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May 21, 2015

U.S., Cuba talks resume with focus on opening embassies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba began a fourth round of talks on Thursday aimed at overcoming obstacles to opening embassies in each other’s capitals and re-establishing diplomatic ties, the crucial next step in their historic detente.

The meetings at the State Department are being led by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and Josefina Vidal, director of U.S. affairs at the Cuban foreign ministry.

May 20, 2015

U.S. embassy in Cuba likely to operate in restrictive environment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new U.S. embassy in Havana is likely to operate with controls on staff travel and other restrictions similar to those on American diplomats in other countries with authoritarian governments, Washington’s chief Cuba negotiator said on Wednesday.

But Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, speaking on the eve of the latest round of talks with Cuba on restoring diplomatic ties, said Washington was determined to minimize restrictions.

May 19, 2015

U.S. signals it could change pro-democracy programs in Cuba

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. official said on Tuesday that Washington could change pro-democracy programs in Cuba that Havana objects to, possibly removing one of the biggest impediments to restoring diplomatic ties.

The senior State Department official, speaking to reporters before talks with Cuban representatives on Thursday, also said the sides had narrowed differences over reopening embassies following December’s announcement on restoring diplomatic ties.

May 7, 2015

Saudi Arabia offers five-day Yemen ceasefire

RIYADH/CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia offered a five-day humanitarian truce on Thursday to the Houthi militia it has hit with weeks of airstrikes in neighbouring Yemen, on condition that fighting across Yemen stops.

International concern about Yemen’s dire humanitarian situation has grown as fighting, airstrikes and an arms embargo have led to civilian deaths, internal displacement, destruction of infrastructure and shortages of food, medicine and fuel.

May 7, 2015

Saudi Arabia mulling land operations on Yemen border

CAIRO/RIYADH, May 7 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said all
options were open including ground operations to stop mortar
attacks on its border towns by Yemen’s Houthi militia, as its
jets hammered the group’s positions ahead of U.S.-led talks on a
temporary truce.

A second night on Wednesday of raids aimed at suppressing
further Houthi shelling struck the group’s stronghold of Saada,
near Yemen’s Saudi border, and the small port of Maidi.

May 6, 2015

Kerry pushes for pause in Yemen fighting in Saudi meetings

RIYADH, May 6 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday to press for a pause in Saudi
Arabia’s bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, so
food and medicine can be delivered to people caught in the
fighting.

Speaking at a news conference in Djibouti, the first
secretary of state to visit the tiny Horn of Africa nation,
Kerry said the United States was deeply concerned with the
worsening humanitarian conditions.

May 6, 2015

U.S. to discuss pause in Yemen fighting with Saudis: Kerry

DJIBOUTI (Reuters) – The United States is concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen and will discuss a possible pause in fighting with Saudi officials on Wednesday to try to get food, fuel and medicine to civilians, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“The situation is getting more dire by the day and we are concerned about that,” Kerry told a news conference during a visit to Djibouti, the first secretary of state to visit the Horn of Africa nation.

May 4, 2015

Kerry says Kenya has role in resolving Somalia, S.Sudan conflicts

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Kenya on Monday it had an important role in helping resolve conflicts in South Sudan and Somalia and pledged $45 million in new aid to help it deal with 600,000 refugees.

Speaking after meetings with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition politicians in Nairobi, he said recent attacks by Somali al Shabaab Islamist militants in Kenya were part of the cost of playing that role.

May 4, 2015

Kerry holds talks on security, al Shabaab threat in Kenya

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta discussed on Monday ways to counter the threat from the al Shabaab militant group that killed 148 people at a Kenyan university last month.

Kerry, who arrived on Sunday, also commemorated the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, in which more than 200 people died, before meeting Kenyatta.

May 3, 2015

Kerry in Kenya to offer help against militants: officials

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kenya on Sunday to offer help in countering Somali al Shabaab militants who have staged deadly attacks there and elsewhere in East Africa.

Kerry will also address Kenya’s human rights in meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta and other government officials as well as discussing the troubled peace process in South Sudan and violence in Burundi, a U.S. official said.