WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States’ government said on Monday it will decide “in days” on additional sanctions if Russia does not take steps to implement an agreement to ease tensions in Ukraine reached in Geneva last week.
The steps include publicly calling on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to vacate occupied buildings and checkpoints, accept an amnesty and address their grievances politically, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States denied a visa to Iran’s proposed U.N. ambassador on Friday, citing the envoy’s links to the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis, in a rare step that raises questions over how much influence the White House can wield over the world body.
President Barack Obama had come under strong pressure not to allow Hamid Abutalebi into the country to take up his position in New York. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United Nations and Iran had been told “that we will not issue a visa to Mr. Abutalebi.” He gave no further explanation.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee said on Thursday that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities would be top priorities as the panel puts together this year’s massive defense policy bill.
“If you don’t know what somebody else is doing, you don’t even know what your risks are,” U.S. Representative Buck McKeon said during a meeting with reporters.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. expectations for talks with Russia on the Ukraine crisis next week are not high, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe said on Wednesday, but it is essential to make every effort to ease tensions.
Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland also reiterated the U.S. accusation that Russia was behind the takeover of government buildings in eastern Ukraine this week.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran can produce fissile material for an atomic weapon in two months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday told a Senate hearing in which he faced tough questions from lawmakers about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
“I think it’s public knowledge today that we’re operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months. That’s been in the public domain,” Kerry testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bristled at fierce criticism from U.S. senators on Tuesday, saying he would accept blame for foreign policy failures but was at least trying to make progress on Middle East peace and the crises in Syria and Ukraine.
During a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, Kerry got pointed questions about the U.S. failure to end Syria’s civil war, prevent Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to recommend declassification of the summary, findings and conclusions of its report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation methods,” which critics say amount to torture.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, said the vote was 11-3 to declassify what she called the “shocking” results of the committee’s investigation.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. Treasury Department official responsible for sanctions said on Wednesday there is no evidence that any companies are taking advantage of a preliminary nuclear agreement with Iran by reaching new deals in Iran.
“We have not seen companies anywhere — Europe, the Gulf, Asia — trying to take advantage of this … narrow opening, the quite limited suspensions of the sanctions to get into the Iranian market, enter into business deals that would otherwise be sanctionable,” Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen said at a U.S. Senate hearing.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee came out on Wednesday in favor of declassifying parts of a report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation” methods, saying they had concluded some detainees “were subjected to techniques that constituted torture.”
The announcement by Maine Senators Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an Independent aligned with the Democrats, was an important boost for the declassification push a day before the panel is expected to vote on the issue.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a package of aid and sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, and sent the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The 378-34 vote backed a package that was overwhelmingly approved last week by the U.S. Senate, a rare show of bipartisanship after weeks of haggling between Democrats and Republicans over how best to respond to the crisis.