Obama Lifts Arms Embargo on Vietnam
U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday at a news conference in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang "The United States is fully lifting the ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam that has been in place for some 50 years."
Obama said the U.S. will also help Vietnam remove landmines and Agent Orange remaining in Vietnam following the war between the two countries.
Agent Orange was a powerful mixture of chemical defoliants used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War that was later revealed to cause serious health issues, including birth defects, tumors, rashes and cancer.
Earlier Monday, Obama was formally welcomed to Vietnam by Quang at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
The American leader's meetings Monday with his Vietnamese counterpart and other senior officials are an indication of what analysts describe as the closest ties ever between the two countries.
Obama is in Vietnam for a three-day visit. After Vietnam, he will go to Japan.
He will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. The U.S. president said in an interview with Japan public broadcaster NHK he will not apologize for the bombing.
Iraq Forces Launch Offensive to Retake Fallujah
Iraqi forces have launched a major offensive to retake the Islamic State bastion of Fallujah, ending a months-long siege of the city.
Fallujah was the first city in Iraq to fall to IS extremists in January 2014 and the group is well entrenched.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi forces were “approaching a moment of great victory.”
“The Iraqi flag will be raised high over the land of Fallujah,” Abadi declared on national television Sunday night.
Iraq's military has called on residents trapped in the city to mark their locations with white flags.
Very few families have managed to escape the city in the past months despite government attempts to open safe corridors.
Fallujah is a traditional Sunni stronghold.
U.S. airstrikes have been pounding IS targets in and around the city for weeks.