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Apr 9, 2015

Obama: no decision yet on removing Cuba from terror sponsor list

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the U.S. State Department had completed its review of whether to remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism but that he had not received a recommendation yet from his advisers.

Speaking in Jamaica, where he is on a short visit, Obama said he would not announce a Cuba decision on Thursday. He said he would wait to receive recommendations from White House advisers before doing so.

Apr 9, 2015

In Jamaica, Obama seeks to reassert U.S. leadership in Caribbean

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – President Barack Obama arrived in Jamaica on Wednesday to attend a Caribbean summit seeking to reassert U.S. leadership in the region at time when oil-producing Venezuela’s economic clout may be receding.

As the first U.S. president to visit Kingston since Ronald Reagan in 1982, Obama faces the challenge of convincing Caribbean island leaders that Washington is genuinely re-engaging after a long period of perceived neglect of its smaller, poorer neighbors.

Apr 7, 2015

U.S. closing in on recommendation to remove Cuba from state terrorism list

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is
closing in on a decision to recommend removal of Cuba from its
list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism, days before
President Barack Obama attends a regional summit with his Cuban
counterpart Raul Castro.

Obama ordered the review after announcing a diplomatic
breakthrough with Havana on Dec. 17 and has vowed to act quickly
once he receives the recommendation, which would mark a major
move toward ending five decades of estrangement.

Apr 7, 2015

U.S. could recommend taking Cuba off state terrorism list in days: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department could recommend within a few days that Cuba be removed from its list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, a major move toward rapprochement ahead of a hemispheric summit this week.

President Barack Obama ordered the review after announcing a diplomatic breakthrough with Havana on Dec. 17, and he has vowed to act quickly once he receives the State Department’s recommendation.

Apr 3, 2015

Iran nuclear agreement presents Obama with promise and peril

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama still faces a formidable task in preventing a skeptical Congress from sabotaging a nuclear pact with Iran and keeping talks from collapsing over the fine print, despite achieving a surprisingly detailed initial agreement that he hailed as “historic.”

While major world powers and Iran made genuine progress in reaching a broad agreement in Switzerland on Thursday, the real test looms at the end of June when the deal must be finalized.

Mar 27, 2015

With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia kept some key details of its military action in Yemen from Washington until the last moment, U.S. officials said, as the kingdom takes a more assertive regional role to compensate for perceived U.S. disengagement.

The Middle East’s top oil power told the United States weeks ago it was weighing action in Yemen but only informed Washington of the exact details just before Thursday’s unprecedented air strikes against Iran-allied Houthi rebels, the officials said.

Mar 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia, allies launch air campaign in Yemen against Houthi fighters

ADEN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday it had launched military operations in Yemen, carrying out air strikes in coordination with a 10-country coalition seeking to beat back Houthi militia forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge.

At a news conference in Washington, Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said Gulf Arab allies and others had joined with the desert kingdom in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He declined to give any information on Hadi’s whereabouts.

Mar 20, 2015

Netanyahu row casts doubt on Obama pledge to ‘have Israel’s back’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama, who once famously said he would “always have Israel’s back,” may be rethinking that promise as aides begin weighing options in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election disavowal of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Following Obama’s warning that the United States would “reassess” its relationship with Israel, the administration is not only reconsidering the diplomatic cover it has long given Israel at the United Nations but is also looking at a range of other possibilities to put pressure on its historically close ally, U.S. officials said.

Mar 19, 2015

Obama tells Netanyahu U.S. to ‘reassess’ policy on Israel, Mideast diplomacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Washington would “reassess” its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after the Israeli prime minister took a position against Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign, a White House official said.

Obama’s telephone call to Netanyahu followed a television interview in which the Israeli leader backed away from his pre-election declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, an about-face apparently aimed at quelling U.S. criticism triggered by his comments.

Mar 19, 2015

Netanyahu backs away from rejection of Palestinian state; White House unmoved

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied on Thursday abandoning his commitment to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, backing away from pre-election comments that deepened a rift with Israel’s ally the United States.

But the White House, unmoved by Netanyahu’s post-election effort to backtrack, delivered a fresh rebuke against the Israeli leader and signaled that Washington may reconsider its long-standing policy of shielding Israel from international pressure at the United Nations.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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