BBC (UK), CNN, WASHINGTON POST (USA)
NEW YORK - A key United Nations lawyer leading a probe on the use of drones has praised President Barack Obama's speech on changes to the United States' anti-terrorism policy, which included new more restrictive guidelines for using unmanned aircrafts to strike targets on the ground.
UN attorney Ben Emmerson called Obama's policy a "significant step towards increased transparency," the BBC reported. Pakistan, which has been frequently targeted by U.S. drones, also gave cautious praise to the speech.
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A predator drone firing a hellfire missile (NATO)
Earlier this year, Emmerson, a human rights legal specialist, launched an inquiry to determine the place of drones in the framework of international law by examining 25 attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Palestinian territories and Somalia.
Obama's wide-ranging speech Thursday reinforced his commitment to ending the armed conflict with al-Qaeda. And though he said drone attacks would continue, there would be more stringent oversight about how and when they were used, the Washington Post reported.
"It sets out more clearly and more authoritatively than ever before the administration's legal justifications for targeted killing, and the constraints that it operates under," Emmerson said in a statement.
CNN reported that Obama's speech at the National Defense University at Fort McNair came as the U.S. has reached a “crossroads” in its fight against terrorism.
“As our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion,” Obama said. “To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance.”