Nuclear North Korea unacceptable, Kerry says
April 12th, 2013
07:13 AM ET

Nuclear North Korea unacceptable, Kerry says

[Updated at 9:23 a.m. ET] The United States will talk to North Korea, but only if the country gets serious about negotiating the end of its nuclear weapons program, Secretary of State John Kerry said after arriving Friday in Seoul for talks with U.S. ally South Korea.

"North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power," Kerry said.

His trip to South Korea - part of an Asian swing that also includes North Korean ally China - comes a day after a Pentagon intelligence assessment surfaced suggesting the country may have developed the ability to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at its foes.

Disclosed first by a congressman at a hearing Thursday and then confirmed to CNN by the Defense Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency assessment is the clearest acknowledgment yet by the United States about potential advances in North Korea's nuclear program.

March 2nd, 2013
08:29 AM ET

Kerry arrives in Egypt

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo at a critical stage as political divisions are preventing crucial economic reform.

In an intense 24-hours on the ground, Kerry has a packed schedule of meetings with Egypt's political and military leadership, business leaders and non-governmental organizations.

"It is very important to the new Egypt for there to be a firm economic foundation on which the new Egypt can operate. It will be important for the government to make an agreement with the [International Monetary Fund]," explains a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on Kerry's plane as he flew from Ankara, Turkey, to Cairo.

Egypt's ability to stabilize extends beyond its needs from the IMF, the official said. "It unlocks a lot of the other money that would come from the U.S., the EU, from the Arab states and also from private investment."

Necessary reforms include increasing tax revenue and reducing energy subsidies, U.S. officials say. But in order to carry out the kind of reforms required for getting IMF money, the official says, "there has to be a basic political agreement among all of the various players in Egypt."

The Obama administration has been stressing to President Mohamed Morsy the importance of political consensus. But not only does Morsy need to build consensus, administration officials say, the various political leadership in Egypt needs to participate, as well.

Kerry, the official says, will not call on the opposition to renounce their boycott of upcoming elections, but he will make clear "If they want to engage, if they want to ensure that their views are taken into account, the only way to do that is to participate."


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Filed under: Egypt
March 1st, 2013
06:30 AM ET

Kerry to address Turkish PM Zionism remark

A statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caught the attention of the U.S. State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to express his strong concerns on Friday about the Turkish prime minister's remarks equating Zionism with crimes against humanity, a senior State Department official said.

"Obviously we strongly disagree with that notion," the official said, calling the statement "offensive and wrong." He was referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks Wednesday at a forum in Vienna, Austria. This comes as the once-extensive cooperation between Turkey and Israel on trade and tourism and even military issues has broken down.

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Filed under: Israel • Turkey
February 28th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

U.S. giving $60M more to Syrian opposition

The United States will provide an additional $60 million in assistance to the Syrian opposition over the coming months, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday.

Kerry announced the aid after he met with Syria's national opposition coalition leader, Moaz Al-Khatib in Rome.

The funds will enable the opposition group to help local councils and communities in liberated areas expand the delivery of basic goods and essential services.

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Filed under: John Kerry • Syria
December 7th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

Rebels set their sights on Syria's capital

Emboldened rebels fighting to hasten the fall of Syria's regime set their sights on the capital, Damascus, as diplomats went into high gear amid concerns over chemical weapons.

"Our country will be free, we have no one but God," protesters rallying against President Bashar al-Assad chanted on Friday outside the capital in Douma. "The glad tidings are coming."

The war for control of Damascus is being waged in its suburbs, where rebel forces say the casualty count has increased in recent days. And so has talk of a turning point in Syria's 21-month civil war.

Attack not best way to stop Syria's chemical weapons, Clark says
This is a file photo of Clark, who headed all NATO forces from July 1997 to May 2000.
December 6th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Attack not best way to stop Syria's chemical weapons, Clark says

The best way to ensure Syria doesn’t use chemical weapons against rebels is not military action, but offering Syria’s president a way out of the country - and persuading him to take it - a former NATO supreme commander says.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark told "CNN Newsroom" on Thursday that concerned nations could attack Syrian military targets, but such a move wouldn’t immediately halt every chemical weapons threat.

"You could take out the airfields if (the weapons) are uploaded … but nothing is going to be 100% effective," Clark said. "The most effective preventive weapon is to use this as greater leverage against the Russians and Chinese to cut all support for Bashar Assad, get him out of the country, get him into some kind of asylum situation somewhere, and sort this out."


CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair
David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

Editor's note: Retired Gen. David Petraeus stepped down Friday as head of the Central Intelligence Agency - 14 months after taking the job, days after the presidential election and days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] Speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Rep. Peter King (R-New York) called Petraeus' resignation "a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

"We're going to lose the best man for the job, but again America is adaptable," said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Put it this way, anytime you lose a David Petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be."
[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The FBI investigated a tip that the woman Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with was Paula Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography about him, a U.S. official said.

Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for the book "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

CNN has not been been able to reach Broadwell for comment. It is not clear if Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus had admitting having an affair, leading to his resignation Friday as the head of the CIA.


Russia: Address concerns or we'll target missile shield
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks about NATO's planned missile shield from his residence in Gorki on Wednesday.
November 23rd, 2011
03:10 PM ET

Russia: Address concerns or we'll target missile shield

Russia may deploy missiles that it says could destroy NATO’s planned missile defense system in Europe - and withdraw from an arms control treaty with the United States - if Russia’s concerns about the shield aren’t addressed, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

Medvedev also announced that Russia will take a series of immediate steps that includes equipping new ballistic missiles “with advanced missile defense penetration systems” and drawing up plans to disable missile shield guidance systems.

“If (those immediate steps) prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe,” Medvedev said in a live address on Russian television. “One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad region.”

Russia also could pull out of the New START arms control agreement with the United States that Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a year and a half ago.

“Conditions for our withdrawal from the New START Treaty could also arise, and this option is enshrined in the treaty,” Medvedev said.

Although NATO has said that the shield will protect Europe from attacks from areas such as the Middle East and not from Russia, the Russian government is concerned that the shield is meant to undermine its nuclear deterrent.


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Filed under: Military • NATO • Russia
October 14th, 2011
02:07 AM ET

Clinton: U.S. must put economics at center of foreign policy

The United States must position itself to lead in a world "where security is shaped in boardrooms and on trading floors - as well as on battlefields," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will say Friday in a major economics and foreign policy speech in New York.

Economic forces, Clinton will say, are transforming foreign policy realities around the globe.

"We have seen governments toppled by economic crisis," a text of the Secretary's remarks released by the State Department on the eve of the speech reads. "Revolutions born in a Tunisian marketplace have swept across an entire region. Europe faces its strongest test in a generation, thanks to recession and debt. And everywhere I travel, I see countries gaining influence not because of the size of their armies, but because of the growth of their economies."

Clinton will say she is updating U.S. foreign policy priorities to include economics "every step of the way," suggesting the United States should take a cue from the leaders of emerging powers like India and Brazil who put economics at the center of their foreign policies.

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Filed under: Economy • Politics • U.S. • World
U.S. revokes Venezuelan ambassador's visa
December 29th, 2010
10:02 PM ET

U.S. revokes Venezuelan ambassador's visa

The U.S. government has taken "reciprocal action" against Venezuela's rejection of the U.S. ambassador to Caracas by revoking the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador to Washington, a State Department official said Wednesday.

"We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded (the agreement to accept the diplomatic credentials) regarding our (ambassadorial) nominee, Larry Palmer. We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday night.

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November 25th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

WikiLeaks threat sparks massive review of diplomatic documents

The threat of publication of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables by a muckraker website has prompted a massive review of documents at U.S. embassies around the world, a U.S. official says.

The official, who was not authorized to comment on the record, tells CNN that the State Department has, for months, been intensively dealing with the potential impact of the release of documents that WikiLeaks just recently

hinted it will publish. The documents are believed to include hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of diplomatic reporting cables from around the world from between 2006 and 2009, the official said.


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Filed under: WikiLeaks
August 10th, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Cost of Afghan conflict escalating, U.N. says

The human cost of the Afghan conflict is escalating, with killings and attacks on children by the Taliban and other insurgent groups soaring, the United Nations said in a report released Tuesday.

"Afghan children and women are increasingly bearing the brunt of this conflict," says Staffan de Mistura, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general. "They are being killed and injured in their homes and communities in greater numbers than ever before."

According to the United Nations' 2010 Mid-Year Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, in the first six months of this year, 55 percent more children were killed or wounded by the Taliban and other anti-government groups than in the same period in 2009. The number of women killed or wounded by the Taliban and other insurgents increased by six percent.


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Filed under: Security Brief
April 5th, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Gibbs: White House is 'frustrated' by Karzai remarks

The White House is "frustrated" by remarks from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who on Sunday promised tribal leaders he would hold back a NATO military offensive in violence-plagued Kandahar province until he had their backing, a spokesman said Monday.


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Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • World
March 16th, 2010
04:05 PM ET

Mitchell trip for Mideast talks delayed over Israeli delay

[Update 4 p.m.] Israel's delay in responding to a U.S. request to demonstrate its commitment to the peace process has contributed in part to a delay of proximity talks to be led by former Sen. George Mitchell, the Obama administration's special envoy to the Middle East.


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Filed under: Israel • U.S. • World