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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U.S. to offer $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, officials say
March 4th, 2014
09:49 AM ET

U.S. to offer $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, officials say

The United States will provide Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees to help insulate the Ukrainian economy from the effects of reduced energy subsidies from Russia, senior Obama administration officials said.

The loan guarantees will help Ukraine move forward with an assistance package from the International Monetary Fund, which is calling for the country to raise energy prices.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who landed Tuesday in Kiev to show American support for the fledgling Ukrainian government, will announce this diplomatic move and others in Ukraine. FULL POST

Kerry raises idea of sanctions against Ukraine government
February 19th, 2014
09:27 AM ET

Kerry raises idea of sanctions against Ukraine government

A senior administration official told CNN that Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the specter of sanctions on the Ukrainian government in remarks in Paris within the next couple hours.

The official said Kerry will reiterate Vice President Joe Biden's message to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych that his government must protect its people and that Kiev can either choose dialogue and compromise or violence and mayhem.

The official said the U.S. is closely coordinating its response with allies and friends, including the very real potential of sanctions.

December 10th, 2013
03:13 PM ET

Kerry says Iran won't get nuclear weapons, urges diplomatic approach

By Tom Cohen

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress on Tuesday to put off more sanctions against Iran at this time, saying "this is a very delicate diplomatic moment" to seek a peaceful solution to the issue of preventing Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Kerry, appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sought to reassure lawmakers about the Obama administration's commitment to preventing a nuclear armed Iran, but underscored the importance of international diplomatic efforts that have so far produced a temporary agreement curbing its nuclear program.

"Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon," he said, stressing that declaration was the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's foreign policy.

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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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With Mideast peace in mind, Kerry coaxes Israel on Iran
December 5th, 2013
10:13 AM ET

With Mideast peace in mind, Kerry coaxes Israel on Iran

By Elise Labott

Jerusalem (CNN) - John Kerry’s ninth trip to Israel since becoming secretary of state could be among the most difficult.

He needs Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s buy-in for the two issues U.S. President Barack Obama has declared the centerpiece of his second term foreign policy – Iran and Middle East peace.

But at a time when the Israeli leader’s confidence in the United States is shaken over the Iran deal, his trust in the administration as broker of a peace deal with the Palestinians may waver.
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Tiny Moldova to get big boost from U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry departs Monday night for a trip to Belgium, Moldova, Israel and Ramallah
December 2nd, 2013
08:01 PM ET

Tiny Moldova to get big boost from U.S.

By Jill Dougherty

It’s a short stop – just four hours – on a trip that will take Secretary of State John Kerry to a NATO meeting in Belgium, to Israel and to Ramallah in the West Bank. But his visit to Chisinau, capital of Moldova, is significant.

The Eastern European nation, bordered on the east by Ukraine, stuck to its diplomatic guns late last month and, along with Georgia, signed a key economic and political agreement with the European Union.

That agreement, called the “Eastern Partnership,” is designed to forge closer E.U. ties with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

FULL POST

Kerry to brief Senate panel on Iran talks
November 11th, 2013
05:24 PM ET

Kerry to brief Senate panel on Iran talks

By Ted Barrett and Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Capitol Hill this week to testify on negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions as some members of Congress push harder for new sanctions with the latest round of talks failing to produce an agreement.

Kerry will meet with members of the Senate Banking Committee, a committee aide said. The session on Wednesday will be closed, a senior State Department official said.

Western sanctions have hit Iran's economy, slashing crude oil exports and triggering inflation. Some of the restrictions originated in the Banking Committee.

Senators from both parties have pushed for tougher sanctions to increase pressure on Iran even as the Geneva talks showed promise at last week. They broke up on Sunday with no deal, but negotiators plan to resume talks later this month.

"We were very, very close, actually, extremely close. I think we were separated by four or five different formulations of a particular concept. But none so terribly that I don't think it's possible to reach be able to reach agreement," Kerry told the BBC in an interview, according to a State Department transcript on Monday.
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Kerry ‘not blind’ to Rouhani's past
November 10th, 2013
11:29 AM ET

Kerry ‘not blind’ to Rouhani's past

By CNN's Jason Seher

America's top diplomat dismissed concerns Sunday that the Obama administration was not being skeptical enough while the U.S. negotiates with Iran over its continued enrichment of uranium, activity widely assumed to be supporting a nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State John Kerry emphatically told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that "we are not blind, and I don't think we're stupid" when it comes to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's past claims that he could game the Western world in brokered talks while his nation continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

Kerry's remarks came the morning after three days of intensive talks about Iran's nuclear program concluded early Sunday in Geneva, Switzerland, without an agreement. While the key players, including Kerry, insisted the process continues to move in the right direction, the talks raised fears among U.S. allies that Iran was presenting a disingenous front and has no real intention of slowing its march toward weaponizing its nuclear technology.

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Filed under: Hassan Rouhani • Iran • John Kerry
Kerry: U.S. ties with Egypt 'vital'
November 3rd, 2013
08:52 AM ET

Kerry: U.S. ties with Egypt 'vital'

By CNN Staff

U.S. ties with Egypt go deeper than aid, America's top diplomat said Sunday.

"Let me make it clear here today: President Obama and the American people support the people of Egypt," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

"We believe this is a vital relationship."

Kerry's visit marked the highest-level U.S. official trip to Egypt since former President Mohamed Morsy's ouster in July. It was also his first trip to the country since the U.S. suspended significant military aid to Egypt over the bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

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