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Diplomacy

Obama shows skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

Obama skeptical about Russian pledge in Ukraine
Julie Pace, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn't make good on its commitments.

Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions - for now

Deal reached to calm Ukraine - for now; Obama, Kerry say Russian follow-up action is urgent
Lara Jakes And John Heilprin, The Associated Press

GENEVA - In a surprise accord, Ukraine and Russia agreed Thursday on tentative steps to halt violence and calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold War-style military posturing triggered by Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Text of joint statement on Ukraine

Text of joint statement by US, Ukraine, Russia and European Union on situation in Ukraine
The Associated Press

GENEVA - Here is the joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and European Union after seven hours of talks Thursday in Geneva:

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The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.

Kerry: Steps embraced to ease tensions in Ukraine

Sec'y of State Kerry says US, EU, Russia, Ukraine agree to de-escalate violence in Ukraine
The Associated Press

GENEVA - Secretary of State John Kerry says diplomats from Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine have agreed on a series of steps aimed at de-escalating violence in strife-ridden Ukraine.

He said all of this "represents a good day's work." But Kerry also says "words on paper" will have little meaning if they are not followed by actions on all sides to calm the situation in the former Soviet republic.

US readies sanctions on Russia, aid for Ukraine

US readies sanctions on Russia, aid for Ukraine's military as it seeks to gain control in east
Julie Pace And Lara Jakes, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is preparing to ratchet up sanctions on Russia and boost assistance for the Ukrainian military in the coming days, U.S. officials said Wednesday, as Ukraine struggles to contain a pro-Russian uprising in its eastern cities.

Israel police disperse riot at Jerusalem holy site

Israeli police fire tear gas, disperse Palestinian rioters at Jerusalem holy site
Aron Heller, The Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Israeli police stormed a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday, firing tear gas to disperse a protest by Palestinian Muslim worshippers, officials said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the crowd hurled stones and firecrackers from atop the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Rosenfeld said police then entered the site and dispersed the group with tear gas and other non-lethal means.

Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

Security Council sees ghastly photographs of tortured and strangled Syrian civil war victims
Peter James Spielmann, The Associated Press

The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France's ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

Gunmen abduct Jordanian ambassador in Libya

Masked gunmen abduct Jordanian ambassador in Libyan capital
Esam Mohamed And Omar Akour, The Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya - Masked gunmen abducted the Jordanian ambassador in the Libyan capital early Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a wave of abductions in the North African nation still plagued by lawlessness more than two years after the ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Israel readies for Passover, marking Egypt exodus

Israel prepares for Passover, holiday that celebrates exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago
Ian Deitch, The Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Smoke wafted through the air in Jerusalem on Monday morning as Jews burned scraps of bread and added the final touches to weeks of meticulous preparations for Passover, the holiday in which the biblical story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from ancient Egypt is retold.

UN Security Council meets on Ukraine crisis

UN Security Council holds urgent meeting on violence in Ukraine; Russia objects to critics
Maria Sanminiatelli, The Associated Press

The U.N. Security Council met late Sunday in emergency session as violence escalated in eastern Ukraine, hours before a Monday morning deadline for pro-Russia protesters to lay down their arms or face Ukrainian troops.

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