WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Talks on curbing Iran’s
nuclear program have made substantial progress, a senior U.S.
official said on Friday as the White House braced for an
onslaught of criticism next week from Israeli Prime Minister
The official told reporters many hurdles remained to
reaching an agreement to restrain the Iranian nuclear program in
exchange for easing economic sanctions and said he did not
expect one to be reached next week.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cuba and the United States held a second round of talks on Friday toward normalizing ties, and both sides said they made good progress, although they did not set a date for renewal of diplomatic relations that Washington severed 54 years ago.
Going into the talks, Communist-ruled Cuba pushed to be removed from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. But Washington said that while it was reviewing Cuba’s place on the list, the designation should not be linked to the negotiations on renewing relations and opening embassies.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and the European Union are unlikely to widen economic sanctions on Russia if a tentative ceasefire emerging in eastern Ukraine takes hold, Western diplomats said on Friday.
Despite repeatedly saying that new U.S. or EU sanctions on Russia as well as U.S. lethal assistance for Ukraine remain on the table, neither Europe nor the United States would be eager to go forward if this week’s fragile calm is sustained, they added.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cuban and U.S. officials met in Washington on Friday for a second round of talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations amid friction over Cuba’s place on a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The one-day talks stem from the decision announced by the two Cold War era foes on Dec. 17 to work to normalize relations, including opening embassies in each other’s countries, and to exchange prisoners. Washington severed diplomatic relations with Cuba 54 years ago.
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. officials on Wednesday questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judgment and said his outspoken condemnation of efforts to secure an Iranian nuclear deal had injected destructive partisanship into U.S.-Israeli relations.
In an escalation of hostile exchanges between the allies six days before Netanyahu gives a speech to Congress on the threat from Iran, the Israeli leader accused world powers of abandoning a pledge to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is reconsidering whether to provide weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists, senior administration officials said on Monday, but that no decision had been made.
“It’s getting a fresh look,” a senior administration official said of deliberations among Obama administration officials whether to send defensive weapons to prop up Ukrainian forces. “Where things will end up, we don’t know.”
PARIS (Reuters) – Bearing flowers and his fluent French, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered his condolences to France on Friday for the deaths from last week’s Islamist attacks.
The chief U.S. diplomat laid wreaths of white lilies and red roses at the sites of the two attacks, one on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and the other at a Jewish supermarket in the French capital. All told, there were 17 victims from last week’s events, in which the three killers also died.
PARIS (Reuters) – Police arrested a dozen people suspected of helping the Islamist militant gunmen in last week’s Paris killings, the city prosecutor’s office said on Friday as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived for talks.
The arrests came after Belgian police killed two men who fired on them during one of about a dozen raids on Thursday against an Islamist group and German police said they had arrested two people following a raid on 11 properties linked to radical Salafists.
SOFIA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
pledged to support Bulgaria’s efforts to wean itself off
dependence on Russian energy at the launch of an annual
strategic dialogue between the two NATO allies on Thursday.
Russia’s cancellation in December of a multi-billion-dollar
gas pipeline that would have benefited Bulgaria has highlighted
Sofia’s vulnerability to fallout from the West’s standoff with
Russia over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
SOFIA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday his visit to France was to give a “big hug” to Paris after the deadly attack by Islamist gunmen on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
President Barack Obama’s administration drew criticism from Republican opponents at home for not sending a senior figure to a unity march in the French capital following the shootings, and the White House later conceded that Washington should have sent a higher-level representative.