Andrew's Feed
Oct 3, 2011

U.S. scrambles to keep Palestinian aid flowing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is lobbying Congress to unblock $200 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority that was frozen due to its bid for U.N. recognition of statehood over U.S. and Israeli objections.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday the administration was in “intensive” discussions with key lawmakers who had put holds on the money, a financial lifeline for the fledgling Palestinian government-in-waiting.

Sep 28, 2011

U.S. warns on possible Saudi abduction plot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned on Wednesday that a terrorist group may be planning to abduct Westerners in the capital, Riyadh, and urged U.S. citizens to exercise caution.

“U.S. Embassy in Riyadh advises U.S. citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that we have received information that a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia may be planning to abduct Westerners in Riyadh,” the embassy said in a message posted on its website.

Sep 22, 2011

Clock ticks on Palestinian U.N. plan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Diplomats struggled to find a formula on Thursday to avoid a clash over the Middle East as time ticked down on Palestinian plans to ask the United Nations to recognize their statehood.

President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing ahead with plans to submit the Palestinian application to the U.N. Security Council on Friday, rebuffing a personal plea from U.S. President Barack Obama to forgo the U.N. option and resume direct peace talks with Israel.

Sep 20, 2011

Cell phones may be new tool vs Somalia famine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cell phones may bring relief to famine victims in parts of Somalia controlled by al Shabaab insurgents as donors seek new ways to circumvent the hard-line militants, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, said that despite al Shabaab’s ban on foreign aid in regions they control, progress was being made to reach about 2.7 million people desperately in need of help.

Sep 16, 2011

U.S. seeks path back to South Sudan oil market

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The United States is
drawing up new guidelines to permit U.S. oil companies to
operate in South Sudan without running afoul of U.S. sanctions
that apply to Khartoum, a U.S. official said on Friday.

Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special representative for Sudan,
said the Treasury Department would soon clarify how companies
may apply for U.S. licenses to enter the oil business, saying
it was a priority for the U.S. government and for South Sudan.

Sep 13, 2011

In Syria, U.S. ambassador drops diplomatic niceties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. ambassadors are usually the most measured of professionals, weighing each word in a delicate dialogue to advance America’s interests with a minimum of public fuss.

But Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, is taking an undiplomatic tack — flouting government travel restrictions, courting opposition figures and taking to Facebook to publicly denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on unarmed protesters.

Sep 7, 2011

Saudi prince: U.S. missed chance for Afghan withdrawal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States should have used the killing of Osama bin Laden to declare victory and quickly withdraw from Afghanistan and now faces an increasingly nationalist uprising in the country, a senior Saudi prince said on Wednesday.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Britain and the United States, said the Obama administration had not been given enough credit for removing the al Qaeda leader, who was shot dead by U.S. special forces in Pakistan on May 1.

Sep 7, 2011

Obama’s “smart power” plan risks death of 1,000 cuts

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
pledge to boost America’s global standing by ramping up U.S.
diplomacy and development aid faces death by a thousand cuts as
lawmakers prepare to carve huge chunks out of U.S. overseas
spending to address budget shortfalls.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department and
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) could be
chopped back significantly.

Sep 6, 2011

U.S. in Mideast diplomatic push before U.N. meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. officials are meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week and lobbying a growing number of foreign countries to avert a diplomatic crisis over the Palestinians’ U.N. membership later this month, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The flurry of activity comes as President Barack Obama’s administration scrambles to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full membership during the U.N. General Assembly session that begins on September 19, despite U.S. and Israeli objections.

Sep 1, 2011

World powers, new Libya leaders map out rebuilding

Sept 1 (Reuters) – * World powers sit down with new
Libyan rulers in Paris

* Focus on short-term funding needs, political stability

* Libya rebuilding throws open big investment opportunities

(Adds Clinton remarks to conference)

By Andrew Quinn and John Irish

PARIS, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Libyan uprising
that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi met with world powers in Paris on
Thursday to map out the country’s rebuilding, 42 years to the
day after the former strongman seized power in a coup.