Kerry tries to make U.S. amends in Paris

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid his respects Friday to the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris in a show of American solidarity with the French people. On a day tinged with sorrow and a city still on edge in the aftermath of the violence, Kerry met with French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before visiting the sites of the attacks, offering silent prayers and laying wreaths to honor the dead under heavy security. Underscoring heightened fears, police evacuated a major train station in the city after a bomb threat as Kerry’s motorcade sped
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Kerry says aid to Kurds is necessary, moral

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the Obama administration decided to airdrop weapons and ammunitions to “valiant” Kurds fighting Islamic State extremists in the Syrian border town of Kobani because it would be “irresponsible” and “morally very difficult” not to support them. Speaking in the Indonesian capital, Kerry told reporters that the administration understood ally Turkey’s concerns about supplying the Kurds, who are linked to a Kurdish group that Ankara fiercely opposes. But, he said the situation is such in the besieged town of Kobani that the resupplies were deemed absolutely necessary in a “crisis moment.” “Let me
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Kerry facing the task to keep Iran from gaining nukes

With a late-November deadline approaching, America’s top diplomat is plunging back into Iranian nuclear talks with one eye on his adversary and the other on developments at home, as pressure rises in Washington for a deal ensuring the Islamic republic cannot become a nuclear state. The prospect of a Republican takeover of the Senate means Secretary of State John Kerry will be on a tight leash. Kerry, European Union negotiator Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will gather in Vienna next week, diplomats say. Another negotiating round is expected shortly after to include Britain, China, France, Germany
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Still looking for coalition to fight Islamic extremists

The White House said Sunday it will find countries willing to send combat troops to fight Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, but it’s too early to identify them. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough signaled that the State Department in coming days will name allies that will pledge ground troops to fight the Islamic State group, something the United States does not plan to do. Meantime, McDonough said, U.S. personnel will train and equip Iraqi forces and moderate Syrian rebels to combat the extremist group, also known as ISIS and ISIL. President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the
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Kerry urges calmness in Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is urging the people of Iraq to remain calm as the country faces a political crisis while battling advances by Islamic State militants. Speaking in Australia on Monday, Kerry said there should be no use of force by political factions as Iraq struggles form a government. He says the people of Iraq have made clear their desire for change and that the country’s new president is acting appropriately despite claims of malfeasance by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is resisting calls to step down and says he’ll file a complaint against the president for
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Kerry heads back in Mideast to push for cease-fire

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is making a renewed push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas with another trip to the Middle East after the civilian death toll in the conflict sharply escalated over the weekend. Kerry left Washington early Monday for Cairo, where he will join diplomatic efforts to resume a truce that had been agreed to in November 2012. He will urge the militant Palestinian group to accept a cease-fire agreement offered by Egypt that would halt nearly two weeks of fighting. More than 500 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed in that time. The
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Kerry in Iraq in hopes of staving off civil war

Confronting the threat of civil war in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Baghdad on Monday to personally urge the Shiite-led government to give more power to political opponents before a Sunni insurgency seizes more control across the country and sweeps away hopes for lasting peace. The meeting scheduled between Kerry and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was not expected to be friendly, given that officials in Washington have floated suggestions that the Iraqi premier should resign as a necessary first step toward quelling the vicious uprising. Nor will it likely bring any immediate, tangible results, as
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Kerry: Iraq insurgency threatens entire Mideast

Arab countries should resist funding Sunni fighters in what is turning into a cross-border war between Iraq and Syria because that support eventually could help the fast-spreading insurgency in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday. Kerry said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has become a threat to the entire Mideast, and perhaps beyond. “This is a critical moment,” Kerry said after meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. He said the group is a “threat not only to Iraq, but to the entire region.” The U.S. is looking for ways to work with Mideast nations,
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A new $5 billion anti-terrorism fund

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the United States is setting up a $5 billion “terrorism partnership fund” to help other countries push back against radical extremists. Appearing on a host of network morning-show interviews, Kerry staunchly defended President Barack Obama’s decision to terminate the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan by the end of the year. Referring in an NBC “Today” show interview to a speech Obama was set to give later Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy,Kerry said Obama is telling the Afghans “by a specific time they have to take over management of their own security and
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Kerry to Snowden: ‘Man up and come home’

Secretary of State John Kerry says National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden “should man up and come back to the United States.” Kerry was asked about Snowden in a nationally broadcast interview Wednesday in the wake of Snowden’s interview earlier with NBC News. In that session, Snowden said he never intended to end up Russia, but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.” Asked about this on NBC “Today” show Wednesday, Kerry replied, “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer.” Kerry said, quote, “If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to
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