Entries in Senate Foreign Relations Committee (3)


Sen. John Kerry Has Preliminary Meeting with Pakistan Army Chief

ABC News(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., has warned that the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is currently at a “critical moment.”

Kerry, who is in Afghanistan, met with top U.S. and Afghan officials on Sunday and following those meetings the Massachusetts senator said that he has deep reservations about “whether or not Pakistan is committed to the same goals or are prepared to be a full partner in pursuing those goals.”

The relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. was hit by turbulence following the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs in Pakistan on May 1. Pakistan was not informed about the raid until it was completed, and some have questioned whether Pakistani officials knew that the world’s most wanted man was hiding out in the city of Abbottabad. Pakistani officials claim they were not aware that bin Laden was hiding out in the city, in a mansion located near a top Pakistan military academy.

On Sunday Kerry also met with the head of Pakistan’s army for approximately 30 minutes in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A senior Pakistani military official said that during the meeting Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told Senator Kerry about the “great resentment” the Pakistan army had with the raid in which bin Laden was killed. It is not clear exactly how Kerry responded to Kayani’s statements. U.S. officials were not immediately available to comment on how the meeting went.

Kerry, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is scheduled to have more extensive meetings with Kayani on Monday, with Pakistan’s president and prime minister also expected to be in attendance.

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio


Key Senate Republican: Declaration Of War Needed for Libyan No-Fly Zone

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday said if the Obama administration wants to implement a no-fly zone in Libya, it must first get Congress to declare war.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., also said if a no-fly zone is implemented, the Arab League should pay for its costs. 

“Given the costs of a no-fly zone, the risks that our involvement would escalate, the uncertain reception in the Arab street of any American intervention in an Arab country, the potential for civilian deaths, the unpredictability of the endgame, the strains on our military, and other factors, it is doubtful that U.S. interests would be served by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. If the Obama Administration is contemplating this step, however, it should begin by seeking a declaration of war against Libya that would allow for a full Congressional debate on the issue,” Lugar said in a statement Monday.

Lugar, who is fighting a tough re-election battle in the Hoosier State, differs with the Senate’s number-three Democrat, Chuck Schumer, on the issue of whether or not the White House should get Congress to declare war if the administration wants to implement a no-fly zone.

On Sunday Schumer, D-N.Y., said it is up to the president to decide.

“I believe on these we should defer to the commander in chief on short term, immediate situations like this,” Schumer said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

A number of senators have vociferously demanded a no-fly zone in Libya. On Monday, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, I-CT, introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for a no-fly zone to combat Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


With Sen. Scott Brown on Board, Momentum Building for START Treaty Passage

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supporters of the START nuclear pact with Russia Monday sounded confident that the treaty will receive the two-thirds majority needed for Senate passage when it comes up for a final vote this week.

“I believe we have the votes to pass this treaty,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry at a brief press conference on Capitol Hill. Kerry and the panel’s ranking Republican, Dick Lugar, made similar comments Sunday to ABC News.

That confidence appeared warranted Monday as momentum seemed to be building for the treaty. After a closed Senate session to discuss classified information relating to the pact, Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts told reporters that he would back the treaty.

“I believe it’s something that’s important for our country and it’s a good move forward to deal with our national security issues,” Brown said.

A procedural vote on ending debate on the treaty is set for Tuesday morning. The treaty will need 60 votes to make it past the procedural hurdle, but that appears to be a mere formality at this point. A final vote could then come later Tuesday or sometime on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, who underwent prostate cancer surgery on Monday, said the senator would do whatever possible to cast his vote on Capitol Hill if his vote is needed. If all 100 senators vote, the treaty would need 67 votes for ratification. If 99 senators vote, it would need 66.

Republican leaders Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Jon Kyl of Arizona have both announced their opposition to the pact.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio