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Kerry to pay first visits to Algeria and Morocco

US Secretary of State John Kerry will make long-delayed visits to Algeria and Morocco next week, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday, marking his first trips to both countries. The top US diplomat will first travel to Algiers for meetings with top Algerian officials ahead of similar talks in Morocco, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Kerry had originally planned to visit both countries late last year, but had to change his schedule at the last minute.

Kerry to pay first visits to Algeria and Morocco

US Secretary of State John Kerry will make long-delayed visits to Algeria and Morocco next week, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday, marking his first trips to both countries. The top US diplomat will on the April 1-5 trip travel to Algiers for meetings with top Algerian officials ahead of similar talks in Morocco. He had originally planned to visit both countries late last year, but had to change his schedule at the last minute. jkb/bpz

Kerry to meet Palestinian leader Abbas in Amman Wednesday

US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Amman Wednesday, interrupting a visit to Italy to meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as a deadline looms for reaching a peace deal with Israel. Kerry's surprise trip aims "to continue to narrow the gaps between the parties", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, a tacit acknowledgement of the difficulties bogging down the negotiations. The US diplomatic chief would also be in touch with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "over the phone or by video conference", she added.

Kerry protested Israel minister's criticism

In a rare move, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday protested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about strong criticism of US foreign policy by his outspoken defense minister. In a telephone call, Kerry told Netanyahu the comments made by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon are inconsistent with reality, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "Clearly his comments were not constructive," Psaki told reporters, after Yaalon slammed the US administration for showing weakness around the world.

Kerry likens Crimea 'fervor' to WWII build-up

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia Tuesday against any military incursion into eastern Ukraine and likened the "nationalistic fervor" fueled by the Crimea crisis to the build-up before World War II. Any moves by Russia to march into eastern Ukraine "would be as egregious as any step that I can think of that would be taken by a country in today's world, particularly by a country like Russia, where so much is at stake," Kerry said.

Any Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine 'egregious'

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday warned Russia against any military incursion into eastern Ukraine, and likened the "nationalistic fervor" fuelled by the Crimea crisis to the build-up before World War II. Any moves by Russia to march into eastern Ukraine "would be as egregious as any step that I can think of that would be taken by a country in today's world, particularly by a country like Russia where so much is at stake," Kerry.

Kerry urges Ukraine reforms, Russia pullback

US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Moscow Sunday to pull back Russian forces to their bases in Crimea in return for constitutional reforms in Ukraine to protect minority rights, a US official said. "The secretary made clear that this crisis can only be resolved politically and that as Ukrainians take the necessary political measures going forward, Russia must reciprocate by pulling forces back to base, and addressing the tensions and concerns about military engagement," the senior State Department official said.

Kerry urges Ukraine reforms, Russia pullback

US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Moscow Sunday to pull back Russian forces to their bases in Crimea in return for constitutional reforms in Ukraine to protect minority rights, a US official said. Kerry's overture, in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, came as residents of Crimea were voting on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Kerry warns Russia of greater response if Ukraine tensions rise

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there would be an even greater response if Russia further increased tensions in Ukraine and threatened its people. After holding six hours of "direct and candid" talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in London, Kerry said the U.S. and international community would not recognize the outcome of the referendum in Crimea on Sunday. He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not prepared to make any decision on Crimea until after the vote.

Kerry in London for last-ditch Ukraine talks

Top US diplomat John Kerry arrived in London on Friday on an 11th-hour mission to head off a possible Russian annexation of Crimea on the heels of a breakaway vote by the Ukrainian region. With the clock ticking down to Crimea's referendum on Sunday, Kerry was to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seeking to put the brakes on any moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin to swiftly annex the peninsula.
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