Michele Kelemen http://kbia.org en Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy http://kbia.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 50816 at http://kbia.org Taunt Or Miscalculation? Iran's Provocative Pick For U.N. Envoy Russia Cautions Against A Return Of Cold War Rhetoric http://kbia.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 50628 at http://kbia.org Russia Votes To Annex Crimea, As The West Looks On http://kbia.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 20:25:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 49823 at http://kbia.org Yatsenyuk Appeals For International Aid For Ukraine http://kbia.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 49535 at http://kbia.org Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister To Visit White House http://kbia.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 09:04:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 49465 at http://kbia.org Pending Russian Response, Kerry's Travel Plans Are Up In The Air http://kbia.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 20:13:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 49340 at http://kbia.org Kerry And Russian Diplomat Talk Crimea In Paris http://kbia.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 49122 at http://kbia.org Kerry's In Kiev And He Comes Bearing Gifts — One Billion Of Them http://kbia.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 49069 at http://kbia.org Syria On Track To Become World's Largest Source Of Refugees http://kbia.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 48917 at http://kbia.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://kbia.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 48876 at http://kbia.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://kbia.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 48801 at http://kbia.org U.S. Has Little Leverage To Stop Political Violence In Venezuela Will Ukraine Do What It Takes To Unlock International Aid? http://kbia.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 21:18:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 48649 at http://kbia.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://kbia.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 48422 at http://kbia.org U.S., Allies Urge All Sides In Ukraine To Pull Back From Brink More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees http://kbia.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. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 23:38:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 48145 at http://kbia.org More Ambassador Posts Are Going To Political Appointees Leaked Ukraine Phone Call Puts U.S. Credibility On The Line http://kbia.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 22:27:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 47778 at http://kbia.org Kerry: 'No Other Alternative' To Ending Violence In Syria http://kbia.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 46555 at http://kbia.org U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic http://kbia.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 45570 at http://kbia.org U.N. Ambassador Laments Misery In Central African Republic U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic http://kbia.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 45493 at http://kbia.org U.S. Envoy: Time For Intervention In Central African Republic Will Progress On Nuke Talks Mean More Engagement From Iran? http://kbia.org/post/will-progress-irans-nuclear-program-translate-more The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.<p>Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.<p>"Greater nuclear cooperation with Tehran could bring about greater regional cooperation with Iran," he says. Tue, 03 Dec 2013 22:11:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 44713 at http://kbia.org Will Progress On Nuke Talks Mean More Engagement From Iran? Kerry's New Mission: Convince Congress To Take Iran Deal http://kbia.org/post/kerrys-new-mission-convince-congress-take-iran-deal Secretary of State John Kerry is back in Washington to defend the proposed nuclear deal with Iran to skeptical members of Congress. He and his colleagues from other major powers failed to reach a deal with Iran during talks over the weekend in Geneva. Iran blames France's hard line for blowing up the deal, though Kerry has tried to downplay that. Tue, 12 Nov 2013 22:31:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 43672 at http://kbia.org DRC Rebels' Surrender Could Mark New Chapter In U.N. Peacekeeping http://kbia.org/post/drc-rebels-surrender-could-mark-new-chapter-un-peacekeeping There's been a rare bit of good news in Eastern Congo this month. One of the rebel groups that have terrorized civilians in the mineral rich part of the the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to end its rebellion. There's still a lot of work to do to disarm the M23 and to keep other rebel movements in check. But this small victory is a boost for U.N. peacekeepers, who are under a new, tougher mandate to protect civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some experts wonder if this could be a new model for peacekeeping. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 21:51:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 43594 at http://kbia.org Syria's Moderate Rebels Fight A Battle On Two Fronts http://kbia.org/post/syrias-moderate-rebels-fight-battle-two-fronts Like many Syrian exiles, Murhaf Jouejati, a professor at National Defense University, is frustrated by U.S. policy toward Syria. He says there's been only a trickle of U.S. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:17:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 43182 at http://kbia.org Syria's Moderate Rebels Fight A Battle On Two Fronts Saudi Act Of Protest Stuns U.N., And Some Observers http://kbia.org/post/saudi-act-protest-stuns-un-and-some-observers Known for quiet diplomacy, Saudi Arabia is taking an unusual and very public step to protest the international community's failure to resolve the crisis in Syria and other issues that interest Riyadh.<p>On Thursday, Saudi Arabia was elected to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. Sun, 20 Oct 2013 10:12:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 42397 at http://kbia.org Saudi Act Of Protest Stuns U.N., And Some Observers Experts Debate How Best To Remove Syria's Chemical Weapons http://kbia.org/post/experts-debate-how-best-remove-syrias-chemical-weapons Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.<p>Let's go deeper now into one issue Secretary of State John Kerry raised in my interview with him earlier in the program. The secretary, along with his Russian counterpart, got Syria's Bashar al-Assad to agree to hand over his vast store of chemical weapons. Now, Kerry is suggesting those stockpiles be taken out of Syria.<p>SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: We know the locations. Locations have been declared. Locations are being secured. Thu, 17 Oct 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 42247 at http://kbia.org Netanyahu Urges World To Keep Pressure On Iran http://kbia.org/post/netanyahu-urges-world-keep-pressure-iran A day after a meeting with President Obama, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes center stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. He will likely dwell on Iran's suspect nuclear program and warn the world community against being taken in by Tehran's recent charm offensive. Tue, 01 Oct 2013 08:41:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 41361 at http://kbia.org Iran, U.S. Can Manage Differences, Rouhani Tells U.N. http://kbia.org/post/iran-us-can-manage-differences-rouhani-tells-un Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama never did meet Iran's president Hasan Rouhani at the United Nations, as many expected. But Iran's new president gave a speech calling for results-oriented talks to clear up concern about what he called Iran's peaceful nuclear program. NPR's Michele Kelemen was there.<p>MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: President Rouhani skipped a U.N. luncheon where he might have encountered President Obama, but he did tell the U.N. Wed, 25 Sep 2013 09:23:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 41060 at http://kbia.org Will The U.S. Grant A Visa To Sudan's Indicted Leader? http://kbia.org/post/will-us-grant-visa-sudans-indicted-leader As the host of the United Nations, the U.S. is supposed to let everyone come to the annual U.N. General Assembly, not just the people it likes.<p>But this year, the proposition is being put to the test. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, was indicted three years ago by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges stemming from the mass killings in Sudan's western Darfur region.<p>Bashir has also applied for a visa to the U.N. meetings next week.<p>"Such a trip would be deplorable, cynical and hugely inappropriate," says Samantha Power, the U.S. Fri, 20 Sep 2013 18:25:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 40863 at http://kbia.org Will The U.S. Grant A Visa To Sudan's Indicted Leader? U.S.-Russia Deal: Syria Has A Week To Detail Chemical Arsenal http://kbia.org/post/us-russia-deal-syria-has-week-detail-chemical-arsenal Transcript <p>JACKI LYDEN, HOST: <p>It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.<p>The U.S. and Russia have agreed on a plan to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year. Secretary of State John Kerry calls it an ambitious timetable but says he's confident the international community can keep the pressure on Syria to comply. President Obama welcomed the agreement but says the U.S. remains prepared to act should the diplomatic route fail.<p>Coming up, we'll hear how Syria acquired its chemical weapons in the first place. Sat, 14 Sep 2013 21:47:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 40538 at http://kbia.org Obama Struggles To Find Effective Egypt Policy http://kbia.org/post/obama-struggles-find-effective-egypt-policy The Obama administration is in a difficult situation with its Egypt policy.<p>President Obama, who often talks about free speech and human rights, has cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt but has stopped short of cutting off aid to the Egyptian military. As the violence continues in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, all sides seem unhappy with the U.S. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 09:29:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 39009 at http://kbia.org Obama Struggles To Find Effective Egypt Policy Kerry, Hagel Aim To Ease U.S.-Russian Tensions http://kbia.org/post/kerry-hagel-aim-ease-us-russian-tensions Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with their Russian counterparts for talks in Washington on Friday, aiming to repair strained relations with Moscow.<p>President Obama snubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday when he called off plans to go to Moscow next month for a one-on-one summit. Sat, 10 Aug 2013 09:09:00 +0000 Michele Kelemen 38618 at http://kbia.org Kerry, Hagel Aim To Ease U.S.-Russian Tensions