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US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley opens to ideas on expanding UN Security Council

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New York, March 30, 2017: US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley has said she is open to ideas on adding permanent members to the UN Security Council but did not made a categorical endorsement of India’s bid for one of the permanent seats.

“I’m open to hearing anyone on what they have to say and looking at it and going further,” she said answering a question on Wednesday by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) President Richard Haas about Security Council reform.

She candidly admitted, “First of all, I’m in learning mode. And as I look at that, I know there is conversations of reform of Security Council.”

Haas had mentioned previous administrations raising Council expansion with India being mentioned as a candidate for a permanent seat and asked for President Donald Trump administration’s or her views about it.

Former President Barack Obama had endorsed several times India’s bid for permanent membership in Council.

In her speech at the CFR, Haley outlined a bold plan to shake up the UN and lead campaign for drastic reforms to both achieve its goals and to make it more efficient.

Washington is the biggest financier of the world body putting up 22 per cent of the regular budget and 28.36 per cent of the peacekeeping outlay. President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed a 31 per cent cut to the State Department budget, which could impact its contributions to the UN.

Haley said that she would focus in the coming weeks on UN peacekeeping operations, an area with major involvement by India, which has 7,606 troops under the UN banner.

She criticised the peacekeeping operations and said it was shocking that there was no basic evaluation of its missions. Rather than concentrating on finding a political solution through peacekeeping, the UN got bogged down in “parochial questions” about troop-contributors, operation-funders, and the UN establishment.

When the US assumes the presidency of the Council, she said: “We will lay out a comprehensive vision for how peacekeeping missions should be reviewed moving forward. We will go back to first principles and ask hard questions.”

Human rights would be the other priority area, she said. “The fact is, peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation from human rights,” she added. “Human rights abuses are not the by-product of conflict; they are the cause of conflict, or they are the fuel that feeds the conflict.”

She noted that the Council had not held sessions devoted exclusively to the subject and said she intended to call one on the connection between human rights and security.

“We intend to challenge member states to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk of human rights,” she said.

“We will see which countries rise to the challenge and which resort to the same old tired excuses. It will be very telling if any country tries to block this debate. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)