U.S. Foreign Policy Correspondent
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Sep 10, 2013

Russia proposes Syria chemical weapons deal to avert U.S. strike

BEIRUT/LONDON (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama struggled to rally Congress and the American people behind military action in Syria, Russia seized on a remark by his secretary of state on Monday to say Damascus should save itself by handing over its chemical weapons.

John Kerry was quick to dismiss as hypothetical his own comment that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avert U.S. strikes by surrendering his chemical arsenal to international control. But Assad’s ally Russia quickly turned it into a firm proposal that was “welcomed” by Damascus and echoed by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

Sep 9, 2013

Russia proposes Syria chemical weapons deal to avert war

BEIRUT/LONDON (Reuters) – As Barack Obama struggled to rally Congress behind U.S. military action in Syria, Russia seized on a remark by his secretary of state on Monday to say Damascus should save itself by handing over chemical weapons.

John Kerry was quick to dismiss as hypothetical his own comment that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avert U.S. strikes by surrendering his chemical arsenal – but not before Assad’s ally Russia had turned it into a firm proposal that was “welcomed” by Damascus and echoed by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

Sep 9, 2013

Kerry: Syrian surrender of chemical arms could stop U.S. attack

LONDON (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a U.S. military strike by surrendering all his chemical weapons within a week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, but immediately made clear he was not making a serious offer.

President Barack Obama is seeking support from Congress for punitive military action against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack in a civil war that the United Nations says has killed at least 100,000 people.

Sep 8, 2013

U.S. leaves door open to new U.N. vote on Syria

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States left the door open on Sunday to seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution that could endorse punishing Syria for a chemical weapons attack last month and indicated Arab countries were seeking a tough response.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Arab foreign ministers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said many were leaning toward supporting a G20 statement – already signed by 12 nations, including Saudi Arabia – that called for a strong international response following an August 21 chemical attack in Syria.

Sep 8, 2013

Syria’s Assad denies chemical weapons use; U.S. presses case for strike

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that he was behind a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people, as the White House on Sunday pressed ahead with the uphill effort of persuading Congress to approve a military strike to punish Assad.

The Obama administration faces a crucial test vote set for Wednesday in the U.S. Senate and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made the rounds of five Sunday talk shows to argue for a resolution authorizing a limited strike on Syria.

Sep 8, 2013

U.S. undecided on seeking new Syria U.N. vote

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States said on Sunday it did not rule out returning to the U.N. Security Council to secure a Syria resolution once U.N. inspectors complete a report on a chemical weapons attack, but indicated Arab countries were seeking a tough response.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris after meeting key Arab foreign ministers, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said they were leaning towards supporting a G20 statement – already signed by 12 countries – that called for a strong international response following an August 21 chemical attack in Syria.

Sep 8, 2013

Qatar raps Israel as Kerry seeks Arab support for talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Qatar faulted Israel for building Jewish settlements on Sunday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Arab diplomats in an effort to garner support for nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The comment by Qatari Foreign Minister Qatari Khaled al-Attiya, while consistent with long-standing Arab positions, may have been less than what Kerry might have hoped for as he seeks to build momentum for the talks which resumed on July 29.

Sep 8, 2013

U.S. undecided on seeking new Syria UN vote, says gains Arab support

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States said on Sunday it did not rule out returning to the U.N. Security Council to secure a Syria resolution once U.N. inspectors complete a report on a chemical weapons attack, but indicated Arab countries were seeking a tough response.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris after meeting key Arab foreign ministers, Secretary of State John Kerry said they were leaning towards supporting a G20 statement – already signed by 12 countries – that called for a strong international response following an August 21 chemical attack in Syria.

Sep 8, 2013

EU blames Assad for attack, urges wait for U.N. report

VILNIUS/PARIS (Reuters) – The European Union blamed the Syrian government on Saturday for an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria but urged waiting for a report from U.N. weapons inspectors before any U.S.-led military response.

The carefully worded message from foreign ministers of 28 EU governments stopped short of endorsing possible U.S. and French military action against Syria ahead of the report, which France’s president said could come by the end of the week.

Sep 8, 2013

Kerry delivers a love letter to France, in French

PARIS (Reuters) – French, it is said, is the language of love.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flaunted his fluency in the language on Saturday to deliver something of a love letter to France, one of the few world powers that seems likely to join the United States in any military action against Syria.

Following the British parliament’s August 29 vote to reject any British use of force against Syria, which the United States accuses of gassing its own people with sarin, France has made no secret of its desire to play Washington’s supporting partner.

    • About Arshad

      "I cover U.S. foreign policy for Reuters from a base at the State Department. I joined Reuters in 1988 and have worked as a correspondent in New York, Paris, Algiers and Washington, where I have covered the White House (1996-2002) and the State Department (2002-2005, 2006-present)."
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