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senators warn tillerson diplomatic power is being dismantled


washington — two senators are warning secretary of state rex tillerson that u.s. diplomatic power is being dismantled on his watch and they're urging him to reverse course before america's leadership role in the world is degraded.in a letter sent wednesday to tillerson, sens. john mccain of arizona and jeanne shaheen of new hampshire say a hiring freeze in effect since january has almost halted the influx of new foreign service officers. they say shutting off the intake of entry-level officers will inevitably lead to shortages of experienced personnel in the future.the senators say promotion rates for senior foreign service officers have decreased dramatically over the last year.mccain is a republican and shaheen is a democrat.tillerson is overseeing an overhaul of the state department's u






following senators' call for shutdown of havana embassy, tillerson says it's bei


the trump administration is considering closing down the u.s. embassy in cuba after nearly two dozen american diplomatic staffers or family members suffered health effects that were blamed on suspected sonic attacks, secretary of state rex tillerson said sunday.“we have it under evaluation,” tillerson said in an interview aired on cbs’ “face the nation,” when asked about calls by some gop lawmakers to shutter the embassy in havana. “it’s under review.”an embassy shutdown would mark an abrupt reversal of the warming ties between the two nations since diplomatic relations were restored in 2015. president trump has criticized the diplomatic opening, but he has not moved to break ties again.tillerson called the health problems stemming from the apparent sonic attacks “a very serious issue with






senators criticize tillerson over afghanistan policy


kabul—u.s. senators visiting kabul on tuesday including republican john mccain criticized secretary of state rex tillerson’s handling of policy in the country, saying his lack of a strategy could undermine an anticipated u.s. troop surge and that the foreign service there was woefully understaffed.last month, president donald trump gave the pentagon unilateral authority to send thousands more american troops to afghanistan at its...






trump warned by senators not to hand putin villas back


u.s. senators have warned president donald trump not to restore russian access to luxury diplomatic properties in his first meeting with his russian counterpart vladimir putin, fearing it would send a message of weakness to the kremlin. two russian diplomatic compounds in new york and maryland are currently under sanctions introduced by trump’s predecessor, barack obama,…






senators urge tillerson to meet with activists in russia


u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson should meet with “democratically-minded” activists in russia as well as government officials during his visit there later this month, two senators urged him in a letter released on wednesday.tillerson is due to visit russia for talks expected to touch on the nation’s annexation of crimea, its deployment of a land-based cruise missile and its role in syria’s civil war.while there, he should also meet with civil society activists, democratic senator jeanne shaheen and republican senator marco rubio said in the letter. the senators sit on the subcommittee that oversees the state department budget.“we feel strongly that democratically-minded russians should know that the u.s. supports their aspirations, and as our nation’s top diplomat, you are in a unique






secretary of state tillerson will visit russia but skip nato meeting


secretary of state rex tillerson’s decision to skip a nato meeting in europe next month and later travel to russia has raised fresh questions about the trump administration’s foreign policy priorities.state department officials said tuesday that tillerson will not attend a north atlantic treaty organization meeting of foreign ministers in brussels on april 5-6 so that he could take part in president trump’s summit with chinese president xi jinping in palm beach, fla., on april 6-7.partly to help make diplomatic preparations for xi’s first meeting with trump, tillerson met the chinese leader in beijing last week on the final leg of a trip that also took him to seoul and tokyo.tillerson’s media advisor r.c. hammond said on twitter that tillerson would see most of the nato foreign ministers i






senators in afghanistan decry lack of strategy


kabul, afghanistan – a delegation of u.s. senators visiting afghanistan issued a stark warning on tuesday to president donald trump to fill vacant embassy and state department positions here in order to better address the country's mounting military and political crises.led by sen. john mccain, r-ariz., the u.s. delegation in kabul voiced what has been a concern for months now in the absence of a permanent u.s. ambassador. the civilian diplomatic mission here has been led by a chargé d'affaires, hugo llorens, who was called in from imminent retirement to help as a stopgap during a time when the afghan government has faced political storms."all of us realize that it's more than just dropping bombs that will win in afghanistan," sen. lindsey graham, r-s.c., said. "secretary tillerson needs t






u.s. warns of heavy casualties in event of korean fight


washington—the trump administration said it is launching an urgent push, combining diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action in a bid to halt north korea’s advancing nuclear-weapons program. secretary of state rex tillerson, one of those who briefed senators at a classified briefing hosted by the white house on wednesday, also plans to host a special meeting of the united nations security council on friday, where he will...






tillerson in s korea to find 'new approach' on n korea | north korea news


the us secretary of state has arrived in south korea with the aim of finding a "new approach" for relations with north korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearise the reclusive state.rex tillerson on friday visited the demilitarised zone (dmz), which divides the two koreas in line with an armistice agreement signed in 1953, to gaze on the north for himself.tillerson, a former oil executive with no prior diplomatic experience, began his first asian visit as secretary of state in japan on wednesday. he will travel to china from south korea on saturday.he landed at osan airbase in south korea from japan and transferred to a blackhawk helicopter for his trip to the dmz, where he met the commander of the 28,000 us troops stationed in the south to defend the co






tillerson in s korea to find 'new approach' on n korea | north korea news


us secretary of state rex tillerson has arrived in south korea with the aim of finding a "new approach" for relations with north korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearise the reclusive state.the top us diplomat on friday visited the demilitarised zone (dmz), which divides the two koreas in line with an armistice agreement signed in 1953, to gaze on the north for himself.tillerson, a former oil executive with no prior diplomatic experience, began his first asian visit as secretary of state in japan on wednesday and will travel to china from south korea on saturday.he landed at osan airbase in south korea from japan and transferred to a blackhawk helicopter for his trip to the dmz, where he met the commander of the 28,000 us troops stationed in the south






tillerson meets asean ministers to seek support on north korea


u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson met southeast asian foreign ministers on thursday to seek their support in pressing north korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.tillerson’s first meeting with all members of the 10-nation association of southeast asian nations will also address another pressing regional issue – china’s assertive pursuit of territory in the south china sea, where several asean members have competing claims.tillerson told reporters at the start of the washington meeting that he and his counterparts would discuss north korea.last week in the u.n. security council, tillerson called on all u.n. members to fully implement u.n. sanctions on pyongyang, which has ignored demands to abandon its weapons programs and is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capab






tillerson vows to stay amid tensions with trump


by anne gearan and caroil morello | washington postwashington – secretary of state rex tillerson insisted wednesday that he is not planning to quit, rebutting weeks of reports of policy disputes and personal clashes with the white house.“i have never considered leaving this post,” tillerson said at an extraordinary and hastily called news conference at the state department.tillerson did not directly respond to an nbc news report earlier wednesday that he had referred to president trump as a “moron.”“i’m not going to deal with petty points like that,” tillerson said, adding that he does not understand what he called a washington impulse to “sow dissension” and undermine the administration’s work.he called trump “smart” and committed to american security and the accountability of those aroun






tillerson faces strong pushback on diplomatic budget cuts


washington (ap) — secretary of state rex tillerson faced harsh bipartisan criticism on tuesday as he tried to defend the trump administration’s proposed slashing of america’s diplomatic and foreign aid budget.testifying before two senate committees, tillerson faced tough questions about the administration’s proposal to cut funding for the state department and u.s. agency for international development by more than 31 percent in the fiscal year beginning in october.the chairman and ranking members of both committees said the budget is a non-starter and represents an abdication of american leadership. the proposal would cut the diplomatic and development budget from $54.9 billion to $37.6 billion.the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, bob corker, r-tenn., said he told his sta






us senate confirms rex tillerson as secretary of state


the us senate has confirmed rex tillerson as president donald trump's secretary of state, filling a key spot on the republican's national security team despite concerns about the former exxon mobil corp chief executive officer's ties to russia.in the vote on wednesday, 56 senators backed tillerson, and 43 voted no.the tally was largely along party lines, with every republican favouring tillerson, along with four members of the democratic caucus: senators heidi heitkamp, joe manchin and mark warner as well as angus king, an independent.democratic senator chris coons did not vote. interactive: trump's cabinet picks - who's who? senate democrats had tried, but failed, to delay the vote because of trump's executive order banning immigration from seven mostly muslim countries and temporarily ha






rex tillerson faces tough talks in moscow amid increased tensions


u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson’s visit to moscow this week will be an early test of whether the trump administration can use any momentum generated by a missile attack on a syrian air base to craft and execute a strategy to end the syrian war.even before trump ordered last week’s strike in retaliation for a nerve gas attack, tillerson’s visit was certain to be dominated by thorny issues, including russian interference in the 2016 u.s. election, an apparent violation of an important arms control treaty, and seeing what cooperation, if any, is possible in the fight against islamic state.now, tillerson, a former oil executive with no diplomatic experience, is charged with avoiding a major u.s. confrontation with russia while exacting some concessions from moscow. those include getting






as tillerson calls for calm, trump calls out qatar on terror


washington — president donald trump is ramping up pressure on qatar to stop what he calls a "high level" of financial support of terrorism, even as secretary of state rex tillerson tries to calm the worst diplomatic crisis in the persian gulf in years.trump's demand that there be "no more funding" by qatar for extremists groups contradicted the message delivered friday by tillerson, who had urged qatar's neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for "calm and thoughtful dialogue." only an hour later, tillerson sat in the front row in the rose garden as trump enthusiastically embraced the move by saudi arabia, egypt and others to punish qatar."the nation of qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level," trump said, echoing an allegation the sau






as tillerson calls for calm, trump calls out qatar on terror


washington — president donald trump is ramping up pressure on qatar to stop what he calls a "high level" of financial support of terrorism, even as secretary of state rex tillerson tries to calm the worst diplomatic crisis in the persian gulf in years.trump's demand that there be "no more funding" by qatar for extremists groups contradicted the message delivered friday by tillerson, who had urged qatar's neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for "calm and thoughtful dialogue." only an hour later, tillerson sat in the front row in the rose garden as trump enthusiastically embraced the move by saudi arabia, egypt and others to punish qatar."the nation of qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level," trump said, echoing an allegation the sau






us senate confirms former exxon ceo as secretary of state


the u.s. senate confirmed rex tillerson as president donald trump’s secretary of state on wednesday, filling a key spot on the republican’s national security team despite concerns about the former exxon mobil corp  chief executive officer’s ties to russia.in the vote, 56 senators backed tillerson, and 43 voted no. the tally was largely along party lines, with every republican favoring tillerson, along with four members of the democratic caucus, senators heidi heitkamp, joe manchin and mark warner as well as angus king, an independent.democratic senator chris coons did not vote.senate democrats had tried, but failed, to delay the vote because of trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven mostly muslim countries and temporarily halting the entry of refugees.they said they wanted






trump says he's smarter than tillerson; ready to compare iqs


washington — president donald trump suggested he's smarter than secretary of state rex tillerson, saying in an interview published tuesday that if tillerson did call him a moron, as reported, the two should "compare iq tests.""and i can tell you who is going to win," trump said to forbes magazine.trump's tense relationship with tillerson burst into public view last week. an nbc news story claimed vice president mike pence had to talk tillerson out of resigning this summer, and that tillerson had called trump a "moron."tillerson said he never considered resigning, though he didn't directly address the reported insult. his spokeswoman later said he never used such language.trump and tillerson are scheduled to have lunch tuesday at the white house with defense secretary jim mattis.trump has a






as tillerson calls for calm, trump calls out qatar on terror


washington (ap) — president donald trump is ramping up pressure on qatar to stop what he calls a “high level” of financial support of terrorism, even as secretary of state rex tillerson tries to calm the worst diplomatic crisis in the persian gulf in years.trump’s demand that there be “no more funding” by qatar for extremists groups contradicted the message delivered friday by tillerson, who had urged qatar’s neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for “calm and thoughtful dialogue.” only an hour later, tillerson sat in the front row in the rose garden as trump enthusiastically embraced the move by saudi arabia, egypt and others to punish qatar.“the nation of qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” trump said, echoing an allegation th






as tillerson calls for calm, trump calls out qatar on terror


washington (ap) — president donald trump is ramping up pressure on qatar to stop what he calls a “high level” of financial support of terrorism, even as secretary of state rex tillerson tries to calm the worst diplomatic crisis in the persian gulf in years.trump’s demand that there be “no more funding” by qatar for extremists groups contradicted the message delivered friday by tillerson, who had urged qatar’s neighbors to ease their blockade while calling for “calm and thoughtful dialogue.” only an hour later, tillerson sat in the front row in the rose garden as trump enthusiastically embraced the move by saudi arabia, egypt and others to punish qatar.“the nation of qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” trump said, echoing an allegation th






secretary of state tillerson talks tough on north korea


in south korea, secretary of state rex tillerson said the u.s. would not rule out use of force to confront a growing nuclear threat from north korea.the last two times north korea fired off missiles – a multiple launch earlier this month and a more advanced model in february – u.s. intelligence was caught by surprise. north korea’s increasing ability to launch without warning is one reason secretary of state tillerson overturned two decades of u.s. policy toward north korea.u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson, left, looks on south korean foreign minister yun byung-se during a press conference in seoul friday, march 17, 2017. tillerson visited the world’s most heavily armed border, greeting u.s. soldiers on guard near the tense buffer zone between rivals north and south korea. jung yeon-j






tillerson, kelly head to mexico for talks amid diplomatic tensions


u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson and homeland security secretary john kelly were set to arrive in mexico on wednesday for talks, as president donald trump’s immigration and trade stances toward the country have strained relations between the longtime allies.messrs. tillerson and kelly will meet over wednesday night and thursday with mexico’s president enrique peña nieto, as well as the mexican ministers of foreign relations,...






u.s. keeps its military threat alive while pressing north korea


washington—the trump administration said it is launching an urgent push, combining diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action in a bid to halt north korea’s advancing nuclear-weapons program. secretary of state rex tillerson, one of those who briefed senators at a classified briefing hosted by the white house on wednesday, also plans to host a special meeting of the united nations security council on friday, where he will...






after alleged 'moron' comment, trump suggests he's smarter than rex tillerson


president trump suggested he's smarter than secretary of state rex tillerson, saying in an interview published tuesday that if tillerson did call him a moron, as reported, the two should "compare iq tests.""and i can tell you who is going to win," trump said to forbes magazine.trump's tense relationship with tillerson burst into public view last week. an nbc news story claimed vice president mike pence had to talk tillerson out of resigning this past summer, and that tillerson had called trump a "moron."tillerson said he never considered resigning, though he didn't directly address the reported insult. his spokeswoman later said he never used such language.trump and tillerson are scheduled to have lunch tuesday at the white house with defense secretary james n. mattis.trump has at times ap






north korea crisis: tillerson says us open to talks


media playback is unsupported on your devicemedia captionus ready for "military action, if necessary" against north korea, rex tillerson saysthe us is open to negotiations with north korea aimed at removing nuclear weapons from the region, secretary of state rex tillerson has said.but he said the us would use military force if necessary.the foreign minister of china, north korea's greatest ally, said a peaceful settlement was the "only right choice".mr tillerson told a un security council meeting that the threat of north korea launching a nuclear attack on its neighbours was "real".thousands of us soldiers are stationed in north korea's regional neighbours, south korea and japan.he called on other countries to isolate pyongyang diplomatically.'the right agenda'asked on friday by us broadca






tillerson's 'transition' remarks prompt protest in iran | iran news


iran has summoned the swiss ambassador to tehran, who looks after us interests, over comments by secretary of state rex tillerson backing "peaceful transition" in the islamic republic.bahram ghassemi, the ministry spokesman, informed iranian media on tuesday about the diplomatic protest and said tillerson's comments were "contrary to international law and the un charter".iran also sent a protest letter to un secretary general antonio guterres, according to the isna news agency. read more: cia's 'dark prince' tapped to lead charge against iran tillerson accused iran of seeking "hegemony" in the middle east at the expense of us allies such as saudi arabia in last wednesday's testimony to the house foreign affairs committee."our policy towards iran is to push back on this hegemony ... and to






tillerson's 'transition' remarks prompt protest in iran | iran news


iran has summoned the swiss ambassador to tehran, who looks after us interests, over comments by secretary of state rex tillerson backing "peaceful transition" in the islamic republic.bahram ghassemi, the ministry spokesman, informed iranian media on tuesday about the diplomatic protest and said tillerson's comments were "contrary to international law and the un charter".iran also sent a protest letter to un secretary-general antonio guterres, according to the isna news agency. read more: cia's 'dark prince' tapped to lead charge against iran tillerson accused iran of seeking "hegemony" in the middle east at the expense of us allies like saudi arabia in last wednesday's testimony to the house foreign affairs committee."our policy towards iran is to push back on this hegemony... and to work






rex tillerson embarks on asia trip amid korea concerns


secretary of state rex tillerson is taking off for japan, south korea and china this week for his maiden trip to the region. amid north korean missile testing and after a campaign in which president trump criticized all three countries, the trip is designed to cement u.s. commitment to allies and initiate a conversation on how to best tackle the north’s provocations. the four-day trip will immerse tillerson in an intensive diplomatic crash course -- he’ll meet each of the country’s foreign ministers and travel with the state department’s top experts to the region. as tillerson makes connections with his counterparts, there are concerns about how seriously he will be taken, given his quiet posture thus far.  playvideocbsnwhere does rex tillerson stand in the trump administration? some repor






trump administration redoubles north korea push


washington—the trump administration said it is launching an urgent push, combining diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action in a bid to halt north korea’s advancing nuclear-weapons program. secretary of state rex tillerson, one of those who briefed senators at a classified briefing hosted by the white house on wednesday, also plans to host a special meeting of the united nations security council on friday, where he will...






qatar-gulf crisis: all the latest updates | qatar news


summarysaudi arabia, uae, bahrain, egypt, yemen, eastern government of libya, maldives, mauritania, and senegal cut diplomatic ties with qatarjordan and djibouti downgrade diplomatic relations with qatarsaudi border closure forcing qatar to import food by airuae ambassador to us says economic pressure on qatar set to increasethe latest developments since several countries, including saudi arabia, united arab emirates, bahrain and egypt, cut ties with qatar on june 5. (all times gmt3).1:04am - cavusoglu in 'positive' saudi talks on gulf crisisturkish foreign minister mevlut cavusoglu held talks in saudi arabia on friday with king salman bin abdulaziz al saud, continuing mediation efforts to resolve the gulf's biggest diplomatic crisis in years.diplomatic sources told the afp news agency tha






russia objects to flag removal at shut diplomatic buildings


moscow (ap) — russia’s foreign minister has told u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson that the removal of the russian flag from closed diplomatic facilities is unacceptable.the russian foreign ministry says sergey lavrov also told tillerson in a thursday telephone call that russia is preparing legal steps to regain the buildings. the flags were taken down on wednesday.the united states ordered the russian consulate in san francisco and mission buildings in washington and new york shut last month.the closures came in a dispute that also saw moscow ordering washington to reduce its diplomatic staffing in russia.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.in response to lavrov’s objection, state department spokeswoman heather nauert said: “there’s no country in the world that p






tillerson: nkorea diplomacy continues until 1st 'bomb drops'


washington — secretary of state rex tillerson says diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the north korean crisis "will continue until the first bomb drops."but it was only recently that president donald trump tweeted that tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with the leader of the nuclear-armed nation.tillerson says in a television interview that trump "has made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically. he is not seeking to go to war."mixed messaging from washington has raised concerns about the potential for miscalculation amid the increasingly bellicose exchange of words by trump and kim.north korea has launched missiles that potentially can strike the u.s. mainland and recently conducted its largest ever underground nuclear explosion. it's threatened to explo






us warns qatar crisis at impasse; tillerson to visit kuwait


washington — the trump administration is being drawn further into the crisis engulfing qatar and many of its gulf arab neighbors, a diplomatic tussle that it wanted to avoid.despite numerous u.s. appeals for saudi arabia, bahrain, the united arab emirates and egypt to resolve their issues with qatar on their own, the state department said thursday that secretary of state rex tillerson would visit the region next week in a bid to mediate a solution.spokeswoman heather nauert said tillerson would visit kuwait, which has been trying to broker an agreement, on monday after stops in ukraine and turkey. she said tillerson would meet with kuwaiti officials, but his presence in the region leaves open the possibility that he may try to shuttle between the neighboring countries to forge a resolution






trump accuses china of doing ‘little’ to contain north korea


us president donald trump on friday accused china of not doing enough to help contain north korea’s nuclear ambitions, after his secretary of state rex tillerson said military action against pyongyang was an option.“north korea is behaving very badly. they have been ‘playing’ the united states for years. china has done little to help!” trump said on twitter.earlier in seoul, tillerson said military action would be a possibility if the threat posed by north korea were to escalate.“we are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security, economic measures. all options are on the table,” tillerson told reporters at a joint press conference with his south korean counterpart yun byung-se.“certainly we do not want for things to get to military conflict,” he said. “if they elevate the threat of thei






'a death spiral': tillerson makes nice but may not last long with trump


tillerson would not say wednesday whether he agrees with mattis, whose own position within the administration appears more solid.in this case and others where they have disagreed, tillerson advocated what trump has complained is a "totally conventional" position that is at odds with trump's break-the-mold philosophy. trump, for example, was incensed last weekend when he thought tillerson was "freelancing" a diplomatic overture to north korea, one official said.trump has said he believes talking to north korea has failed for three decades and he sees no reason it would work now."his is the traditional, establishment model," one person who has discussed tillerson's views with trump said. "it's the same foreign policy that john kerry had and it's the same foreign policy that hillary clinton h






tillerson urges se asia to minimize nkorea diplomatic ties


washington — secretary of state rex tillerson on thursday pressed southeast asian governments to ensure "leak-proof" enforcement of sanctions against north korea and to prevent the pariah nation's diplomats from conducting business that could benefit its weapons programs.tillerson called on foreign ministers of the 10-nation association of southeast asian nations, or asean, to "minimize" the diplomatic relations with pyongyang, "so that north korea does not gain benefit from its diplomatic channels for its nuclear and missile aspirations," senior state department official patrick murphy said after thursday's meeting at the state department.that was the latest salvo in the trump administration's push to get the international community to intensify diplomatic and economic pressure on north k