion” about Tehran’s nuclear programme in Geneva, she said, without providing details.