Diplomatic Notes: U.S. Troubled by Sentencing of Bahraini Activist

The Obama administration says it is “deeply troubled” by Thursday’s sentencing of Bahraini human rights advocate Nabeel Rajab and believes the judgment against him should be vacated. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says it is critical for all governments, including Bahrain, to respect freedoms of expression and assembly, saying Washington believes the “illegal gathering” case More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Clinton – Syria Far Harder to Resolve Than Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the international community is having a far harder time resolving the political unrest in Syria than it did in Libya largely because it lacks the consensus that facilitated NATO’s campaign against Moammar Gadhafi. “We do not yet have that,” she told youth leaders in Copenhagen. “We have very More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: US Says Resumption of Some Arms Sales Does Not Undermine Bahrain Reform Movement

The United States says resuming some arms sales to Bahrain does not undermine its commitment to or endanger those campaigning for political reform. Following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Obama administration notified U.S. lawmakers that it will upgrade turbo fan engines in the More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: One Year After, Clinton Shares Personal Thoughts on Bin Laden Raid

Hillary Clinton says combat in Iraq and Afghanistan helped hone the Seal Team Six assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound one year ago. Recounting that night, the Secretary of State recalls a Special Forces officer speaking with administration officials outside a small room under the White House. “This may sound really exotic and scary to More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Who's Responsible for Syria's Ceasefire Breakdown? Russia and US Disagree

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, speaks as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov looks on during a joint news conference (AP file photo).

Russia says Gulf nations arming opponents of Bashar al-Assad share the blame for continued fighting in Syria. The United States says it is Damascus that is failing to honor the Kofi Annan peace plan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says some of the so-called Friends of Syria are contributing to the violence by arming the More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Clinton Says Syria Ceasefire Does Not Change US Support for Assad Opponents, Sanctions

Given what she calls President Bashar al-Assad’s “record of broken promises,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is proceeding with caution as a partial ceasefire takes hold in Syria. Following a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Washington, Secretary Clinton met separately on Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying she is More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Freedom House Opposes Clinton Aid Waiver for Egypt

The U.S. civil society group Freedom House opposes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s $1.3 billion aid waiver for Egypt because it says military and economic assistance makes it harder for Washington to press for protections for local and international NGOs. The aid waiver was part of the diplomatic standoff sparked by raids on the Cairo More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Friends of Syria 2 Seek Clearer Opposition Vision of Post-Assad Rule

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Friends of Syria 2 Seek Clearer Opposition Vision of Post-Assad Rule

International supporters of Syria’s uprising say President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents need to present more clearly their plans for a new government in Damascus to win over civilians still skeptical of their goals. “They must come forward with a unified position, a vision if you will, of the kind of Syria that they are working to More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTE: Assad Motives Questioned as Damascus Agrees to Annan Peace Plan for Syria

Having secured President Bashar al-Assad’s agreement to a peace plan for Syria, U.N./Arab League envoy Kofi Annan says “implementation will be key” to ending the uprising and enacting political reforms in Damascus. The six-point plan calls for a U.N.-monitored ceasefire, access for humanitarian aid workers, and an inclusive, Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, multi-party More »

Should #Assad Accept #Annan Peace Plan for #Syria ?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should take the opportunity presented by Wednesday’s unanimous U.N. Security Council vote backing moves to end the violence and begin a democratic transition. “To President Assad and his regime, we say, along with the rest of the international community: Take this path. Commit to More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Washington Sees Libya Model for Syrian Opposition

VOA Correspondent Scott Stearns has one of the most coveted positions in Washington – covering the State Department and the complex yet intriguing realm of international diplomacy. Scott shares his observations about the Arab Spring and broader Middle East issues in his DIPLOMATIC NOTES blog. Click here for his February 2012 posts. The Obama administration More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Syrian Chemical Weapons Threaten Regional Stability, US Senators Say

VOA Correspondent Scott Stearns has one of the most coveted positions in Washington – covering the State Department and the complex yet intriguing realm of international diplomacy. Scott shares his observations about the Arab Spring and broader Middle East issues in his DIPLOMATIC NOTES blog. Click here for his February 2012 posts. Republican Senator Richard More »

DIPLOMATIC NOTES: Washington Faces Calls to Help Arm Syrian Uprising

VOA Correspondent Scott Stearns has one of the most coveted positions in Washington – covering the State Department and the complex yet intriguing realm of international diplomacy. Scott shares his observations about the Arab Spring and broader Middle East issues in his DIPLOMATIC NOTES blog.   The Obama administration is resisting calls to further militarize the More »

BREAKING / POLL: US Blocking Weapons Sales to #Bahrain Over Lack of Progress on Security Reforms

Washington is blocking $53 million in arms sales to Bahrain because of unfulfilled security sector reforms as clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters increase on the eve of the first anniversary of the uprising. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the Obama administration is concerned about security forces breaking up demonstrators trying to More »