Sunday June 25, 2017
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WASHINGTON, June 25 — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to remove Iraq and Myanmar from a list denouncing the world's worst offenders in the use of child soldiers, sources telling Reuters exclusively.

Tillerson's decision — expected Tuesday — breaking ranks with long-standing State Department protocol determining whether children have been used or recruited for battle.

The move alarming global activists who fear the proposal could shift US focus away from human rights and prioritise security and diplomatic interests instead.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2017. — Reuters picUS Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2017. — Reuters picAmerica's top diplomat also rejecting a bid to add Afghanistan to the child soldiers' list.

US officials telling Reuters the plan is the result of pressure from the Pentagon to avoid complicating assistance to the Iraqi and Afghan militaries, close allies in the fight against Islamist militants.

The plan expected to be closely scrutinised for further signs Preident Trump's "America First" policy won't call out human rights violations on strategically important countries.

Delisting countries from the child soldiers' list could pave the way for lifting sanctions and resuming US military assistance for the offending countries. — Reuters

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