Lesley's Feed
Jan 27, 2015

Too soon to say ‘mission accomplished’ in Kobani – U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kurdish fighters’ expulsion of Islamic State forces from the Syrian town of Kobani helped stop the momentum of the Islamist group but is not a significant turning point in the overall campaign, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

The setback for Islamic State in the war-ravaged town near the Turkish border did not mean “anyone is declaring mission accomplished” in the international campaign against the group, that has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq, the official said.

Jan 23, 2015

U.S. presses Cuba on human rights in talks on restoring ties

HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States said it pressed Cuba to improve human rights during historic, high-level talks on Thursday, annoying the Cubans after both sides reported making progress toward restoring diplomatic relations.

The talks were the first since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 they would work to restore diplomatic ties, which Washington severed in 1961 two years after Raul’s brother Fidel took power and began implementing communist rule.

Jan 22, 2015

Historic U.S.-Cuba talks shift to restoring diplomatic ties

HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba launch talks on Thursday on restoring diplomatic relations after a contentious session on immigration accentuated the difficulties in overcoming half a century of hostilities.

The highest-level U.S. delegation in 35 years will conclude two-day talks in Havana on Thursday, with both sides cautioning an immediate breakthrough was unlikely.

Jan 19, 2015

U.S. to seek end to travel curbs, set up embassy in Cuba talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will urge Cuba to lift travel restrictions on U.S. diplomats and agree to establish U.S. and Cuban embassies in historic talks in Havana this week aimed at restoring relations, a senior State Department official said on Monday.

The talks on Jan. 21-23 will be led by Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, in the first visit to Cuba in 38 years by a U.S. assistant secretary of state.

Dec 23, 2014

North Korea’s Internet links restored amid U.S. hacking dispute

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said.

New Hampshire-based Dyn said the reason for the outage was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. government was not involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang.

Dec 22, 2014

Internet outage seen in North Korea amid U.S. hacking dispute

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony pictures, itself experienced Internet outages on Monday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said.

New Hampshire-based Dyn Research said the reason for the disruptions was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. government was not involved in any cyber action against Pyongyang.

Dec 17, 2014

Secret talks in Canada, Vatican City led to Cuba breakthrough

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuban relations began in spring 2013, when President Barack Obama authorized secret talks with Havana, the same tactic he used to open nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Months of talks in Canada and at the Vatican, involving one of Obama’s closest aides, culminated on Tuesday when Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke by phone for nearly an hour and gave final assent to steps that could end a half-century of enmity and reshape Western Hemisphere relations.

Dec 17, 2014

Kerry says Russia sanctions could end if Putin takes right steps

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia has made constructive moves in recent days towards reducing tensions in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday, and he raised the possibility that Washington could lift sanctions if Moscow keeps taking positive steps.

Speaking in London, Kerry said the United States and Europe could lift sanctions within days or weeks if President Vladimir Putin keeps taking steps to ease tensions and lives up to commitments under ceasefire accords to end the Ukraine conflict.

Dec 17, 2014

Kerry says U.S. made no ‘determinations’ on Palestinian resolution

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday the United States had made “no determinations” about any possible U.N. Security Council resolutions to end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he had sought reassurances from Kerry that Washington would block separate efforts by Palestinians and Europeans to set a time frame for a Palestinian statehood.

Dec 16, 2014

Kerry says Russia has made ‘constructive moves’ on Ukraine in recent days

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia has made constructive moves in recent days toward possibly reducing tensions in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Speaking in London, Kerry said the United States and Europe were ready to ease sanctions against Russia if President Vladimir Putin took more steps to deescalate tensions in eastern Ukraine.