WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe who angered some of the very people she is supposed to cultivate by crudely disparaging the European Union in a leaked phone call on America’s Ukraine policy, is no stranger to the power of words.
A career diplomat who speaks Russian and French, Nuland has served near the top of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus for years, including a stint performing the high-wire act of State Department spokeswoman.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine that was posted on YouTube revealed an embarrassing exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude American swipe at the European Union.
The leaked conversation appeared certain to embarrass the United States and seemed designed to bolster charges – from Russia, among others – that the Ukrainian opposition is being manipulated by Washington, which President Barack Obama’s administration strenuously disputes.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine posted on YouTube revealed a frank exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude swipe at the European Union.
In the audio posted on Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt she doesn’t think Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer-turned-politician who is a main opposition leader, should be in a new government.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An initial agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program was “not perfect” but it bought time to try to secure a comprehensive deal, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday in response to sharp criticism from Congress.
Major world powers struck an agreement with Iran on November 24 to offer Tehran an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief in return for steps to restrain Iranian atomic activities. The deal called for negotiation of a full agreement within a year.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States urged Syria’s opposition on Thursday to attend January 22 peace talks and criticized its government for suggesting the meeting should be about fighting terrorism rather than forging a political settlement.
The comments by Secretary of State John Kerry, less than a week before the talks are to begin, suggest some uncertainty by the United States over whether the opposition will show up at the U.N.-hosted conference in Montreux, Switzerland.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama hailed an agreement struck on Sunday to curb Iran’s nuclear program over six months and argued that imposing additional U.S. sanctions could scupper the deal.
“Now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” Obama said in a written statement after the European Union said that Iran and six major powers had reached an accord to implement a November 24 nuclear agreement with Iran.
ANKARA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Iran on Monday appeared to rule out participation in Syrian peace talks later this month, dismissing a U.S. suggestion that it could be involved “from the sidelines” as not respecting its dignity.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Sunday there might be ways Iran could “contribute from the sidelines” in a so-called Geneva 2 peace conference in Switzerland on January 22, and on Monday U.S. officials said Tehran might still be able to play a helpful role.
RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi King Abdullah offered his “enthusiastic support” to U.S. efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.
The U.S. diplomat made the comment after some two hours and 40 minutes of talks with the Arab monarch, who in 2002 floated a plan to try to bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians.
AMMAN/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Syrian rebel fighters loyal to al Qaeda ceded ground near the Turkish border to rival Islamists on Sunday, activists said, in what seemed to be a tactical withdrawal to end clashes between Syrian- and foreign-led opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.
As Syria’s civil war gets ever more complex amid a broad regional confrontation between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, the United States raised the prospect of Assad’s sponsor Iran, the Shi’ite power long at odds with Washington and its Sunni Arab allies, playing some role in this month’s Syrian peace talks.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Israelis and Palestinians were making some progress in peace talks, though there was still a chance no accord would be reached.
Speaking before he flew to Jordan and Saudi Arabia to brief their rulers about his 10th visit to the region to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry said both sides had a sharper idea of the compromises needed to secure an agreement.