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Apr 9, 2014

U.S. expectations low for talks with Russia on Ukraine: diplomat

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.

Apr 8, 2014

Kerry says Iran nuclear ‘breakout’ window now seen as two months

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.

Apr 8, 2014

Kerry says willing to take blame for U.S. foreign policy failures

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.

Apr 3, 2014

Senate panel votes to declassify report on CIA interrogations

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.

Apr 2, 2014

Treasury official: Firms not in new deals with Iran after pact

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.

Apr 2, 2014

Lawmakers call for declassifying CIA report, cite torture

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.

Apr 2, 2014

U.S. Congress passes Ukraine aid, sanctions

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.

Apr 1, 2014

U.S. House backs Ukraine aid, sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to provide aid to Ukraine, back a $1 billion loan guarantee for the Kiev government and impose sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The 378-34 vote was in support of a package approved by the U.S. Senate, meaning it will be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law, ending weeks of haggling in Congress over how best to support Ukraine.

Apr 1, 2014

Lawmakers outraged over Iran U.N. choice, seek change in law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hardline U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday they were concerned about Iran’s selection of a U.N. envoy linked to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, and called on the Obama administration to do what it can to prevent him from taking up the post in New York.

“That really has got to be a serious question, as to whether or not the State Department gives … a visa to him,” Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters.

Apr 1, 2014

U.S. lawmakers outraged over Iran U.N. choice, seek change in law

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – Hardline U.S. lawmakers said
on Tuesday they were concerned about Iran’s selection of a U.N.
envoy linked to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, and called on the
Obama administration to do what it can to prevent him from
taking up the post in New York.

“That really has got to be a serious question, as to whether
or not the State Department gives … a visa to him,” Democratic
Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, told Reuters.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
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