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Mar 9, 2012

U.S. glum on prospects for new U.N. Syria resolution

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Friday that amid ongoing opposition from Russia, it was not optimistic the U.N. Security Council could agree on a new resolution urging an end to the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on demonstrators.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that negotiations between the five permanent Security Council members and Morocco – the sole Arab state on the 15-nation council – aimed at agreeing on the language for the U.S.-drafted resolution had made no progress.

Mar 9, 2012

Clinton: S.Korea making progress in Iran sanctions talks

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the United States and
South Korea were making progress in discussions on the
implementation of new U.S. sanctions on Iran but stopped short
of announcing any deal on a potential waiver.

South Korea, Japan and other U.S. allies have been
scrambling to voluntarily reduce Iranian oil imports in hopes of
winning waivers from penalties imposed by a new U.S. law on Iran
sanctions that takes effect this year.

Mar 8, 2012

Libya PM “not aware” of arming, training Syria rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Libya’s prime minister on Thursday denied Russian accusations that his country was running camps to train and arm Syrian rebels but expressed strong support for Syrians “who are raising their voice asking for freedom.”

Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib, speaking to reporters after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, said his country had been the first to recognize Syria’s national opposition council.

Mar 7, 2012

China needs to reassure world on its role – Clinton

WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) – China’s growing clout
means it can no longer selectively follow global rules and must
now demonstrate it can play a constructive role on international
issues such as the Syria crisis, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said on Wednesday.

“The world is looking for China to play a role commensurate
with its new standing,” Clinton said.

Mar 1, 2012

U.S. underscores Egypt NGO concerns as staffers depart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday expressed continued concern over Egypt’s crackdown on pro-democracy groups following an Egyptian court order permitting the departure of American nongovernmental organization staffers who had been under a travel ban.

“We are very pleased that the Egyptian courts have now lifted the travel ban on our NGO employees. The U.S. government has provided a plane to facilitate their departure and they have left the country. They are currently en route home,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Mar 1, 2012

N.Korea-U.S. deal revives hopes of nuclear disarmament talks

WASHINGTON, Feb 29 (Reuters) – North Korea has agreed
with the United States to suspend major elements of its atomic
weapons programme in a surprise breakthrough that could pave the
way for the resumption of long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks
with the secretive state.

But the announcement, made simultaneously on Wednesday in
Pyongyang and Washington and accompanied by pledges of U.S. food
aid, was met with very guarded optimism by analysts and
diplomats who noted that efforts to defuse tensions on the
divided Korean peninsula had seen many false dawns.

Feb 29, 2012

N.Korea agrees to nuclear moratorium, IAEA inspections

WASHINGTON, Feb 29 (Reuters) – North Korea agreed on
Wednesday to stop nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and
long-range missile launches, and to allow checks by nuclear
inspectors, in an apparent policy shift that paves the way for
resuming long-stalled disarmament talks.

The surprise breakthrough, announced simultaneously by the
U.S. State Department and North Korea, also includes U.S. food
aid for the impoverished state and makes possible the resumption
of six-nation nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang. The news
followed bilateral diplomatic talks in Beijing last week.

Feb 29, 2012

U.S. readies food aid for North Korea, with conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As part of its delicate nuclear dance with Pyongyang, the United States on Wednesday unveiled what officials said would be a distinctly new food aid program that would be strictly monitored to ensure the food gets to the isolated country’s neediest citizens.

U.S. officials said the proposed aid package would total 240,000 metric tones per year, with monthly deliveries of corn-soy blend, vegetable oil and therapeutic foods such as nutritionally enhanced peanut paste intended primarily for young children and pregnant women.

Feb 29, 2012

U.S. says N.Korea agrees to nuclear moratorium

WASHINGTON, Feb 29 (Reuters) – The United States said
on Wednesday that North Korea had agreed to a moratorium on
nuclear tests and long-range missile launches and to allow
nuclear inspectors to visit its Yongbyon nuclear complex to
verify a halt to all nuclear activities including uranium
enrichment.

The U.S. announcement paves the way for the possible
resumption of six-party disarmament negotiations with Pyongyang
and follows talks between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in
Beijing last week.

Feb 28, 2012

Clinton says Japan, EU working to comply with Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday pledged to aggressively implement new
U.S. sanctions on Iran but noted that some allies such as Japan
face “unique situations” as they seek to reduce Iranian oil
imports.

President Barack Obama on Dec. 31 signed into law the
harshest in a series of U.S. sanctions on Tehran over its
nuclear program, targeting foreign financial institutions that
do business with Iran’s central bank or other blacklisted
Iranian financial entities.