By Jill Dougherty
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he will return to the Middle East later this month to try to push forward on the peace process.
In Rome Wednesday, Kerry met with Israeli Justice Minister Tsipi Livni and Itzhak Moho, Israel's negotiator with the Palestinians.
Conferring at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Italy, Kerry said he and his partners face a short time timespan. "We understand the imperative to try to have some sense of direction as rapidly as we can," he said.
By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Secretary of State John Kerry departed for Russia on Monday, as the conflict in Syria heads into a new and potentially more dangerous phase, and the Obama administration tries to pin down who used chemical weapons.
Carla Del Ponte, a member of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said Monday there are "strong suspicions... if not yet, let's say, indisputable proof" that sarin gas was used in Syria by opposition forces, rather than by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The U.N. commission later issued a statement saying it "has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict."
By Elise Labott reporting from Brussels
Secretary of State John Kerry brought together Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday to help soothe tensions between the two countries and try to breathe life into the reconciliation process with the Taliban.
Keeping expectations low for any immediate progress in the process, Kerry said all sides still have "homework" to do.
"We have agreed that results will tell the story, not statements at press conferences," Kerry told reporters in Brussels before returning to Washington. "We are not going to raise expectations or make any kind of promises that can't be delivered."
Kerry hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at Truman Hall, the secluded estate of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO outside Brussels.
By Elise Labott
Brussels, Belgium (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO members on Tuesday to prepare for the possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, while Russia's foreign minister accused the West of politicizing the search for such weapons, comparing it to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Though NATO has flatly ruled out military intervention, Kerry told foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, that "moving forward, we should consider NATO's role as it relates to the Syrian crisis."
In his first address to NATO since taking office in February, Kerry noted that ongoing contingency planning for Syria was "an appropriate undertaking for the alliance."
"We should also carefully and collectively consider how NATO is prepared to respond to protect its members from a Syrian threat, including any potential chemical weapons threat," Kerry said, according to prepared remarks.
By Elise Labott
The Obama administration is set to announce a significant expansion of nonlethal aid to the armed Syrian opposition as the European Union moves closer to lifting an arms embargo to potentially arm rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials told CNN.
Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to announce the new assistance package at an international meeting on Syria in Istanbul on Saturday, the officials said.
CNN first reported on April 9 that the administration was finalizing a package of increased assistance. The officials said the exact dollar amount and specific items to be shipped have not been finalized, and will be determined in Istanbul, where Kerry is to meet with other donors to Syria and leaders of the Syrian opposition. FULL POST
From CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott
Secretary of State John Kerry had a message for lawmakers he suggested were harping on the Obama administration’s response to the September 11 raid on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi: let’s move on.
“Let’s get this done with, folks,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in his first appearance before Congress since taking office. “"I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi."
Seven months after the attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Kerry faced sharp questions from Republican lawmakers over security at the Benghazi facility leading up to the attack and in the immediate aftermath.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California suggested the Obama administration lied to Congress about details related to the attack and is “attempting to stonewall progress” on a Congressional investigation by withholding requested documents.
Rep. Ed Royce, a Republican from California who is the chairman of the committee, took issue that officials who have been criticized for their handling of the issue remained on the State Department payroll, while Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, spoke about “false statements” about the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.
By Jethro Mullen and Melissa Gray
As North Koreans celebrated the birthday on Monday of their country's late founder, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the regime in Pyongyang to ditch its nuclear program and put a lid on its fiery threats if it wants to hold talks.
"The United States has made clear many times what the conditions are for our entering talks and they haven't changed," Kerry said during an interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty in Tokyo.
"The conditions have to be met where the North has to move towards denuclearization, indicate a seriousness in doing so by reducing these threats, stop the testing, and indicate it's actually prepared to negotiate," he said.
Kerry was speaking at the end of a three-day trip that focused on securing fresh commitments from South Korea, China and Japan to try to persuade Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table and renounce nuclear weapons.
By Pam Benson and Chris Lawrence
Despite the uproar over a disclosure this week of Pentagon intelligence concluding North Korea may be able to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, it's not the first time the Defense Intelligence Agency has suggested Pyongyang had that capability.
Since 2005, two former DIA chiefs have raised the possibility during congressional testimony.
At a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in April 2005, then-DIA director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby acknowledged the possibility in response to a question about whether North Korea had the capability to put a nuclear device on a missile.
"The assessment is that they have the capability to do that," Jacoby said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in South Korea on Friday for a trip likely to focus on North Korea's recent nuclear threats and provocations.
Kerry, who landed in Seoul, is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries. The Korean peninsula is rife with tensions over the belligerent threats issued by Pyongyang.
Shortly after his arrival, Kerry told reporters at a news conference with the South Korean foreign minister that the United States and South Korea agree that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power.
"The rhetoric that we are hearing is simply unacceptable,” Kerry said.
Kerry also said that the United States is prepared to enter into talks with North Korea, but only if the North is serious about negotiating the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
By Jill Dougherty
The Obama administration says China is increasingly frustrated by the provocative actions of North Korea and Secretary of State John Kerry will try to convince leaders in Beijing that Pyongyang is, as one senior administration official said, "putting China's own interests at risk."
Briefing reporters on Kerry's plane as he flew from London to the first stop on his four-day Asian tour, that official and a senior State Department official said the administration is urging China to use its leverage with the North "otherwise it is very destabilizing."