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Ukraine agreement built on fragile foundations

By Arshad Mohammed and Tom Miles WASHINGTON/GENEVA (Reuters) - The agreement designed to pull Ukraine back from the brink of civil war had been floundering around lunchtime on Thursday, so U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Sergei Lavrov, a smoker, stepped outside for a private word in the open air. They appear to have made some progress. When they came back inside, a new session of formal negotiations was hastily arranged and, finally, a deal agreed.

Kerry: more sanctions on Russia if it does not calm Ukraine tension

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday there would be additional sanctions on Russia if it did not act within days to calm tensions in Ukraine, where the West accuses Moscow of fomenting separatist unrest. "These next days will be very important to making judgments," Kerry told reporters. "If there is not progress over the course of these next days, and we don't see a movement in the right direction, then there will be additional sanctions, additional costs as a consequence."

Kerry condemns call for Jews to register in Ukrainian city

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that Jews in a city in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities, calling the idea intolerable. "Just in the last couple of days, notices were sent to Jews in one city indicating that they had to identify themselves as Jews ... or suffer the consequences," Kerry told reporters. "This is not just intolerable, it's grotesque." (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Kerry lands in Geneva for crunch Ukraine talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Geneva Wednesday for high-stake talks on the escalating crisis in Ukraine, which faces the threat of splitting up as the government loses control of the separatist east. Kerry is due to meet with his Russian, Ukrainian and EU counterparts on Thursday in a bid to defuse soaring tensions in the ex-Soviet satellite where pro-Russian militants that Kiev says are backed by Moscow have taken control of parts of the southeast. nr-mbx/arp

Veteran US diplomat Bill Burns retiring

One of America's longest serving, most experienced and highest-ranking diplomats, Deputy Secretary Bill Burns, who led secret talks with Iran in recent years, is to retire this year, officials said Friday. President Barack Obama praised Burns for his 32-year career saying he had "relied on him for candid advice and sensitive diplomatic missions. He has been a skilled advisor, consummate diplomat, and inspiration to generations of public servants."

Veteran US diplomat Bill Burns retiring

One of America's longest serving, most experienced and highest-ranking diplomats, Deputy Secretary Bill Burns, who led secret talks with Iran in recent years, is to retire this year, officials said Friday. President Barack Obama praised Burns for his 32-year career saying he had "relied on him for candid advice and sensitive diplomatic missions. He has been a skilled advisor, consummate diplomat, and inspiration to generations of public servants."

Kerry says will meet Russia's Lavrov next week

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov next week in Europe, amid sky-high tensions over the Kremlin's intervention in Ukraine. "We agree to meet soon in Europe next week," Kerry told US lawmakers a day after Washington said it wants to see four-way talks between the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union within the next 10 days to find a way to calm tensions in eastern Ukraine. mlm/jm

Russians sent to foment 'chaos' in east Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia was sending agents into eastern Ukraine to "create chaos" that the Kremlin could use as a pretext for more military intervention. "Everything that we've seen in the last 48 hours, from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they've been sent there determined to create chaos," Kerry told US lawmakers.

Russians sent to foment 'chaos' in east Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday that Russia was sending agents into eastern Ukraine to "create chaos" that the Kremlin could use as a pretext for more military intervention. "Everything that we've seen in the last 48 hours, from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they've been sent there determined to create chaos," Kerry told US lawmakers.

EU backs Kerry's Mideast push

European foreign ministers on Saturday said they fully supported efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to keep Middle East peace talks alive as tension mounted on both sides. "We support the efforts of Secretary of State Kerry," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said at the close of a two-day meeting in Athens. Kerry has laboured lately to bring Palestinians and Israelis back from the brink.
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