March 30th, 2014
08:42 PM ET

Kerry: Russia supports finding a diplomatic solution to crisis in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday after four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Russia had reaffirmed its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution in Ukraine but had not agreed to move Russian troops from the Ukraine border.

"We both made suggestions as to how that will be achieved ... and I will return to Washington to consult with President Obama on his choices," Kerry said at a news conference in Paris. "We are trying to find a way to defuse this."

Kerry said Lavrov indicated Russia "wants to support" Ukraine in its move toward independence but said the massing of Russian troops has created "a climate of fear and intimidation."

"Is it smart at this moment in time to have that number of troops amassed on a border when you are sending a message that you want to de-escalate and move in the other direction?" Kerry said.

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March 30th, 2014
01:28 PM ET

Senate Intel chair: Crimea’s gone

Washington (CNN) - Some U.S. lawmakers are ready to say that it's futile to try to persuade Russia to give up control of Crimea.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday that the debate over the Crimean Peninsula is "done" and the region is now under Moscow's control.

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Kerry makes 11th-hour push on Ukraine
March 13th, 2014
09:21 PM ET

Kerry makes 11th-hour push on Ukraine

By Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have practically been joined at the hip in the past week or so.

The two met four times last week in Europe and have been in daily phone contact since. But they have failed to reach common ground on how to solve the crisis in Ukraine over Crimea.

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Ukraine impasse stirs U.S.-Russia tensions
March 11th, 2014
01:26 AM ET

Ukraine impasse stirs U.S.-Russia tensions

By Elise Labott

Tensions between the United States and Russia over the crisis in Crimea have exploded into an open row as Russia rejects U.S. diplomatic efforts to solve the impasse.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry postponed a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss American proposals, which Moscow has effectively rejected, on solving the crisis.

The meeting, which Russia said was supposed to happen Monday, would have marked the highest-level contact between the two countries since Russian troops took up positions in Crimea, and would have come ahead of Sunday's potentially explosive vote on whether Crimea should split from Ukraine and join Russia.

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Kerry: 'No way' al-Assad can be part of a transitional government in Syria
January 22nd, 2014
06:14 AM ET

Kerry: 'No way' al-Assad can be part of a transitional government in Syria

The aim is ambitious, but the expectations are low.

As top diplomats gathered in Switzerland for international talks aimed at ending Syria's protracted civil war, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the opposing sides in the conflict to seize the opportunity for peace.

"After nearly three painful years of conflict and suffering in Syria, today is a day of fragile but real hope," he said at the start of the conference in the Swiss town of Montreux.

But the obstacles to finding a solution to a conflict that threatens to destabilize the Middle East quickly became apparent at the conference, which was beset by squabbles before it even began.

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How Syria talks were derailed before they started
January 16th, 2014
01:06 PM ET

How Syria talks were derailed before they started

By Elise Labott

When Secretary of State John Kerry first took office he talked of changing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's calculus.

Assad "needs to know that he can't shoot his way out of this," Kerry said in March at a Rome meeting with members of the Syrian opposition.

When he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first conceived the idea of bringing the regime and the opposition together for peace talks in Geneva, they believed strengthened international support for both the political opposition and rebel forces would leave the Syrian leader ready to negotiate his own ouster.

U.S. policy since then has had the opposite effect.
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Kerry: US will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and US Secretary of State John Kerry deliver remarks to the media in the Treaty Room of the US State Department after their private meeting on Monday.
January 7th, 2014
05:46 PM ET

Kerry: US will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state

By Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byong-se gave the North Korean regime a tough warning Tuesday about any provocations.

After an hour-long meeting at the State Department, the two men made statements. They took no questions.

Kerry said they spent most of their meeting discussing North Korea and that the United States and South Korea remain “firmly unified, ” and there’s “not a shred of daylight between us” on North Korean missile activity. The United States supports President Park Geun-hye’s pragmatic approach to North Korea, he said.

Kerry called upon Pyongyang to start down the path of fulfilling its international obligations and called on them to denuclearize.
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Kerry to propose framework for Mideast peace deal
January 2nd, 2014
07:37 AM ET

Kerry to propose framework for Mideast peace deal

By Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry will propose a framework for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians when he travels to the region this week.

"During this trip, the secretary will discuss with both leaders the proposed framework for negotiations," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday.

Harf said Kerry's framework would be guidelines for permanent status negotiations and would address all core issues.

Other officials, who briefed reporters before Kerry's ninth trip to the region, spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could be candid about the sensitive peace talks.
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After Iran deal, Obama and Kerry pivot to Middle East peace
December 8th, 2013
12:23 AM ET

After Iran deal, Obama and Kerry pivot to Middle East peace

By CNN Political Unit

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made explicit the administration's renewed attempts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine Saturday as the United States begins to assume a more muscular role in talks.

At the Brookings Institution's annual Saban Forum on Middle East issues and U.S.-Israeli relations, Obama and Kerry each spoke about a budding interim deal that would work towards a two-state solution.

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Filed under: Israel • Obama • Palestine • Sec. State John Kerry
On Middle East visit, Kerry sees hope of progress for Iran, Israel
December 6th, 2013
08:44 AM ET

On Middle East visit, Kerry sees hope of progress for Iran, Israel

By Elise Labott

The United States and Israel are "absolutely in sync" about the need to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Talk of Iran's nuclear program took center stage in close to nine hours of talks Thursday and Friday between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry met with Netanyahu for the first time since the U.S. and five other world powers reached a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

His talks aimed to convince the Israeli leader to move beyond the "first step" deal and work on a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of Israel's concerns about Iran's program.

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