Michele Kelemen appears in the following:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The U.S. says it is still committed to working with Russia to bring together the warring factions in Syria for a peace conference. But Washington postponed a planning meeting, as it weighs military options to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack. Russia says a U.S. strike will only create more problems and that rebels will have no incentive to negotiate with the Syrian government.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Even as United Nations inspectors try to determine whether and what kind of chemical weapons were used in Syria last week, international diplomats are trying to determine how to respond. Russia has made clear it wants no part of any intervention. It is a veto holder on the UN Security Council, so there's no chance the UN will authorize military force. If the U.S. and its partners want to act, they will have to do so without UN legal cover.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The U.S. and its allies are calling for a swift investigation into the latest reports of chemical weapons use in Syria. Russia, though, is casting doubts on the allegations, which come just as UN inspectors begin their long-delayed mission to look into past reports of chemical weapons use. Russia says the timing suggests that "we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation" by the rebels. Rebels say that hundreds of people, including children, have been killed and Britain's foreign ministers says, if true, it marks a shocking escalation to the conflict.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
The Obama administration is deploring the military-backed interim government's use of violence against protesters, but it's not punishing the Egyptian military by cutting off aid.
Friday, August 16, 2013
President Obama is canceling joint military exercises with Egypt and condemning the violence that is taking place there. But the administration has stopped short of suspending aid to the Egyptian military. The U.S. faces a policy conundrum in Egypt, which has long played a key role in regional stability.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Egypt's military-backed government is facing widespread condemnation for its violent crackdown on Islamist protesters. U.S. and European diplomats had tried to push for a negotiated solution to Egypt's political crisis and had been urging all sides to exercise restraint. However, those efforts failed and diplomats are now scrambling to head off further violence.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Some aid workers are describing Syria as "the humanitarian crisis of this generation." United Nation's agencies are still struggling to get aid to rebel-held areas, and are seeking support in a divided U.N. Security Council.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
The U.S. secretaries of state and defense met their Russian counterparts for a day of talks in Washington on Friday. They hope to find common ground despite U.S.-Russian friction over the Edward Snowden asylum case.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
The U.S. has canceled plans for an Obama-Putin summit because Russia granted temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will go ahead with plans to meet their counterparts in Washington.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
President Obama has decided against a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September. The two leaders had tentatively planned to get together for talks in Moscow after they attend the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg. A key reason that Washington scuttled the summit was Putin's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. American authorities want him returned to the U.S. to stand trial. A White House statement acknowledged that the U.S. and Russia have made progress on some issues, but not so much on others. In a statement, President Obama said "given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, we have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda."
Monday, August 05, 2013
The State Department is keeping many of its embassies and consulates in the Muslim world closed this week "out of an abundance of caution." U.S. intelligence sources have been raising concerns about threats "emanating from the Arabian Peninsula." Britain and France are also concerned and have temporarily closed their embassies in Yemen. The U.S. list of closures is longer in part because the threats aren't specific enough, but the State Department is also far more cautious in the wake of last year attack in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others were killed.
Sunday, August 04, 2013
Russia has become a relations nightmare for the United States, and its offer of temporary asylum to the NSA leaker and fugitive is only the tip of the iceberg.
Friday, August 02, 2013
U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world will be closed on Sunday and possible for longer. The State Department says it is taking the step "out of an abundance of caution" and wouldn't say if they are receiving direct threats. Members of Congress say there are concerns about an al-Qaida-linked attack. Last year, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in Benghazi, along with three other Americans. At that time, there were also violent protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Tunisia.
Friday, August 02, 2013
President Obama is rethinking plans for a summit next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government has granted temporary asylum to a former NSA contractor wanted on felony charges in the U.S. The U.S. wanted Russia to expel Edward Snowden, but instead he was able to leave a Moscow airport transit zone where he had been holed up for more than month.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Israeli and Palestinian officials will begin formal peace talks in two weeks, with all issues on the table. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the negotiating plan after preparatory talks with Israeli and Palestinian envoys in Washington.
Monday, July 29, 2013
As Israeli and Palestinian officials head to Washington for their first face-to-face peace talks in more than three years, Secretary of State Kerry named a new special envoy for the peace talks: Martin Indyk, a veteran negotiator and former ambassador to Israel.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman shot by the Taliban last fall for advocating education for girls, made an appearance at the United Nations on her 16th birthday on Friday.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
As the Obama administration slow-walks a decision on whether to call the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a coup, which would lead to an aid cut off, U.S. officials are also in the awkward position of trying to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood to accept Morsi's ouster and return to the political process. President Obama has spoken by phone to the leader of Qatar, which had bankrolled the Morsi government. He's also been talking to Gulf leaders who were quick to step in to help Egypt after the Islamist government was toppled. The message to all is to back an inclusive and stable Egyptian system, though there are competing interests from regional players.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Edward Snowden continues to pose diplomatic and security problems for the U.S. He captured world attention when he exposed U.S. surveillance methods he witnessed while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the man who leaked secret U.S. documents about government surveillance programs is still in a Moscow airport transit lounge and is free to go wherever he wants. Putin is dismissing calls by the U.S. to send Edward Snowden home to face felony charges, saying Moscow had nothing to do with Snowden's travel plans. He also said Russia views Snowden as a human rights activist. Secretary of State John Kerry says he doesn't think there should be a confrontation with Russia over Snowden and says he's asking, not ordering, Russia to treat Snowden as a fugitive.