Kerry appeals for diplomacy as he leaves State Department

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry applauds as he delivers farewell remarks to State Department employees at the State Department in Washington, U.S., on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2017

Kerry appeals for diplomacy as he leaves State Department

WASHINGTON: As Secretary of State John Kerry leaves the State Department, he is appealing to the incoming Trump administration to embrace creative diplomacy and international engagement.
Greeted by loud, raucous and sustained applause from a large crowd in the building’s ceremonial main entrance, Kerry thanked department employees for their dedication.
“We did really good diplomacy,” he said, citing what he called numerous significant achievements in fighting the Daesh group, addressing climate change, sealing the Iran nuclear deal, prioritizing Asia-Pacific relations, supporting European allies and making Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine.
Kerry, who set a record for miles traveled during his four-year tenure as America’s 68th top diplomat, thanked President Barack Obama for the privilege of serving, saying Obama had given him wide latitude to take risks in negotiating agreements or trying to start them.
“I want you to stay faithful to the notion that this building, all of you, that we together are going to continue to make ripples,” he said. “We are going to continue to make ripples to sweep down walls of resistance to peace and justice and a better and safer world.” Kerry said global turbulence was not due to any failure in leadership but was rather the result of profound transitions the world and its population are going through.
In an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Thursday, Kerry wrote: “My hope is that the turbulence still evident in the world does not obscure the extraordinary gains that diplomacy has made on President Obama’s watch or lead to the abandonment of approaches that have served our nation well.”
Kerry also criticized Trump’s penchant for tweeting controversial statements.
“Diplomacy requires creativity, patience and commitment to a steady grind, often away from the spotlight,” Kerry wrote. “Results are rarely immediate or reducible to 140-character bites. But it has helped build a world our ancestors would envy — a world in which children in most places are more likely than ever before to be born healthy, to receive an education and to live free from extreme poverty.”
Kerry logged more than 1.4 million miles in the air over 596 days of travel, the State Department said.


Bomb ‘intended to kill police’ detonates on Northern Ireland border

Updated 16 min 56 sec ago

Bomb ‘intended to kill police’ detonates on Northern Ireland border

  • Concerns have grown over possible return of hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and Republic
  • In April, a journalist was shot dead by Irish republican dissidents during rioting in Londonderry

LONDON: An explosive device described as an attempted trap for security forces detonated in a village on the Northern Ireland border on Monday, but failed to injure anyone.
Police and bomb disposal experts had been working in the area of Newtownbutler over the weekend since receiving an initial report about a suspect device on Saturday.
“I am of the firm belief this was a deliberate attempt to lure police and ATO (Anti-Terrorism Officer) colleagues into the area to murder them,” Stephen Martin from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.
Martin later told reporters that two Irish republican dissident groups, the New IRA and the Continuity IRA, “would be a very good starting point for the investigation.”
He added: “It’s fair to say their level of activity has increased this year.”
Concerns have grown that the possible return of a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit could increase security tensions in the once war-torn province.
Martin said violent attacks had grown in recent months, calling on politicians to take action to heal enduring divisions in society.
“Terrorism of this nature is a societal problem,” he said. “We shouldn’t take our peace for granted.”
Three decades of conflict known as “the Troubles,” in which more than 3,500 people were killed, largely ended in Northern Ireland with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Violent incidents have continued, however.
In April, a journalist was shot dead by Irish republican dissidents during rioting in Londonderry.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for this bomb attack, which could have had devastating consequences,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.
“There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims,” he said.