BBC World Service News
09:00 GMT Sunday 22nd May 2011
Newsreader: Jonathan Izard
President Obama has indicated that he would be prepared to order another covert operation against Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan, despite the row with Islamabad that followed the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Mr Obama was speaking in a BBC interview. Steve Kingston reports from Washington. (TAPE) The discovery and killing of the Al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan shattered relations between Washington and Islamabad. But Mr. Obama says that if the target is right, he’s prepared to do the same again. He was asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr whether he would order a similar strike against the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Our job is to secure the United States. We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan, but we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies’ people. We can’t allow those kinds of active plans to come to fruition, without us taking some action. (LIVE)
But while declaring himself ready to take action against Mullah Omar, the President struck a different tone on the broader fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan, making it clear that an end to America’s longest ever war could only be brought about through dialogue with the enemy. (TAPE)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We’re not going to militarily solve this problem. What we can do is use the efforts that we’ve made militarily to broker a political settlement.
ANDREW MARR: And that means talking to the Taliban at some level.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ultimately it means talking to the Taliban, although we’ve been very clear about the requirements for any kind of serious reconciliation. The Taliban would have to cut all ties to Al-Qaeda, renounce violence, and they would have to respect the Afghan constitution. (LIVE) President Obama speaking to the BBC.
Suspected Taliban militants have stormed police buildings in the Eastern Afghan city of Khost, killing four security personnel. Officials say the attackers were wearing security uniforms, as they entered the traffic police headquarters, and attacked a nearby police building. Afghan security forces have surrounded the area, where a heavy gun battle is said to be underway.
Southern Sudan has described the seizure of the disputed town of Abyei on the border with Northern Sudan as ” an act of war.” Speaking to the BBC, Colonel Philip Aguer said the North had attacked the oil-rich area with 5,000 troops. The attack comes weeks before the South is due to become independent. James Copnall reports from Khartoum. (TAPE) In a clear demonstration of who is now in charge of Abyei, President Omar al-Bashir issued a decree dismissing the regions’s administration. Abyei had been governed by a joint body comprised of Northerners and Southerners, led by a Southerner. The U.N. Security Council will undoubtedly raise this, and the surprise Northern military action, in its meetings today with senior Northern officials, including the Vice-President Ali Osman Taha. The Security Council had planned to visit Abyei on Monday, but this has now been cancelled.(LIVE)
Security officials in Iraq say at least 13 people have been killed and more than 60 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in and around Baghdad. The attacks targeted mainly Shia areas. Jim Muir reports. (TAPE) In what appeared to be a co-ordinated campaign, a series of bombs went off during the morning rush hour in many parts of the city and its suburbs. Police said there were at least 14 bombs of one sort or another, some planted at the roadside, others in cars. The most serious attack was at Taji to the north of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber blew himself up, among policemen drawn to the scene of an earlier car bomb explosion. General levels of violence in Iraq are very much lower than at the height of the sectarian carnage five years ago. Attacks of one sort or another still happen virtually every day though, but such a spate of explosions in such a short time, is highly unusual.
The British military operation in Iraq is coming to a close today, eight years after the United States-led invasion which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein. A Royal Navy training mission is being withdrawn, marking the end of a deployment which at its peak involved 46,000 men and women. 179 British personnel lost their lives in Iraq, and the war’s legacy is still the subject of intense controversy in Britain.
Polls have opened in Spain for local and regional elections, amid a wave of demonstrations against mass unemployment. Tens of thousands of mostly young people have been camping out in the main squares of cities across the country. The governing Socialist Party is expected to suffer heavy losses, over its handling of Spain’s economic crisis.
The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea have agreed to set up an early warning system to alert each other of possible emergencies at their nuclear facilities, two months after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power station was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami. Tha Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed to the measure after a meeting in Tokyo with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korea’s President Lee Myung-Bak.