KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Afghanistan scrambled to try to finalize a crucial security pact on Wednesday, a day before thousands of Afghan elders were due to start debating whether to allow U.S. troops to stay in the country after 2014.
Without the accord, the United States has warned it could withdraw its troops by the end of next year and leave Afghan forces to fight a Taliban-led insurgency without their help.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States rushed assistance to the Philippines after a typhoon killed at least 10,000 people and will provide additional aid if it is needed, President Barack Obama said on Sunday.
Obama said America “is already providing significant humanitarian assistance and we stand ready to further assist the (Philippines) government’s relief and recovery efforts.”
WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The United States is not
looking to ease sanctions on Iran “at the front end” of
negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program, a senior White
House official said on Thursday.
The Islamic republic would have to take “concrete steps” to
address its program before Washington could provide sanctions
relief, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to
President Barack Obama, said at the Reuters Washington Summit.
ROME (Reuters) – U.S. and Israeli officials differed over Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday as Israel called for its effective dismantlement and the United States suggested safeguards could show that it is peaceful rather than military.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke as they began talks ostensibly about Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations but which appeared likely to be overshadowed by Iran.
LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition in exile
resisted calls from Western and Arab countries on Tuesday to
commit to attending peace talks, saying they would not take part
if there was any chance President Bashar al-Assad could cling to
Eleven countries meeting in London pressed the opposition
National Coalition to join talks to end a conflict that has
killed over 100,000 people, but the group listed conditions and
said it would decide in the coming weeks whether to attend.
LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Plans for talks to end the
fighting in Syria were in jeopardy on Tuesday after the
opposition refused to attend unless President Bashar al-Assad is
forced from power and a furious Saudi Arabia made clear it would
no longer co-operate with the United States over the civil war.
Western nations and their Middle Eastern allies pressed
Syria’s fractured opposition to join the proposed peace talks,
although Assad has indicated he will not bow to opposition
demands that he should step down as a pre-condition.
LONDON (Reuters) – Western nations and their Middle Eastern allies pressed Syria’s fractured opposition on Tuesday to join proposed peace talks, although President Bashar al-Assad has made clear he will not step down – which is their condition for participating.
The United States and Russia said in May they would convene a “Geneva 2″ conference to try to end a conflict that has killed well over 100,000 people and forced millions from their homes, but it faces huge obstacles and no firm date has been set.
PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The rise of Islamist groups
fighting Syria’s Western-backed rebels has emboldened the Syrian
government and will make it harder to extract concessions from
Damascus at any peace talks, a U.S. official said on Monday.
The United States hopes to bring moderate elements of the
Syrian opposition together with the government at a peace
conference tentatively expected next month in Geneva to try to
end a two-and-a-half year civil war in which more than 100,000
people have died.
LUXEMBOURG/PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) – France summoned the
U.S. ambassador on Monday after a report in Le Monde newspaper
underlined the scale and breadth of alleged spying on French
citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency.
The allegations that the agency collected tens of thousands
of French phone records tested France’s relations with
Washington just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in
Paris for the start of a European tour over Syria.
PARIS/KUWAIT (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought on Monday to calm rising tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has spurned a U.N. Security Council seat in fury at inaction over the crisis in Syria.
Saudi Arabia rejected a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in a rare display of anger over what it called “double standards” at the United Nations. Its stance won praise from its Gulf Arab allies and Egypt.