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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.

Sep 1, 2013

A hawkish Kerry emerges as point man in Obama’s push to punish Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When the Senate takes up whether to back White House plans to attack Syria, there may be few more effective or passionate lobbyists for the administration than Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a member of that exclusive club for 28 years.

Kerry last week described Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons as “a moral obscenity” and, in a separate appearance, called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer.”

Aug 30, 2013

U.S. casts action in Syria as moral imperative but sets no timetable

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration made a forceful case on Friday for limited U.S. military action against Syria, releasing evidence the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians several times during the past year and saying the “indiscriminate, inconceivable horror” of a deadly attack last week could not go unpunished.

In separate statements, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry harshly condemned the Syrian government but said any military response by the United States would be measured to avoid open-ended commitments – a nod by the White House to most Americans’ reluctance to engage in another war.

Aug 30, 2013

Kerry makes forceful case for military action against Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration made a forceful case for limited U.S. military action against Syria on Friday, releasing evidence the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians multiple times in the past year and saying the “indiscriminate, inconceivable horror” could not go unpunished.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “a thug and a murderer” but said any military response by the United States would be carefully measured to avoid open-ended commitments.

Aug 30, 2013

U.S. says North Korea scrubs trip aimed at securing American’s release

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea canceled a planned trip for a U.S. envoy to travel to Pyongyang to seek the release of imprisoned and ailing American missionary Kenneth Bae, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

North Korea withdrew its invitation to Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, who was expected to visit Pyongyang on Friday and Saturday.

Aug 16, 2013

U.S. walks careful Egypt line; some see mixed messages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By canceling a military exercise with Egypt but not cutting off U.S. aid, President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to show his displeasure at the Egyptian army’s violent crackdown on protesters – without totally alienating the generals.

Obama announced the move a day after at least 623 people were killed, according to Egypt’s Health Ministry, as troops and police used force against protesters seeking the return of President Mohamed Mursi, who was toppled by the military on July 3.

Aug 16, 2013

Analysis: U.S. walks careful Egypt line; some see mixed messages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By canceling a military exercise with Egypt but not cutting off U.S. aid, President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to show his displeasure at the Egyptian army’s violent crackdown on protesters – without totally alienating the generals.

Obama announced the move a day after at least 623 people were killed, according to Egypt’s Health Ministry, as troops and police used force against protesters seeking the return of President Mohamed Mursi, who was toppled by the military on July 3.

Aug 14, 2013

U.S. weighs canceling military exercise with Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering calling off a major military exercise with the Egypt after Egyptian security forces killed scores of protesters on Wednesday, U.S. officials said.

The bloodshed appears to have forced U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to consider adopting a more muscular stance toward the Egyptian military, which toppled Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, on July 3.

Aug 2, 2013

U.S. issues global travel alert, cites al Qaeda threat

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) – The United States issued a
worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al
Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the
Middle East and North Africa.

The State Department travel alert was based on the same
intelligence information that prompted it to close 21 U.S.
embassies or consulates this Sunday, chiefly those in the Muslim
world, a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

    • 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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