CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a diplomatic push on Monday to try to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas but senior U.S. officials acknowledged this would be challenging.
More than 500 people have died in the Gaza Strip fighting, the vast majority of them Palestinians, as Israel has pursued an air and ground offensive to try to stop rocket attacks on its territory from the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip.
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran ahead of this week’s nuclear talks in Vienna that it has yet to prove that its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful in multiple rounds of talks with six world powers as a July 20 deadline nears.
Kerry made these remarks in an op-ed article published on the Washington Post website. The article appeared shortly after it emerged that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns is expected to attend the talks, which get under way on Tuesday.
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns is expected to attend talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna this week that aim to strike a nuclear deal by July 20, diplomats said.
The presence of Burns, who led secret negotiations between Iran and the United States that helped yield a November interim nuclear agreement with Tehran, would open up the possibility of bilateral talks between the two long-time antagonists.
ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran is wrestling with a complex array of historic alliances and enmities as it tries to develop a coherent response to the swift advance of hostile Sunni Muslim militants in neighboring Iraq.
Despairing of its protege Nuri al-Maliki, Tehran’s Shi’ite clerical establishment has sent mixed messages on working with the Iraqi prime minister’s other sponsor, the United States, with which it shares a goal of averting the country’s break-up.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk has resigned following the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian talks, but the State Department said on Friday he would remain involved in the peace effort.
Indyk’s departure had been widely expected after the two sides failed to meet their goal of reaching a comprehensive peace agreement this spring. Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, will return to the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, the department said in a statement.
PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The European Union and the United States are not poised to slap fresh sanctions on Russia on Friday despite a U.S. warning that Moscow had only ‘hours” to act on disarming Ukraine separatists, Western diplomats said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Russia to take steps to disarm separatists in Ukraine within “the next hours” as the European Union prepared to discuss deeper sanctions against Moscow at a Brussels summit on Friday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Among all countries swept by the Arab Spring uprisings, few today are as dysfunctional as Libya.
Heavily armed militias outgun its fledgling army. A renegade former general has launched a purge of radical Islamists. Weapons looted from arsenals of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi help fuel the bloody conflict in Syria. And an estimated $30 billion in oil revenue has been lost in the past 11 months.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States blacklisted seven separatists in Ukraine on Friday and threatened “scalpel” sanctions on Russia’s financial, defense and high-tech industries as more Russian military material has flowed into Ukraine.
The U.S. moves respond to what American officials say is Russia’s recent increase in support to Ukrainian separatists, including the provision of Russian tanks and the preparation of more to cross into eastern Ukraine.
MOSUL Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama considered options for military action to support Iraq’s besieged government on Monday, and U.S. and Iranian officials held talks to stabilize the region, which has been roiled by the advance of Sunni rebels toward Baghdad.
Obama, who was being presented with recommendations from his top national security advisers on Monday evening, has made U.S. action contingent on Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s taking steps to broaden his Shi’ite-dominated government.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. security officials prepared on Monday to brief President Barack Obama on options to counter militants threatening Baghdad as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki came under increased U.S. pressure to curb religious partisanship in his government.
Brett McGurk, the State Department point man on Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Stephen Beecroft met with Maliki in Baghdad on Monday as part of a U.S. effort to prod leaders of Iraq’s Shi’ite-dominated administration to govern in a less sectarian manner, officials said.