World briefs: 3/6/10

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Clinton: U.S. part of Latin drug trade

GUATEMALA CITY -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. is "part of the problem" in Central America's worsening drug trade, and is working to reduce demand at home while assisting neighbors in their fight against traffickers.

"The United States under the Obama administration recognizes and accepts its share of responsibilities for the problems posed by drug trafficking in this region," Mrs. Clinton said today at a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City, before meeting with regional presidents.

"That's an admission that we have been willing to make this past year," she said, adding the U.S. is determined to help Central America "fight this criminal scourge."

Mrs. Clinton said an important aspect of her meetings today with regional presidents and senior officials is asking what assistance their governments want from the U.S.

Mrs. Clinton acknowledged a criticism often heard in Central America that U.S. assistance for anti-drug operations in Colombia and Mexico -- two nations that are home to the biggest drug cartels in the region -- has encouraged traffickers to shift operations to Central America.

Praise, but no deal

MOSCOW -- Russian and Ukrainian presidents lavished praise on each other Friday for moving past the "degraded" relations that followed Ukraine's pro-Western Orange Revolution of 2004, but fell short of reaching any specific deals.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, making his first trip to Moscow since being sworn in last week, met with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in hopes of getting Russia to cut gas prices for his country.

Turkey warns of fallout

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey warned the Obama administration on Friday of diplomatic consequences if it doesn't quash a congressional resolution that would brand the World War I-era killing of Armenians genocide.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey, a key Muslim ally of the U.S., would assess what measures it would take, adding that the issue was a matter of "honor" for his country.

Meanwhile, a senior Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was an understanding with the Democratic leadership in Congress that the resolution would not go to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

China focuses on jobs

BEIJING -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to extend job-creation programs and keep bank-credit flowing as Beijing tries to keep its factories humming and its workers employed at a time of growing trade tensions with the West.

Although the Chinese action is helping to keep the world's economy afloat, the budget plan Mr. Wen outlined Friday showed that Beijing is sticking with a course that has driven exports and piled up huge foreign exchange reserves rather than buy up more products made outside China.

Also in the world ...

Four shootouts with Somali pirates Friday showed that high-seas attacks are intensifying with the end of the monsoon season. ... An ever-widening sexual abuse scandal spilled into the heart of Pope Benedict XVI's homeland Friday when a former member of the prominent Regensburg boy's choir in Germany claimed he was a victim. A spokesman for the Regensburg Diocese said it happened in the early 1960s, before the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, the pope's brother, took over the choir in 1964.

-- Compiled from news services


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