U.S. Foreign Policy Correspondent
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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.

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.

    • 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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