U.S. Foreign Policy Correspondent
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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.

Sep 7, 2013

EU blames Assad for chemical attack in nuanced message

VILNIUS/PARIS (Reuters) – The European Union blamed the Syrian government on Saturday for an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria but stopped short of explicitly supporting a U.S.-led military response.

The carefully worded message from foreign ministers of 28 EU governments stressed the importance of waiting for a report by U.N. weapons inspectors – which France’s president said could come by the end of the week – before making any decisions.

Sep 7, 2013

Kerry urges EU to postpone funding ban in Israeli-occupied territories

VILNIUS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the European Union on Saturday to postpone a planned ban on EU financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories, a U.S. official said.

Kerry made the request at a meeting with EU foreign ministers at which he also called on them to support Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which resumed on July 29 after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Sep 6, 2013

Syria, Egypt turmoil nudges Israel, Palestinians toward peace

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Turmoil in Syria and Egypt is nudging Israelis and Palestinians toward peace, a U.S. official said on Friday as Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Europe for talks about that conflict and a possible U.S. strike on Syrian targets.

While the chief U.S. diplomat’s three-day trip was originally designed to focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and will include a lengthy meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in London on Sunday, Syria is sure to consume many of his conversations with European and Arab diplomats.

    • 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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