Senate standoff stalls ambassadorship before state dinner
October 11th, 2011
04:07 PM ET
3 years ago

Senate standoff stalls ambassadorship before state dinner

(CNN) - State visits for foreign leaders are meant to signify the importance the U.S. president places on the relationship with a particular country.

Such is the case for South Korea, whose president, Lee Myung-bak, arrives in Washington later this week for a state visit. Lee's arrival comes on the heels of a free trade agreement with Seoul being sent last week to Congress for final approval.

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Filed under: Jobs • President Obama • Senate • South Korea • State Department
Hillary Clinton: The action hero
June 10th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
4 years ago

Hillary Clinton: The action hero

(CNN) - Powerful. Popular. Able to leap between campaign battles and diplomatic landmines in a single pantsuit.

The latest modern day comic book hero is none other than Hillary Clinton, who is being profiled in a new political comic, “Political Power: Hillary Clinton.”

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
U.S. to boycott global racism conference over anti-Semitic history
June 1st, 2011
09:15 PM ET
4 years ago

U.S. to boycott global racism conference over anti-Semitic history

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration is boycotting the 10-year commemoration of a global conference to combat racism because previous meetings have included what it called "ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism."

The first conference, which took place in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, focused in large measure on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Delegates produced a draft resolution at the conference that equated Zionism with racism.
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In Pakistan, Clinton addresses rift, pushes anti-terror efforts
May 28th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
4 years ago

In Pakistan, Clinton addresses rift, pushes anti-terror efforts

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had a frank discussion with the Pakistani president on Friday as part of a push to repair the relationship with Islamabad in the wake of a U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompanied Clinton for what one senior State Department official said beforehand would be a "sober" set of talks about the need for Pakistan to root out terrorists in its country.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Mike Mullen • Pakistan
The Sweep: Obama's do-over on the Middle East
May 18th, 2011
07:17 PM ET
4 years ago

The Sweep: Obama's do-over on the Middle East

Washington (CNN) - In many ways, the promises President Obama made in his 2009 speech to the Arab and Muslim world was doomed from the start. Obama might have sounded like an idealist, but he was thinking like a realist.

The White House billed the Cairo speech as "A New Beginning," and the president made tantalizing promises not only to show progress in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on encouraging democratic reform, and engaging authoritarian leaders hostile to the United States.

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Filed under: Middle East • President Obama
September 5th, 2010
01:05 PM ET
4 years ago

Clinton to make Middle East trip

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell will travel to the Middle East on September 14.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell will travel to the Middle East on September 14.

(CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to the Middle East on September 14 to participate in a second round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to a senior State Department official.

George Mitchell, the Obama administration's Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, will join Clinton on the trip.

Clinton will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt before traveling to Jerusalem to continue the peace talks.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Israel • Middle East • Palestinian Authority
August 10th, 2010
06:55 PM ET
4 years ago

U.S. urges 'Mideast Quartet' to help jump-start peace talks

Washington (CNN) - The United States is urging diplomacy by the Mideast Quartet to help push a speedy resumption of direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.

"We are consulting with the Quartet and looking to see how we can encourage the parties to begin direct negotiations," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

His comments come as Special U.S. Envoy George Mitchell held what Crowley called a "serious and positive" meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday in an effort to persuade Abbas to launch direct talks. Mitchell is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

The parties are taking part in "proximity talks," in which Mitchell has been shuttling between the sides with little substantial progress.

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Filed under: George Mitchell • Mahmoud Abbas • Middle East
July 1st, 2010
04:49 PM ET
4 years ago

Diplomats feel their way, blazing uneasy trail along digital highway

Editor's note: Since becoming State Department producer in 2000, Elise Labott has covered four secretaries of state and reported from more than 50 countries. Before joining CNN, she covered the United Nations. Follow her on Twitter at @eliselabottcnn

Washington (CNN)
– Sometimes foreign policy isn't best digested 140 characters at a time.

That's what a pair of young State Department officials found in Syria, where they were leading a trade delegation of Silicon Valley executives. Their bosses back in Washington were mortified when media blogs picked up the musings of Alec Ross and Jared Cohen on Twitter about which Syrian cafes serve the greatest frappuccino (Kalamoon University) and their challenge to the Syrian telecom minister for a cake-eating contest (called "Creative Diplomacy.")

Creative, indeed.

It was a mild, but unfortunate distraction from what was widely considered an otherwise productive mission. The delegation of senior executives, from tech heavyweights like Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Dell, met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other officials, as well as businessmen, civil society groups and academics battling their government's tight-fisted control on the internet. The visit illustrated both the opportunities and the landmines Hillary Clinton's State Department has to navigate as it logs into the digital age.

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Filed under: State Department
June 22nd, 2010
02:38 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton pledges to defend gay rights at home and abroad

Hillary Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians Tuesday.

Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians at home and abroad Tuesday, as the Obama administration moves to extend further benefits to gays working in the federal government.

"We are moving together in the right direction," said Clinton. "We reaffirm our commitment to protect the rights of all human beings."

Clinton drew several standing ovations from the standing-room-only crowd of several hundred during her address at an event co-hosted by the State Department's Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies. June has been recognized as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

Speaking about the linkages between gay rights and U.S. foreign policy, Clinton said she is asking embassies in Africa and elsewhere to report on rights of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The State Department is also placing more attention on ensuring gays around the world have access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and providing protection for LBGT refugees.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Same-sex marriage
May 15th, 2010
10:05 AM ET
5 years ago

Analysis: U.S.-Afghan relationship remains fragile

ALT TEXT

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was is in Washington Tuesday meeting with members of the Obama administration. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Editor's note: Since becoming State Department producer in 2000, Elise Labott has covered four secretaries of state and reported from more than 50 countries. Before joining CNN, she covered the United Nations. Follow her on Twitter at @eliselabottcnn

Washington (CNN) - On the surface, President Hamid Karzai's whirlwind visit to Washington was all about atmospherics.

The effusively warm words for the Afghan president - coupled with lunch at the White House, dinner at the vice president's residence and a reception at the State Department - were all meant to show that after months of tension between Karzai and President Obama over Karzai's anti-Western comments and U.S. complaints he wasn't doing enough to address corruption within his government, the United States and Afghanistan were back to being friends.

But the warm embrace of Karzai was also part of a campaign to assure him and his government that the United States will not abandon Afghanistan, even after it begins to withdraw its troops next summer.
For his part, Karzai sought to reverse the perception he was insensitive to the sacrifices of the U.S. military. He stopped at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded troops and paid tribute to fallen U.S. soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
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