Newly announced talks on ending the conflict in Syria will bring together representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the talks would convene on Jan. 22.
The Obama administration says one of the most important gains in the Iran nuclear deal is that it will buy time for negotiations on a more permanent agreement. If no such agreement is reached, sanctions that have been suspended could be re-imposed. But analysts say the obstacles to a final agreement are still huge, and it may not be easy to regain the leverage that sanctions have achieved so far.
Secretary of State John Kerry will have to work hard to allay concerns about the Iran deal, concerns from U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. And as Melissa just mentioned, the White House faces criticism from some in Congress. Kerry will need to convince senators not to impose additional sanctions on Iran so that negotiators can come up with a comprehensive deal over the next six months. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Kerry seems to be well positioned to take on the challenges.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. The nuclear accord reached over the weekend with Iran is, according to President Obama, an important first step. The new Iranian president calls it a definite achievement but to the Israeli prime minister it's a historic mistake. The six-month deal freezes important parts of Iran's nuclear problem. In exchange, Iran gets temporary relief from economic sanctions amounting to about $7 billion.
Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 12:56 pm
The Ukrainian government last week stunned many of its own citizens and much of the European Union when it announced it was suspending association talks with the bloc. The decision led to mass protests that continued Monday in which demonstrators clashed with riot police outside the government building. One protester was injured.
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings></xml><![endif]--> President Obama, speaking on Saturday night, said the interim deal on Iran's nuclear program is an important first step. The Obama administration is currently working on several major initiatives in the Middle East.
Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:49 am
The track record for Middle East diplomacy is pretty dismal, yet this is where President Obama is playing all his important diplomatic cards.
With the interim deal on Iran's nuclear program, the president is now engaged in his fifth major diplomatic initiative in five contiguous countries stretching from Afghanistan in the east to Israel in the west.
Many films have been made about Nelson Mandela. Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, and now Idris Elba have all tried to step into the icon's shoes. Host Michel Martin speaks to Sean Jacobs, founder of the blog Africa Is A Country, about which actor played him best.