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Apr 28, 2014

Ukraine rebels free Swedish hostage; Obama seeks unity against Russia

KUALA LUMPUR/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian rebels paraded European monitors they are holding in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, freeing one but saying they had no plans to release another seven as the United States and Europe prepared new sanctions against Moscow.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for the United States and Europe to join forces to impose stronger measures to restrain Moscow. The White House said it will add names on Monday of people close to President Vladimir Putin and firms they control to a list of Russians hit by sanctions over Ukraine, and also impose new restrictions on high tech exports.

Apr 27, 2014

Philippines, U.S. to sign new military pact, part of U.S. pivot

MANILA/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The United States and the Philippines will sign a new 10-year security pact on Monday that will allow for a larger U.S. military presence as it struggles to raise its defense capabilities amid territorial disputes with China.

The agreement, which establishes a framework for a beefed-up rotation of U.S. troops, ship and warplanes through the Philippines, will be formally sealed just hours before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on a two-day visit to Manila, U.S. and Philippine officials said.

Apr 27, 2014

Obama urges united riposte to Russia for ‘destabilizing’ Ukraine

KUALA LUMPUR/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday said the United States and Europe must join forces to impose sanctions on Russia to stop it destabilizing Ukraine, where armed pro-Russian separatists were for a third day holding eight international observers prisoner.

Washington and Brussels are expected, possibly as early as Monday, to name new people and firms close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who will be hit by punitive measures, but there is no consensus yet on wider economic sanctions.

Apr 27, 2014

Obama says U.S. committed to supporting MH370 search

KUALA LUMPUR/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the United States was fully committed to providing more assets to assist in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

“I can tell you the United States is absolutely committed to providing whatever resources and assets that we can,” Obama told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Apr 26, 2014

Group of Seven agrees swift sanctions against Kremlin over Ukraine

SLAVIANSK, Ukraine/SEOUL, April 26 (Reuters) – Leaders of
the Group of Seven major economies agreed to impose extra
sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, where
armed pro-Moscow separatists detained a group of international
observers and accused them of being NATO spies.

The United States said its part of the new punitive
measures, which U.S. officials said would target “cronies” of
Russian President Vladimir Putin, could be unveiled as early as
Monday unless Russia moved fast to defuse the Ukraine crisis.

Apr 26, 2014

Swift, new sanctions to be imposed on Russia, mediators held in Ukraine

SLAVIANSK, Ukraine/SEOUL (Reuters) – The leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed on Saturday to swiftly impose further sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, and the United States could unveil its new punitive measures as early as Monday, officials said.

“We believe that these sanctions will have a significant impact,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes said.

Apr 26, 2014

Obama reminds North Korea of U.S. ‘military might’

SEOUL (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Saturday the United States did not use its military might to “impose things” on others, but that it would use that might if necessary to defend South Korea from any attack by the reclusive North.

The North warned last month it would not rule out a “new form” of atomic test after the U.N. Security Council condemned Pyongyang’s launch of a mid-range ballistic missile into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.

Apr 26, 2014

G7 leaders agree to impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

SEOUL (Reuters) – The leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed on Saturday to swiftly impose further sanctions on Russian individuals over the Ukraine crisis, and the United States could unveil its new punitive measures as early as Monday, officials said.

A senior U.S. official said each G7 country would decide which targeted sanctions to implement and while the measures would be coordinated they would not necessarily be identical.

Apr 25, 2014

‘Pause’ perhaps needed in Israeli-Palestinian talks: Obama

SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday a “pause” might be needed in U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, suggesting leaders on both sides lacked the will to make the necessary compromises.

Israel on Thursday suspended participation in negotiations with the Palestinians in response to President Mahmoud Abbas’s unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist Hamas group, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization.

Apr 25, 2014

Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama neared the end of a state visit to Japan on Friday during which he assured America’s close ally that Washington would come to its defense but failed to clinch a trade deal vital to his promised “pivot” to Asia.

Failure to reach a trade deal has delayed a joint statement on security and economic ties that Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were expected to issue after their summit on Thursday. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the joint document was in the final stages of being worked out.

    • 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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