March 3rd, 2013
09:44 PM ET

Iran is open to direct talks with U.S., its UN ambassador says

By Adam Levine

Iran would be willing to sit down for direct talks with the United States, the country's ambassador to the United Nations said in an interview broadcast on CNN.

"I can confirm it here with you, and also for your distinguished audience, that Iran will come negotiation and direct talks with the United States provided that we make sure that U.S. is serious and do not act differently," Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in an interview that aired on Fareed Zakaria GPS.

Khazaee said Iranians felt that at last week's negotiation with the United States and other aligned nations, "both sides are getting closer to each other."

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Filed under: CNN Programs • Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iran • Middle East
U.S. releases $250 million in aid to Egypt
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy (R) and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed K. Amr in Cairo
March 3rd, 2013
03:00 PM ET

U.S. releases $250 million in aid to Egypt

By Jill Dougherty, reporting from Cairo

Calling it a "good-faith effort" to help the Egyptian people, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released $250 million in economic aid Sunday, with a pledge of more if President Mohamed Morsy implements economic and political reforms.

Kerry's announcement came after a series of weekend meetings in Cairo with a cross-section of Egyptians and a two-hour session with Morsy on Sunday.

"When Egypt takes the difficult steps to strengthen its economy and build political unity and justice, we will work with our Congress at home on additional support," Kerry said in a written statement on the talks. But right now, Kerry said, Egypt needs help.

"In light of Egypt's extreme needs" and assurances by Morsy that he will take the steps necessary to obtain a major loan package from the International Monetary Fund, Kerry said the United States would provide the first $190 million of $450 million in already-promised support funds to the Egyptian government budget.
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U.S. still uncertain of jihadist leader’s death
March 3rd, 2013
01:56 PM ET

U.S. still uncertain of jihadist leader’s death

By Barbara Starr

The Obama administration is still searching through incoming intelligence reports to look for specific evidence to confirm that jihadist Moktar Belmoktar was killed in a raid by Chad military on a jihadist base in northeastern Mali, a senior U.S. official tells CNN.

"We don't have enough evidence to support the claim" made by Chad, the official said. But he emphasized the U.S. is taking it seriously and "not dismissing it out of hand."

"We want to have a level of certainty about it before we say it’s true, and we are not there yet," the official said.

He emphasized the U.S. will be looking at the broadest range of intelligence information it can to try to verify Belmoktar's death. "We'll be looking at things you can't even think of," he said. FULL POST