Michele Kelemen http://ktep.org en Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy http://ktep.org/post/taunt-or-miscalculation-irans-provocative-pick-un-envoy Iran's reported decision to name Hamid Aboutalebi as its ambassador to the United Nations has ignited anger in the U.S. That's because the diplomat was part of the student group that held Americans hostage in 1979. Now, dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to deny him a visa.<p>It's the latest sign of just how difficult it will be for Washington and Tehran to overcome decades of mistrust.<p>By most accounts, Aboutalebi wasn't directly involved in the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Sat, 05 Apr 2014 09:45:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 38080 at http://ktep.org Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy Russia Cautions Against A Return Of Cold War Rhetoric http://ktep.org/post/russia-cautions-against-return-cold-war-rhetoric Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Ever since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO has been watching and waiting for Russia's next moves. This morning, NATO's military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said Russia has the forces it needs along Ukraine's border to carryout a full scale invasion of the eastern part of that country within a matter of days. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:38:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 37854 at http://ktep.org Kerry Weighs Wildcard In Mideast Talks: Freedom For Israeli Spy http://ktep.org/post/kerry-weighs-wildcard-mideast-talks-freedom-israeli-spy The U.S. might release a notorious Israeli spy in order to keep peace talks with the Palestinians going — but the idea faces backlash both in the U.S. and abroad. Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:25:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 37827 at http://ktep.org Ukraine Must Make Hard Choices To Fix Its Economy http://ktep.org/post/ukraine-must-make-hard-choices-fix-its-economy Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>Western countries are taking a two-fold approach to the Ukraine crisis: isolate Russia and help Ukraine overcome massive economic challenges. The International Monetary Fund has a bailout package in the works. It requires Ukraine to carry out difficult reforms. Ukraine has fallen short on such conditions in the past but the stakes are higher now.<p>NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.<p>MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: A former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer says Russia's annexation of Crimea shocked the West and made it more determined to push back. U.S. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 09:06:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 37547 at http://ktep.org U.S.-Saudi Relations Strain Over Syria And Iran http://ktep.org/post/us-saudi-relations-strain-over-syria-and-iran After visiting Rome, President Obama's next stop is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Friday. He will reassure Saudi officials that the U.S. is committed to security in the Gulf. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 09:05:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 37470 at http://ktep.org Tumult In Crimea Has Some Fearing A Cold War Redux http://ktep.org/post/tumult-crimea-has-some-fearing-cold-war-redux Russia's annexation of Crimea has troubled its relations with the U.S. As Russia and the U.S. begin to trade sanctions in retaliation, analysts wonder if this spells a renewal of Cold War rivalry. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:27:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36990 at http://ktep.org Russia Votes To Annex Crimea, As The West Looks On http://ktep.org/post/russia-votes-annex-crimea-west-looks Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Russia's President Vladimir Putin moved today to overturn recent history by reclaiming Crimea for Russia. Putin signed a treaty to annex Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and gave a rousing speech to parliament laying out his case. He is also blasted the West for trying to frighten him with sanctions.<p>The United States calls Putin's actions illegal. But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the U.S. Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36913 at http://ktep.org Yatsenyuk Appeals For International Aid For Ukraine http://ktep.org/post/yatsenyuk-appeals-international-aid-ukraine Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk takes his case to the United Nations on Thursday, as he tries to build support for his country in its territorial conflict with Russia. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 10:47:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36556 at http://ktep.org Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister To Visit White House http://ktep.org/post/ukraines-interim-prime-minister-visit-white-house Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.<p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And I'm Renee Montagne.<p>Ukraine's interim prime minister meets with President Obama today at the White House. That visit comes at a time when Ukraine's territorial integrity is under threat. The country's region of Crimea is expected to vote this weekend to secede and join Russia. U.S. efforts to resolve this diplomatically with Moscow have gone nowhere. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 09:10:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36472 at http://ktep.org Pending Russian Response, Kerry's Travel Plans Are Up In The Air http://ktep.org/post/pending-russian-response-kerrys-travel-plans-are-air Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>I'm Robert Siegel.<p>And we begin this hour with the latest on the standoff over Ukraine. Today, Russian forces seized the Ukrainian naval post, military hospital and a missile unit in Crimea. At the same time, Moscow accused Kiev of encouraging right-wing groups and creating lawlessness in eastern Ukraine. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36362 at http://ktep.org Kerry And Russian Diplomat Talk Crimea In Paris http://ktep.org/post/kerry-and-russian-diplomat-talk-crimea-paris Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Yesterday, he was in Ukraine. Today, it's Paris. Secretary of State John Kerry is logging a lot of miles these days, trying to find a diplomatic solution to the unfolding crisis in Crimea. In Paris, he met with Russia's foreign minister. Kerry said the discussions were substantive. Diplomatic sources tell NPR the results were inconclusive. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36058 at http://ktep.org Before Paris Stop, Kerry Talks To Protesters In Kiev http://ktep.org/post/paris-stop-kerry-talks-protesters-kiev Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>And I'm David Greene.<p>The stage is set today for what could be a very tense meeting in Paris between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.<p>WERTHEIMER: Kerry has been calling on Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine, and the U.S. is threatening sanctions if Russia does not pull back. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 10:05:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 36012 at http://ktep.org Kerry's In Kiev And He Comes Bearing Gifts — One Billion Of Them http://ktep.org/post/kerrys-kiev-and-he-comes-bearing-gifts-one-billion-them Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev Tuesday, offering $1 billion in American loan guarantees and promises of technical assistance to the new Ukrainian government. Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:37:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35989 at http://ktep.org Syria On Track To Become World's Largest Source Of Refugees http://ktep.org/post/syria-track-become-worlds-largest-source-refugees A photo from Syria is grabbing the world's attention: a sea of people lining up for food amid the rubble of a Palestinian refugee camp inside Syria.<p>Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia was so moved by the image, he took to the Senate floor, saying "a country of 23 million people, a proud country, is being transformed before our eyes to a land of rubble, skeletons, refugees and ghosts."<p>Syria was once a destination country for refugees. Now, it is fast becoming the world's biggest source of them. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 22:04:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35758 at http://ktep.org Syria On Track To Become World's Largest Source Of Refugees Secretary Of State Kerry Says Ukraine Is Not A 'Cold War Story' http://ktep.org/post/secretary-state-kerry-says-ukraine-not-cold-war-story Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/28/283878194/ousted-president-is-ready-to-fight-for-the-future-of-ukraine">emerged Friday</a> to give a news conference on Russian soil, not far from the Ukraine border. Russia is not only giving Yanukovych shelter — it's also <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/26/282872811/putin-flexes-moscows-military-muscles-puts-army-on-alert">carrying out military exercises</a> that have raised alarms in Washington.<p>The U.S. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 08:25:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35700 at http://ktep.org Secretary Of State Kerry Says Ukraine Is Not A 'Cold War Story' U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela http://ktep.org/post/us-has-little-leverage-stop-political-violence-venezuela The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 22:10:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35582 at http://ktep.org U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela Will Ukraine Do What It Takes To Unlock International Aid? http://ktep.org/post/west-eyes-new-leaders-same-money-issues-ukraine The United States, hoping to avert economic chaos in Ukraine, is prepared to send financial support to supplement aid from the International Monetary Fund, the White House said on Monday.<p>"The United States, working with partners around the world, stands ready to provide support for Ukraine as it takes the reforms it needs to, to get back to economic stability," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing.<p>After three months of street protests and the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, the U.S. Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:20:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35429 at http://ktep.org Will Ukraine Do What It Takes To Unlock International Aid? U.S., Allies Urge All Sides In Ukraine To Pull Back From Brink http://ktep.org/post/us-allies-urge-all-sides-ukraine-pull-back-brink Foreign ministers from France, Germany and Poland are traveling to Ukraine in hopes of persuading all sides in the country's recent violence to pull back from the brink and restart a political dialogue. The U.S. is also urging the country's president to calm the situation and restart a dialogue with the opposition. But the U.S. and Europe seem to have few levers of influence, as the crisis spins out of control.<p>U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before reporters in Paris Wednesday to restate his hope for a negotiated settlement to the political crisis in Ukraine. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:52:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 35126 at http://ktep.org U.S., Allies Urge All Sides In Ukraine To Pull Back From Brink More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees http://ktep.org/post/more-ambassador-posts-are-going-political-appointees The nominee to be U.S. ambassador to, say, Hungary should be able to explain what the U.S. strategic interests are in that country — right?<p>But Colleen Bell, a soap opera producer and President Obama's appointee to be U.S. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 00:07:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 34773 at http://ktep.org More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees Obama Administration Sharpens Its Language Toward Syria http://ktep.org/post/obama-administration-sharpens-its-language-toward-syria Secretary of State John Kerry has accused Bashar Assad's regime of using starvation as a weapon of war. Critics say the U.S. has not done enough to stop the violence, but Washington doesn't have many options. Sat, 08 Feb 2014 16:30:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 34434 at http://ktep.org Leaked Ukraine Phone Call Puts U.S. Credibility On The Line http://ktep.org/post/leaked-ukraine-phone-call-puts-us-credibility-line Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block.<p>An embarrassing moment today for the U.S. State Department. A recording surfaced on YouTube, purportedly of two senior U.S. diplomats talking about Ukraine. The timing was inconvenient. The assistant secretary of State for Europe is in Kiev to talk about how to resolve the political crisis there. And the contents of the recording were also embarrassing. Thu, 06 Feb 2014 22:55:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 34305 at http://ktep.org U.S. And Iran Tread Potholed Path From Rivalry To Negotiation http://ktep.org/post/us-and-iran-tread-potholed-path-rivalry-negotiation Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The U.S. and other major powers will hold talks with Iran later this month. The goal is turn an interim deal, limiting that nation's nuclear program, into a more lasting agreement. President Obama has asked that Congress give diplomats some room to maneuver and not pass any new sanctions bill. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 22:26:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 34148 at http://ktep.org Syrian Civil War Overwhelms Aid Groups http://ktep.org/post/syrian-civil-war-overwhelms-aid-groups Secretary of State John Kerry is attending a donors conference in Kuwait to try to raise money for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Millions of people have been forced from their homes and the U.N. has struggled to gain access to many parts of the country. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:20:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 32807 at http://ktep.org An American Diplomat In Paris — And A Russian One, Too http://ktep.org/post/american-diplomat-paris-and-russian-one-too Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>In just a week, the U.N. plans to hold Syrian peace talks in Switzerland. In the meantime, the U.S. is leaning hard on opposition leaders to attend and talk face-to-face with a government they've been fighting hard to topple. Mon, 13 Jan 2014 22:31:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 32707 at http://ktep.org Kerry: 'No Other Alternative' To Ending Violence In Syria http://ktep.org/post/kerry-no-other-alternative-ending-violence-syria Transcript <p>ARUN RATH, HOST: <p>It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.<p>The U.S. and other world powers have agreed on a plan with Iran to start rolling back parts of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Secretary of State John Kerry says the deal goes into effect later this month.<p>SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: As of that day, January 20th, for the first time in almost a decade, Iran's nuclear program will not be able to advance. Sun, 12 Jan 2014 21:57:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 32642 at http://ktep.org Despite Warning Signs, South Sudan's Violence Escalated Fast http://ktep.org/post/despite-warning-signs-south-sudans-violence-escalated-fast The United States played a key role in helping South Sudan gain independence. But, U.S. diplomats are having a hard time helping the country emerge from internal political and ethnic violence. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 32343 at http://ktep.org U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic http://ktep.org/post/power-laments-tyranny-mob-central-african-republic You don't have to venture far to see the misery caused by the latest crisis in the Central African Republic.<p>On the edge of the airport in the capital Bangui, tens of thousands of people are sleeping out in the open with no basic services. It's here that Samantha Power, the U.S. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 08:54:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 31285 at http://ktep.org U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power Goes To CAR To Appeal For Peace http://ktep.org/post/un-ambassador-samantha-power-goes-car-appeal-peace Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, made a rare visit to the Central African Republic today. Its government was toppled earlier this year, and Muslim and Christian militias are now locked in a brutal fight. Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:45:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 31258 at http://ktep.org U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic http://ktep.org/post/us-envoy-time-intervention-central-african-republic The Obama administration's ambassador to the U.N. says this is a pivotal moment for the Central African Republic and time for the international community to take steps to prevent further atrocities there.<p>Samantha Power, a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is well-known as an advocate for humanitarian intervention. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:16:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 31180 at http://ktep.org U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic Kerry Urges Lawmakers To Hold Off On Iran Sanctions http://ktep.org/post/kerry-urges-lawmakers-hold-iran-sanctions Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on lawmakers not to impose further sanctions in Iran as negotiations on reining in Tehran's nuclear program continue. Iranian officials have said new sanctions would kill off any hope of a final deal between Iran and world powers. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:56:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 30650 at http://ktep.org