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Apr 27, 2014

Analysis – For Washington, Palestinian pact not the end of Middle East peace hopes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The unity pact between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the militant group Hamas dealt a sharp punch to U.S.-driven peace negotiations with Israel, but the Americans insisted it was not a fatal blow to the struggling talks.

Washington was stunned by the deal announced on Wednesday between Fatah, the faction that leads the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately suspended participation in the peace process brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Apr 27, 2014

For Washington, Palestinian pact not the end of Middle East peace hopes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The unity pact between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the militant group Hamas dealt a sharp punch to U.S.-driven peace negotiations with Israel, but the Americans insisted it was not a fatal blow to the struggling talks.

Washington was stunned by the deal announced on Wednesday between Fatah, the faction that leads the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is viewed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately suspended participation in the peace process brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Apr 21, 2014

U.S. says will act ‘in days’ if no Russian action in Ukraine

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.

Apr 11, 2014

Iranian official will not get visa for U.N. ambassadorship: White House

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.

Apr 10, 2014

Top U.S. lawmaker: intelligence top priority in defense bill

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.

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.

    • 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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