May 11, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news.
President Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to fire the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said James Comey "wasn't doing a good job." Trump spoke at the White House.
Critics of the decision to fire Comey say it raises questions about the FBI's investigation of Russian involvement into the presidential election and possible cooperation between Trump campaigners and Russians.
Many Democrats criticized Trump's decision. This is Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer: "We know the House is investigating Russian interference in our elections that benefited the Trump campaign. We know the Senate is investigating. We know the FBI has been looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, a very serious offense. Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?"
Mr. Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday. It was Lavrov's first visit to Washington since 2013.
At the Russian embassy, Lavrov told reporters after the meeting with the president that he and Mr. Trump "discussed Syria in great detail. We have a common understanding regarding the fact that that should be a step that would contribute to the cessation of violence throughout the territory of Syria. It will be a step to contribute to the settlement of humanitarian problems."
And, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he will ask President Trump about his decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish militia when he meets with Trump in Washington next week.
This is VOA news.
On Wednesday, Erdoğan said the fight against the Islamic State terrorists should not be carried out with another terrorist organization. "This kind of step would endanger the future of Syria and the region," he said.
The YPG Kurdish militia is widely recognized as the most effective in Syria in fighting Islamic State terrorists but it is considered by Turkey to be an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is fighting the Turkish state. Turkey and the U.S. consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that "we'll work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border."
President Trump and the new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, agreed in a phone call Wednesday to cooperate in dealing with North Korea's nuclear weapons development program.
South Korean officials said that Trump described issues involving the North's military ambitions as complicated but he said they could be resolved.
Then, the president invited Mr. Moon to visit Washington.
Pakistan says a border dispute that caused deadly clashes with Afghanistan recently is likely to be settled later this week. If that happens, Pakistan will reopen a busy crossing with landlocked Afghanistan.
Thousands of travelers as well as trade and transit convoys headed to Afghanistan are now stranded.
The Pakistani military on Wednesday said the fighting began after Afghan forces fired at government census workers on the Pakistani side of two divided villages in a southwestern town.
Afghan officials said their forces fired to prevent Pakistani forces from "occupying our land" and had warned Pakistan not to conduct any activity in the disputed area.
And, Chelsea Manning, the Army private who leaked a huge amount of secret information to WikiLeaks, released her first statement Tuesday since being granted clemency by then President Obama.
In the statement, she said, "For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea," referring to her transition from male to female since her Army service.
The former intelligence analyst in Iraq was known at the time as Bradley Manning. She was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents and battlefield video.
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