Number of Foreign Policy Issues Will Test Next President From the Start

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

American President-Election Barack Obama faces a long list of foreign policy issues when he takes office on January twentieth. Two wars. Nuclear worries over Iran. The threat of terrorism. New tensions with Russia. These are in addition to a financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama won a solid election victory to become America's forty-fourth president, and first black president. World leaders sent their congratulations, including the president of Iran.

But Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced plans to put missiles near Poland. He said they would be used, if necessary, to neutralize an American missile-defense system proposed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Bush administration says the system is needed to defend against missiles from countries like Iran, and is not aimed at Russia. The State Department's top arms control official expects to discuss new proposals to ease Russian concerns later this month in Moscow.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived Thursday in the Middle East in an effort to continue the peace process begun a year ago. Israeli and Palestinian officials have set a goal to reach a peace agreement by the end of this year. But that now appears unlikely as Israel prepares for new elections in February.

In his acceptance speech Tuesday night, the president-elect promised a "new dawn of American leadership."

BARACK OBAMA: "To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright -- tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope."

During the campaign, Barack Obama called for withdrawing American fighting forces from Iraq within sixteen months in office. Iraq and the United States have struggled to negotiate an agreement to govern the presence of American troops after this year. The Bush administration has just sent what it says is a final version for the Iraqis to approve. The proposed agreement would let American forces remain in Iraq for as long as three more years.

Mr. Obama wants to send more American troops to deal with growing threats in Afghanistan. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on Mr. Obama to end civilian casualties. "We cannot win the fight against terrorism with airstrikes," he said. And Pakistan called for an end to missile strikes in its territory.

This election has received a huge amount of attention in the United States. In fact, some people said it felt like the world was voting for Barack Obama. But the proudest celebrations took place in Africa. Mr. Obama's father was Kenyan and he has family members who live in that country. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared Thursday a public holiday.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English

Source: Number of Foreign Policy Issues Will Test Next President From the Start
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