Entries in Secretary of State Kerry (3)


North Korea Lists Requirements Before Talks Can Occur

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- North Korea's top military body issued a list of conditions necessary before any talks will take place with the United States or South Korea.

Among the conditions are the lifting of United Nations sanctions, the calling off of war games scheduled to begin next week and removal of all U.S. nuclear weapons from the region.

The demands from North Korea come days after Secretary of State John Kerry said that no talks would be held until North Korea agreed to denuclearize.

"If they had a true will to have dialogue, they should have halted all acts of hurting the dignity of the DPRK," said a statement from North Korea's National Defense Commission.

South Korea offered conditions for discussions last week, but the North Korean government dismissed the offer as a "crafty trick," according to BBC News.

It remains unlikely that other side will succumb to the prerequisites set forth thus far. According to the New York Times, the White House's policy of "strategic patience" has allowed them to remain steadfast in their demands for North Korean denuclearization.

Tension in the region have been high as North Korea has threatened attacks on South Korea, Japan and the U.S. in recent weeks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Kerry Urges Iraqis to Stop Iranian Aid to Syria

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry made his first visit to Iraq on Sunday as America's top envoy in an effort to convince leaders there that they must stop Iran from using Iraqi airspace to transport military assistance to Syria.

Washington has been specific with Baghdad that such allowances should cease. Yet despite assurances from Iraq, the transfer of Iranian arms and fighters continues with Baghdad apparently looking the other way.

Kerry's message to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is that the over flights must end, or at least, Iranian cargo needs to be examined before it is allowed to continue to Syria.

The U.S. government isn't buying the excuse that Iranian planes are only carrying "humanitarian" aid to Damascus. Tehran remains one of President Bashar al-Assad's few allies in the region.

Kerry's unannounced trip was also intended as an appeal to the Shiite government to stop marginalizing the Sunni majority.

The Shiites now wield most of the power in Iraq with both Sunnis and Kurds accusing al-Maliki of cutting them out of important decisions to determine Iraq's progress forward.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Kerry Makes Friends, Explains American ‘Right to be Stupid’ on European Tour

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- Speaking in a town hall filled with German students at a stop on his first European Tour Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a well received and humorously blunt speech.

Kerry was reportedly “treated like a rock star” by the crowd. The former Massachusetts senator and Vietnam vet spoke about the U.S. ideals of freedom of speech, religion and expression. He even was asked a question about the Arab Spring and subsequent protests. But the laughs came when he told the students that Americans “have a right to be stupid.”

“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,” Kerry said, making the crowd laugh. ”The reason is that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid, if you want to be.”

Kerry called that right “a virtue” worth fighting for. He said he understood the frustration of young people in the Middle East and around the world who want the right to express themselves.

The new secretary of state’s comments delighted the crowd abroad but raised some eyebrows back home.

Kerry’s European tour started in London on Monday, and he spent Wednesday in France, where he showed off his foreign language skills and cracked a few more good natured jokes. U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin had introduced the secretary with a reference to personal history with the State Department, saying that Kerry had Foreign Service in his blood. Kerry joked to a chuckling audience that while the Foreign Service might be in his blood, he had “no intention of bleeding.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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