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Jul 28, 2014

U.S. ‘disappointed’ Netherlands released Venezuelan wanted over drugs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is “deeply disappointed” the Netherlands released a former Venezuelan military intelligence chief detained over U.S. drug trafficking allegations, and is “disturbed” at reports indicating Caracas used threats to obtain his freedom, the State Department said on Monday.

Instead of being extradited to the United States, retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal flew home on Sunday from the Netherlands’ Caribbean island of Aruba after the Dutch government ruled he had diplomatic immunity. He had been arrested on Aruba on Wednesday.

Jul 24, 2014

Senior U.S. lawmaker: Myanmar must reform before more sanctions easing

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – Jade and rubies from Myanmar
will remain banned from the United States unless the Asian
nation moves to end a provision in its constitution that bars
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, a
senior U.S. senator said on Thursday.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican party’s
leader in the Senate, said there is little appetite in the U.S.
Congress to reinstate stiff trade sanctions that were imposed on
Myanmar during its decades of tough military rule.

Jul 23, 2014

U.S. Republican lawmakers seek greater say on Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday that would force President Barack Obama to submit quickly to Congress any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran and give lawmakers the chance to reject the deal and reimpose sanctions.

The five senators introduced their bill just five days after Iran and six world powers announced they had failed to meet a deadline to end a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and agreed to extend an interim agreement for four months, including some further sanctions relief for Tehran.

Jul 23, 2014

U.S. boosts Iraq surveillance flights to 50 daily from one monthly

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – The United States has
boosted the number of surveillance flights over Iraq to nearly
50 a day from one a month as it faces Sunni Islamist militants
who control swaths of Iraqi territory, a top State Department
official said on Wednesday.

However, Washington has not yet authorized unmanned drone
strikes, as requested by Baghdad, on the forces now known as
Islamic State, Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq
and Iran, testified at a House of Representatives hearing.

Jul 22, 2014

U.S. Senate panel advances global disabilities treaty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee voted on Tuesday to advance a U.N. treaty to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, but the agreement faces a tough fight winning the two-thirds majority needed for ratification by the full Senate.

Although 146 nations and the European Union have ratified the United Nations convention, it has failed to win approval in the deeply divided Senate, where many conservatives are wary of subjecting American social policies to global laws.

Jul 17, 2014

Fight over human trafficking law jeopardizes U.S. response to border crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic lawmakers’ deep resistance to changing a 2008 law that combats human trafficking threatened on Wednesday to slow the government’s response to a surge of 57,000 undocumented Central American children across the southern border.

President Barack Obama sent senior members of his administration – including two Cabinet secretaries – to convince senators to back his request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the crisis. (Graphic: U.S. border crisis

Jul 1, 2014

Kerry warns U.S. will deport undocumented Central American children

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Washington would work with Central American nations to address the root causes of an immigration crisis, but he kept up the Obama administration’s tough message that undocumented children would be deported.

“We obviously understand people who want to do better, and who look for a better life,” he said at a meeting with leaders from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the countries from which tens of thousands of children have fled to the United States in recent months.

Jun 29, 2014

Libyan suspect pleads not guilty in Benghazi attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Libyan militia leader pleaded not guilty in a U.S. federal court on Saturday to a terrorism charge in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah was transferred to the U.S. District Court in Washington on Saturday morning from a Navy warship where he had been held since his June 15 capture by U.S. special operations forces in Libya.

Jun 26, 2014

Obama seeks $500 million from Congress to help moderate Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, under pressure from some lawmakers to provide more help to Syria’s opposition, asked the U.S. Congress on Thursday to approve $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

It was the administration’s most tangible move yet to help beleaguered Assad opponents who have been frustrated at a lack of U.S. assistance after Obama stepped back from launching air strikes on Syria nearly a year ago.

Jun 24, 2014

U.S. lawmakers: Egypt’s “descent toward despotism” risks U.S. aid

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – Senior U.S. lawmakers said
on Tuesday they were rethinking the more than $1 billion
military aid Washington sends to Cairo after Egyptian courts
handed out mass death sentences to opposition figures and long
prison terms for journalists.

The chairman of the U.S. Senate subcommittee that oversees
foreign aid said further funds should be withheld until Egypt’s
leaders demonstrate a commitment to human rights, and a senior
member of the equivalent House of Representatives panel offered
legislation to redistribute some of the U.S. money.

    • 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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