Obama invites Singapore PM to nuclear summit
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 17:10
  
Singapore: US President Barack Obama on Sunday invited Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to a nuclear summit next year in recognition of the city-state's key security role, US officials said.

"Singapore serves as a critical trading hub in the region, and we commend Singapore's commitment to counter-proliferation efforts," National Security Council spokesman Michael Hammer said after talks between the two leaders.

Singapore was one of the first countries to sign on to the US Proliferation Security Initiative, aimed at halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction by closely monitoring international cargo passing through its ports.

The initiative was launched in 2003 and now has the support of more than 90 countries, the US State Department says. A US-Singapore free trade agreement was also signed by the two close allies in 2003.

Singapore has one of the world's busiest sea ports and provides non-combat and reconstruction support to US-led military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as access for US forces including aircraft carriers.

"As the first country in the region to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative, Singapore is working to expand the reach and membership of this important tool to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction," Hammer said.

Bureau Report ////////////////////// Ban Ki-moon goes on a hunger strike against hunger United Nations: UN Chief Ban Ki-moon observed a 24 hour fast in solidarity with a billion hungry people worldwide, his spokesperson Marie Okabe has said.

Ban, who observed the fast this weekend, days ahead of World Food Summit in Rome will deliver a speech at the opening of the three-day summit on Monday in which he is expected to say that "it is unacceptable that more than one billion go hungry when the world has more than enough food", Okabe told reporters here.

"He will also highlight the human cost of the recent food, energy and economic crises and say that these crises are a wake-up call for tomorrow," she added. "In particular, he will emphasise the link between food security and climate change."

FAO has launched an online campaign calling on the general public to sign a call for eradicating hunger and had asked the people to go on a "hunger strike against hunger." It notes that the participants may fast as long as they deem appropriate.

Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO, who ended his 24-hour fast yesterday said, "The silent hunger crisis affecting one sixth of all of humanity poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world.”

FAO finds that directly or indirectly, agriculture provides the livelihood for 70 percent of the world's poor. The current crises stems from 20 years of under-investment in agriculture and neglect of the sector.

The Summit has been convened to build political momentum to increase investment in agriculture and urge the international community to battle hunger.

Around 60 heads of State and Government are expected to attend the Summit where Pope Benedict XVI will deliver a keynote speech on Monday.

Bureau Report

The initiative was launched in 2003 and now has the support of more than 90 countries, the US State Department says. A US-Singapore free trade agreement was also signed by the two close allies in 2003.

Singapore has one of the world's busiest sea ports and provides non-combat and reconstruction support to US-led military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as access for US forces including aircraft carriers.

"As the first country in the region to sign on to the Proliferation Security Initiative, Singapore is working to expand the reach and membership of this important tool to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction," Hammer said.

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 17:10


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