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Jun 3, 2014

Obama defends deal that freed soldier amid growing demands for hearings

WASHINGTON/WARSAW (Reuters) – President Barack Obama defended on Tuesday the prisoner swap deal that freed a U.S. soldier from Taliban captivity in Afghanistan, and the Army pledged to investigate the circumstances of his capture after fellow soldiers said he had deserted.

Trying to defuse concerns of members of Congress who said the president broke the law by not giving them advance notice of the agreement, Obama told a news conference in Warsaw: “Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop.”

Jun 3, 2014

U.S. senators set new bid to overhaul pricey food aid rules

WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) – Two U.S. lawmakers introduced
legislation on Tuesday to end U.S. restrictions on international
food aid programs, which they said would free up hundreds of
millions of dollars per year and get aid to some 9 million more
hungry people around the world.

U.S. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democrat Chris Coons
of Delaware, chairman of the Africa subcommittee, introduced the
Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014.

Jun 3, 2014

U.S. Senators set bill seeking overhaul of food aid rules: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. lawmakers will introduce legislation on Tuesday to end restrictions on international food aid programs, which they say would free up hundreds of millions of dollars per year and get aid to some 9 million more hungry people around the world.

U.S. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, chairman of the Africa subcommittee, are jointly introducing the “Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014,” according to a copy of the bill obtained by Reuters.

Jun 3, 2014

Obama administration to work with Palestinian unity government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration said on Monday it plans to work with and fund the new Palestinian unity government, and Israel immediately voiced its disappointment with the decision also criticized by some U.S. lawmakers.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a unity government on Monday in a reconciliation deal with Hamas Islamists, who advocate Israel’s destruction.

Jun 2, 2014

Republicans demand hearings in Congress over soldier’s release

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers angered by a White House deal to swap five Taliban prisoners for a captured U.S. soldier in Afghanistan on Monday demanded hearings over why the Obama administration reached the agreement without consulting Congress.

Adding to criticism of the decision to negotiate the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl were accusations by some soldiers who served with him that they consider Bergdahl a deserter who cost the lives of several comrades.

Jun 2, 2014

U.S. says to work with, fund Palestinian unity government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it plans to work with and fund the new Palestinian unity government formed after an agreement by the Fatah and Hamas factions, and Israel immediately voiced its disappointment with the U.S. decision.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a unity government on Monday in a reconciliation deal with Hamas Islamists, who advocate Israel’s destruction.

Jun 2, 2014

U.S. lawmakers question aid to new Palestinian unity government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. lawmakers said on Monday that they would be reluctant to send aid to the new unity government between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Islamist group Hamas.

Abbas swore in the government in a reconciliation deal with Hamas that led Israel to freeze U.S.-brokered peace talks.

May 29, 2014

Lawmakers suggest NATO, not Russia, buy French warships

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers urged France on Thursday to cancel the sale of two advanced helicopter carrier ships to Russia and suggested that NATO buy or lease them instead.

“The purchase would send a strong signal to (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin that the NATO allies will not tolerate or in any way enable his reckless moves,” they said in a letter to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen obtained by Reuters.

May 28, 2014

House passes bill seeking Venezuela sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to impose sanctions on Venezuelans responsible for human rights abuses during anti-government protests, despite Obama administration worries that they could threaten talks seeking to ease the unrest.

The bill would authorize the Obama administration to deny U.S. entry visas to Venezuelans deemed responsible for rights abuses during three months of unrest and freeze their assets.

May 21, 2014

Venezuela’s efforts to resolve crisis ‘total failure’: Kerry

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Impatience with the Venezuelan government is growing over its “total failure” to show good faith in talks to resolve the country’s political crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Addressing the media during a visit to Mexico City, Kerry said he hoped that sanctions on Venezuela would not be necessary, but that “all options remain on the table.”

    • 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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