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Daily Archives: June 5, 2009

Turkey will not sacrifice interests for IMF deal

Turkey is still in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a fresh loan, but will not sign a deal if it is against the country's interests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday.
Turkey has been negotiating with the IMF for a new three-year stand-by deal since a 10-billion-dollar (7.0-billion-euro) programme expired in May last year, but the talks have yet to produce a result, leading to doubts that a deal will happen in the immediate term.
"We are continuing to talk with the IMF. There are no problems there […] But let me underline that we cannot say 'yes' to an agreement that will harm the country's interests," Erdogan told a news conference during which he unveiled a package of investment and employment incentives.
"If a proposal [from the IMF] has a political content, we cannot look on it positively," he added, without elaborating.
Ankara has handed the Fund its counter-proposals and is hoping to hear from them by the end of the month, the prime minister said.
Markets and businessmen have been urging the government to sign a fresh deal with the IMF in order to boost investor confidence and help the country weather the global slowdwon.
But recent press reports suggested that there was no cabinet consensus on an IMF deal.
Turkey's economy contracted 6.2 percent in the last quarter of 2008 and the government has said that it expects gross domestic product to shrink by 3.6 percent in 2009.
The IMF has said that the contraction in the Turkish economy could reach 5.1 percent.

Obama reiterates support for Palestinian state

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US president Barack Obama vowed yesterday that the United States will not turn its back on the "legitimate" Palestinian aspiration for a state, saying two states are the "only resolution" to the conflict with Israel.
In a speech at Cairo University, he spoke of the dislocation and suffering of the Palestinian people over the past 60 years and said "let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.
"America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own," while calling on Palestinians to abandon violence.
Obama also pointed to the suffering of the Jewish people over the centuries and to the Holocaust, denial of which he said was "baseless, ignorant and hateful."
"Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the the people of this region deserve."
Pointing to the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians over the "legitimate aspirations" of both peoples, Obama said "the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security."

Iran's right to peaceful nuclear power

Obama also said the nuclear showdown with Iran had reached a decisive point but that Tehran had the right to peaceful nuclear power if it abided by international treaties.
Obama, who broke with former US policy of isolating Tehran, said it would be hard to "overcome decades of mistrust" but he had made clear to Iran's leaders and people that the United States was prepared to move forward in relations with Iran.
"But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons we have reached a decisive point.
"This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path."
In an apparent reference to Israel, believed to be only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, Obama said he understood protests "that some countries have weapons that others do not."
He added that this was why he reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a nuclear-weapons-free world.
He said that "any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."
Iran has resolutely maintained its right to a nuclear programme which it insists is purely for peaceful means.
This has put it on a collision course with Western powers who suspect it of seeking nuclear weapons.
Iran's arch-foe Israel has refused to rule out a military strike to ensure Tehran does not become a nuclear-armed nation.