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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.

Apr 24, 2014

Obama to use Japan visit to reassure Asian allies

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that his real aim is to contain Beijing’s rise.

Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America’s security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats.

Apr 23, 2014

Obama seeks to ease Asian allies’ doubts during visit to Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Tokyo and other Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that Washington’s real aim is to contain Beijing’s rise.

Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America’s security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats.

Apr 16, 2014

Obama looks to salvage Asia ‘pivot’ as allies fret about China

WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) – When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter.

The flyover was a vivid illustration of the expanding significance of one of Asia’s most strategic regions and underscored a message that senior U.S. officials say President Barack Obama will make in Asia next week: The “pivot” of U.S. military and diplomatic assets toward the Asia-Pacific region is real.

Apr 9, 2014

Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.

Apr 9, 2014

Analysis – Troubled Mideast peace effort compounds U.S. policy woes in region

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Barack Obama declared the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace one of the two main U.S. foreign policy priorities for his second term.

Fast-forward to today, the Obama administration faces a stark choice: expend more energy on a faltering peace process or absorb the hit to an already-troubled record in the Middle East and walk away from negotiations.

Apr 1, 2014

Proposed release of Israeli spy raises ire of U.S. spies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. proposal to consider freeing a jailed Israeli spy caught many American intelligence officials off-guard and will face stiff opposition if the Obama administration decides to go ahead with it in a bid to salvage Middle East peace talks, officials said.

Negotiations over the fate of Jonathan Pollard, a former naval intelligence analyst serving a life sentence for espionage, have stoked deep concern in the ranks of U.S. spy services already reeling from leaks orchestrated by former national security contractor Edward Snowden.

Mar 25, 2014

Obama aims to soothe Saudi fears with Riyadh visit

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will seek to ease Saudi concerns that he is neglecting an old ally when he visits Riyadh on Friday, months after top Saudis objected to what they saw as a growing rapprochement between Washington and their rival Iran.

Rifts over Middle East policy came to a head last year when Washington worked with other powers to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for concessions on its disputed nuclear programme, and backed away from air strikes on Tehran’s ally Syria.

    • 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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