My, but we Americans are a demanding and, at times, pathetically optimistic bunch.
As the deadline set by the UN approaches, the US is pushing for swift sanctions against Iran for its lack of compliance with the international committee’s demand to stop its nuclear enrichment program, American officials said Monday.
Iran is expected to provide its response to the European incentive package on Tuesday, but the US is looking ahead to the UN deadline set August 31. Sources in Washington speculated that the Iranian response to the incentive package would not be conclusive, yet would include no sign of willingness to stop the uranium enrichment process.
US President George W. Bush said Monday he hoped the international community moved quickly to impose sanctions against Iran in case it decides to go ahead with its nuclear project.
UN force must be deployed immediately, says Bush
George Bush called yesterday for the urgent deployment of a UN force in southern Lebanon, while offering American help with logistics, communications and intelligence. He also urged France to contribute more troops.
Mr Bush was speaking as the week-old ceasefire was in danger of unravelling, following an Israeli raid into Lebanon and an increasing reluctance among European countries to contribute soldiers to an expanded UN force.
Under the terms of a UN resolution passed this month, the force was to number 15,000 and be joined by a similar contingent of Lebanese government troops at the southern border, providing a buffer between Hizbullah and Israel.
But France, which was supposed to lead the expanded UN force, has offered only 200 troops, while Israel has blocked the participation of countries with which it has no diplomatic relations, ruling out Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Romano Prodi, Italy’s prime minister, said yesterday he was willing to accept Israel’s request for it to command the peacekeeping force, but said that the UN secretary general would have the final say in who should lead the peacekeepers.
The United States Monday called on the government of Sudan to allow deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur “without delay.” The current African Union observer mission in the region is ill-equipped and under-funded, and lost two members killed in an ambush Saturday.
Officials here are pointing to Saturday’s ambush as further evidence of a deteriorating security situation in Darfur that they say requires the early deployment of a full-scale U.N. peace force.
The United States and Britain last week introduced a resolution in the Security Council that would re-make the current African Union mission in Darfur into a United Nations peacekeeping force.
But the Sudanese government continues to oppose the idea, with President Omar al-Bashir threatening to forcibly resist its introduction.
Of these three stories, I expect the U.N. and the global community to respond quickly with grumblings, stutterings and grandiose pronouncements of nothingness, respectively. If not respectively, then in any order the reader elects to apply the three courses of inaction to the three stories.