November 29, 2021

US, Germany Launch Effort to Counter Holocaust Denial | Voice of America

The United States and Germany are partnering to counter Holocaust denial and antisemitism, an effort U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said will “ensure that current and future generations learn about the Holocaust and also learn from it.”

Speaking Thursday at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Blinken said Holocaust denial and antisemitism go hand in hand with homophobia, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination, and have become “a rallying cry for those who seek to tear down our democracies.”

“That’s why we have to find innovative ways to bring the history of the Holocaust to life, not only to understand the past, but also to guide our present and to shape our future,” Blinken said.

He and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas signed a document on the partnership. Blinken said the two governments would work to strengthen education and counter denial and distortion, helping public servants and young people understand the Holocaust and antisemitism in depth and to feel a responsibility to stop atrocities.

“This dialogue will help us remember all that can be lost, but also help us to see all that we can save if we choose — if we choose — to stand up rather than stand by,” Blinken said.

Libya conference

Earlier Thursday, Blinken and Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba held talks in Berlin on the heels of an international conference focused on supporting Libya’s transition to a permanent, stable government. 

“I’m so pleased to have this opportunity to see you, to see the foreign minister, to see your delegation, especially after the very good, good day we had yesterday, which I think demonstrated again the very strong support on the part of the international community, the United Nations for Libya, for a strong, positive future as a unified, independent, stable country without any foreign interference,” Blinken said at the start of Thursday’s meeting. 

Wednesday’s conference, hosted by Germany and the United Nations, included officials from 17 countries and reinforced support for national elections in Libya scheduled for late December.   

A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters Wednesday that the elections are important “not just to legitimize a long-term, credible Libyan government,” but also to help achieve the goal of carrying out an existing call for all foreign fighters to leave the country. 

“A fully empowered, legitimate Libyan government will be in a much stronger position to turn to some of these foreign actors and say, ‘Thank you very much, it’s our country now and we’d like to be the ones to define the security cooperation relationships that we’re going to have and not have them imposed on us,’” the official said.  

An official statement from conference attendees said, “all foreign forces and mercenaries need to be withdrawn from Libya without delay,” but on that point Turkey noted its reservations. 

The senior State Department official said Turkey sees its personnel in Libya acting as trainers based on an agreement it had with a previous interim government, the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord. 

Libya has experienced political instability since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.  Rival governments operated in separate parts of the country for years before a cease-fire deal in October that included a demand for all foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days.     

‘Real world’ solution

At a news conference following Wednesday’s conference, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said there was progress toward the exit of the foreign fighters and that “hopefully within the coming days mercenaries from both sides are going to be withdrawn.”  

A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters that achieving that goal is an important step that now “has to be made operational.” 

“There’s a process here, and saying, ‘All means all and they all leave tonight – why haven’t they left tonight?  Will they leave tomorrow night?’ is not, frankly, a realistic approach in a real-world situation such as Libya,” the official said.   

Next stop France, then Italy

Blinken is on a multi-nation tour that next brings him to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron, following up on U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent meetings with allies in the region to boost transatlantic relations.

“This is really an opportunity for Secretary Blinken to reiterate the president’s message and speak with our oldest ally about areas of cooperation, including global security, again, recovery from the pandemic, and repairing and modernizing our alliances,” Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters Monday.     

Defeating Islamic State will be the focus of a conference co-hosted by Blinken and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in Rome. The top U.S. diplomat will also participate in a ministerial meeting in Italy to discuss Syria and the humanitarian needs in that country.            

Blinken is also scheduled to visit the Vatican, where Reeker said the agenda includes combating climate change and human trafficking.

in U.S.
Related Posts

Blinken in Jordan to Solidify Mideast Cease-fire Truce | Voice of America

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan Wednesday on the last leg of a Middle East tour for...

Ex-Counsel Tells Congress of Trump Efforts to Undercut Russia Probe, Democrats Say  | Voice of America

June 5, 2021

June 5, 2021

WASHINGTON – A former White House counsel “shed new light” on the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S....

American Actor Ned Beatty Dies at 83 | Voice of America

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

NEW YORK – Ned Beatty, the indelible character actor whose first film role as a genial vacationer raped by a...

US Food Banks Fear Rising Food Prices Will Affect Mission to Feed Needy | Voice of America

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

ALEXANDRIA, VA – A food pantry in Fairfax, Virginia, serves as a lifeline for Mandy Recinos in her constant struggle...

With Afghanistan’s Future at Stake, US Courting Pakistan | Voice of America

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

 PENTAGON/STATE DEPARTMENT/ISLAMABAD – More than three weeks into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington’s plans to help ensure the country...

Biden, Putin to Meet for First Time in Geneva | Voice of America

June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time in Geneva Wednesday amid deteriorating relations...

California to Extend Eviction Ban, Pay Back Rent for Tenants | Voice of America

June 26, 2021

June 26, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – California will extend its ban on evictions and cover back rent and utility payments for people who...

Microsoft, Mastercard Sign on to VP Harris’ Central America Strategy | Voice of America

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Twelve companies and groups including Microsoft, Mastercard and Nestle’s Nespresso said Thursday that they would commit to making investments in Central...

UN Chief Guterres Sworn In for Second Term | Voice of America

June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021

NEW YORK – Antonio Guterres was sworn in Friday for a second 5-year term as U.N. Secretary-General after the General...

Ukrainian Member of Cybercrime Gang Sentenced in US | Voice of America

June 25, 2021

June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON – A Ukrainian hacker was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in a notorious cybercrime group...

Biden Optimistic About US Progress in COVID Fight | Voice of America

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

President Joe Biden is in the U.S. southern state of Virginia Friday, where he is delivering remarks about the progress...

US to Investigate Government-run Native American Boarding Schools | Voice of America

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland said her department is launching an investigation into the more-than-150-year history of government-run American...

Pro-Palestinian Rally in Washington Seeks End to US Aid to Israel | Voice of America

May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021

WASHINGTON – More than 1,000 people rallied Saturday in Washington in support of Palestinians and called for an end to...

Idaho Farmer Copes With Water Crisis | Voice of America

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

President Joe Biden met Wednesday with Cabinet and emergency officials and, remotely, with Western governors to discuss the heat wave,...

Juneteenth Becomes US Federal Holiday | Voice of America

June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021

WASHINGTON – Juneteenth is America’s newest federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed it into law Thursday. But African Americans...