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Nov 4, 2014

Exclusive: Washington takes hands-off stance on future of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

WASHINGTON/YANGON (Reuters) – Despite hailing Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as “an icon of democracy,” U.S. President Barack Obama is quietly acquiescing to the government’s decision to bar her from running for the presidency in next year’s election, U.S. officials say.

Obama, who visits Myanmar next week, appears to be balancing his push for democratic reforms with a desire to maintain influence with a government that remains deeply suspicious of Suu Kyi and is led by some of the same former generals who kept her under house arrest for 15 years.

Nov 2, 2014

To salvage his presidency, Obama faces pressure to reboot – but will he?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A reshuffling of President Barack Obama’s staff looks all but certain after Tuesday’s congressional elections, which are likely to bring humbling losses to his Democratic party and could add to pressure on him to reboot his presidency.

Forecasters say that Republicans, who have made Obama’s unpopularity a top issue in the elections, are in a strong position to capture the six seats they need to take over the Senate from Democrats. They are also expected to expand their majority in the House of Representatives.

Oct 15, 2014

U.S. sees some progress in Iran nuclear talks, still aims for November deal

VIENNA, Oct 15 (Reuters) – A senior U.S. official said some
progress was made in high-level nuclear negotiations with Iran
on Wednesday but much work remained to be done, adding the goal
was still to reach a deal by a late November deadline.

The State Department official spoke after about six hours of
talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton in Vienna.

Oct 15, 2014

U.S. says no talk now about extending Iran nuclear negotiations

VIENNA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. official said on Wednesday a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was still possible by late next month and there were no talks now about extending the deadline, after Tehran and Moscow indicated more time may be needed.

However, speaking ahead of a meeting between the top U.S., Iranian and European Union diplomats, the State Department official said there were still some significant gaps in negotiating positions on Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Oct 14, 2014

U.S., Russia agree to share intelligence on common enemy: Islamic State militants

PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed on Tuesday to increase intelligence sharing between Moscow and Washington on Islamic State militants, focusing on a common enemy even as deep divisions remained over the crisis in Ukraine.

Speaking in Paris after talks with his Russian counterpart, Kerry said the two world powers, whose relations have hit a post-Cold War low over Russia’s role in Ukraine, had a “major responsibility” to find ways to work together on global issues, despite their stark differences in a number of areas.

Oct 13, 2014

Kerry pushes for Mideast peace, donors pledge $5 billion for Palestinians

CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Sunday for a renewed commitment to achieving Middle East peace, saying a lasting deal between Israel, the Palestinians and all their neighbours was possible.

But prospects for a renewed peace process appeared dim as Kerry offered no specifics on how to restart negotiations in his speech to a Gaza reconstruction conference that raised more than $5 billion (3.1 billion pounds) in aid for the Palestinians after a devastating war in the tiny coastal territory.

Oct 12, 2014

Kerry pushes for Middle East peace, pledges $212 million aid for Gaza

CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Sunday for a renewed commitment to achieving Middle East peace, saying a lasting deal between Israel, the Palestinians and all their neighbors could be achieved.

But prospects for a renewed peace process appeared dim as Kerry offered no specifics on how to restart negotiations in his speech to a Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo.

Oct 12, 2014

Egypt’s Sisi urges Israel to consider Arab peace initiative

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt, which brokered a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza after a 50-day war, used a reconstruction conference in Cairo on Sunday to call for a wider peace deal based on a 2002 Arab initiative.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi opened the meeting by calling for peace and putting the biggest Arab nation’s weight behind the plan, put forward by Saudi Arabia at an Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002.

Oct 11, 2014

Gaza aid conference may fall short of $4 billion sought by Palestinians: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. officials voiced doubts on Friday that an international donors conference to be held in Cairo this weekend will meet the Palestinians’ full request for $4 billion in aid pledges to rebuild the Gaza Strip after it was devastated by a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

Secretary of State John Kerry will join with his counterparts from dozens of countries on Sunday at a meeting where the Palestinian Authority is hoping that moves by a new unity government toward assuming control in Hamas-dominated Gaza could make wealthy donor governments less wary of providing reconstruction funds.

Oct 3, 2014

Islamic State beheads British hostage Henning in new video

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Friday that purported to show the beheading of a man it identified as British citizen Alan Henning.

The footage on YouTube, which was linked to on pro-Islamic State Twitter feeds, showed a man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in a landscape who was identified as Henning.

    • 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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