President Obama announces that he will not allow TransCanada Corp a cross border permit. This prevents the company from building the pipeline. Although the pipeline would be creating new jobs, others cited environmental damages that could occur during construction and general maintenance. Obama:
America’s now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.
The reality is that this decision could not be made solely on the numbers — jobs that would be created, dirty fuel that would be transported here, or carbon pollution that would ultimately be unleashed. The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves.
TransCanada CEO Girling:
Today, misplaced symbolism was chosen over merit and science — rhetoric won out over reason. TransCanada is reviewing the decision and its rationale.
President Santos and leaders of FARC vow to end Latin America’s longest running armed conflict in the coming months after reaching a breakthrough in talks that puts the country closer to peace than it has been in half a century. Both sides have set a six-month deadline to sign a final agreement. After that, the group will demobilize within 60 days. In a joint statement, Santos and the FARC rebels say they have overcome the last significant obstacle to a peace deal by settling on a formula to punish human rights abuses committed during about 50 years of fighting. The formula is designed to demand accountability from belligerents while insulating a deal against possible legal challenges from victims. Santos and Timoshenko shake hands. Santos:
We are on different sides but today we advance in the same direction, in the most noble direction a society can take, which is toward peace.
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says:
Peace is now ever closer for the Colombian people and millions of conflict victims.
According to the State Department, Kerry phones to reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment to the security of Israel. Kerry and Netanyahu discussed a number of issues, including worries about reports of possible future Russian military buildup in Syria.
The secetary and the prime minister reiterated the need to continue pushing back on Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, and he agreed to continue to have these discussions in the coming weeks. The secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and continued military and security relationship.
During testimony to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry says that while he understands Israel’s fears about the Iran deal, putting the agreement in place will make Israel, and the entire area more secure. He also provided reassurance as to the U.S. role in the region after the agreement is in place, pointing out the high level of cooperation between the U.S. and Israel:
The US [will] continue to push back against Iran’s other activities. It[is] much easier to push back against an Iran that doesn’t have a nuclear weapon the agreement will ensure. Washington’s current level of security cooperation with Israel is unprecedented and the US will continue to maintain its robust security presence in the region.
Israeli officials call comments from Senator Kerry that Israel will be even more isolated internationally should Congress fail to pass the Iran nuclear agreement a “thinly veiled efforts to muzzle criticism”. Israeli officials state they will not stop publicly lobbying against the nuclear agreement with Iran.
We reject the threats directed at Israel in recent days.
Iran accuses Kerry of threatening military action against Tehran if it does not hold true to a nuclear deal agreed to on 14 July. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif:
Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force.’ [I decry] the uselessness of such empty threats against the nation of Iran and the resistance of the nation of Iran. Such remarks should be consigned to the last century. Kerry and other US officials “have repeatedly admitted that these threats have no effect on the will of the people of Iran and that it will change the situation to their disadvantage. Therefore, it would be better for Americans to abandon their old habit and put aside once and for all their threatening language and sanctions against this great people.
U.S. sends disaster team and promises $1 million in aid to help Nepal and surrounding areas recover from the devastating earthquake. Secretary of State Kerry:
We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance. USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation.
Kerry, speaking to a group of US ambassadors at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference, warns them that in the future they will be dealing with climate refugees. Kerry also warned of five-hundred year long droughts.
It is a national security threat, it is a health threat, it’s an environmental threat, it’s an economic threat. We’re spending billions upon billions — $110 billion last year on the damages that occurred because of the increased level of major weather events around the world; droughts that are 500-year droughts, not 100-year droughts; places that have less and less water; food that is less produced where it used to be.
Ninety-seven percent of all the scientists for 20 years tell us unequivocally that this is happening and happening now, and humans are causing it, and we have a responsibility to respond to it.
Kerry says the U.S. is not fighting a war against ISIS, but is engaged in a counterterrorism campaign. Commenting after Obama’s primetime speech indicates the government is considering expanding airstrikes into Syria:
Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order. And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action
Kerry arrives in Baghdad for talks on forming a coalition to fight ISIS. He is due to meet with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who is a Shiite, President Fuad Masum, a Kurd, and Salim al-Jubouri, the Sunni speaker of Parliament. A senior State Department official traveling with Kerry says the new inclusive government – which the U.S. has insisted on in exchange for military support against ISIS – will play a ‘critical role’ in the effort to ‘degrade and ultimately eventually defeat’ the group. Kerry says progress has been made, but offers no details:
We are very encouraged.
Kerry says that the U.S. needs to combat ISIS without putting boots on the ground:
We need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, to bolster the Iraqi security forces and others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own.
It may take years to defeat the group:
We’re convinced in the days ahead we have the ability to destroy Isis. It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we are determined.
Kerry calls for a global coalition against ISIS in a New York Times op-ed:
No decent country can support the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to help stamp out this disease. Coalition building is hard work, but it is the best way to tackle a common enemy.
The group’s foreign recruits pose an international threat:
ISIS’ cadre of foreign fighters are a rising threat not just in the region, but anywhere they could manage to travel undetected — including to America […] They have already demonstrated the ability to seize and hold more territory than any other terrorist organization, in a strategic region that borders Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and is perilously close to Israel.
The U.S., which takes over the UN Security Council presidency in September, should lead the coalition but its contributions – including airstrikes – are not enough on their own:
In this battle, there is a role for almost every country. Some will provide military assistance, direct and indirect. Some will provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the millions who have been displaced and victimized across the region. Others will help restore not just shattered economies but broken trust among neighbors. This effort is underway in Iraq, where other countries have joined us in providing humanitarian aid, military assistance and support for an inclusive government.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is heading to Cairo to seek an extension of the 72-hour ceasefire agreed by Hamas and Israel. Israeli officials rarely meet on the Sabbath, which starts at sundown Friday, while travel time for negotiating delegations to reach Cairo is also an issue. A senior U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity in New Delhi during Kerry’s visit:
There is a hope for an extension because people have to travel and don’t want to lose a whole day […] We obviously hope there will be (an extension of the ceasefire) and would encourage that, but obviously to do so there’s got to be some sense of serious purpose on the table.
Kerry urges both sides to use the unexpected three-day truce to secure a more durable agreement:
It is a lull of opportunity, a moment for the different factions to be able to come together with the state of Israel in an effort to try to address ways to find a sustainable ceasefire and then obviously, over a longer period of time, address the underlying issues
A 72-hour ceasefire takes effect at 8 a.m. in Israel, midnight Eastern Standard Time. The truce, announced unexpectedly overnight by Kerry during his visit to India and also by Ban Ki-Moon in New York, appears to be holding with fishing boats venturing offshore from Gaza beaches, while Israeli forces on the ground remain in place. The three-day timeframe is considered to be long enough to negotiate on key issues while allowing Israeli forces to complete their mission of destroying smuggling tunnels. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will head to Cairo for talks during the ceasefire. Statement by Kerry and Ban:
We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire
Kerry arrives in India to hold 5th Indo-US Strategic Dialogue.
Kerry pledges $47 million humanitarian aid from the U.S. to Palestinians in the Gaza strip affected by the conflict. The State Department says $15 million will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the remaining $32 million will come from USAID. In Cairo to meet Ban Ki-Moon:
We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself […] But always, in any conflict, there is concern about civilians — about children, women, communities that are caught in it.
John Kerry is captured by a Fox News microphone expressing apparent frustration about the high civilian toll in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, while also criticizing Hamas leaders as ‘intransigent’ for their rejection of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal and defending Israel’s actions as self defense. On a cellphone call with his chief of staff, Jonathan Finer:
It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around
Clarifying the comments with Fox News Sunday interviewer Chris Wallace:
It’s very, very difficult in these situations. I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does with respect to young children and civilians
The US and the five other countries involved agree to extend the July 20th deadline by four months to give Iran more time to dismantle parts of its nuclear-development program. The extension was expected. President Obama says:
It’s clear to me that we have made real progress in several areas and that we have a credible way forward. But as we approach a deadline … there are still some significant gaps between the international community and Iran, and we have more work to do.
During the extension period, Iran will continue to have access to $2.8 billion in assets previously restricted by the U.S., but sanctions against its oil sales and other assets will remain frozen. John Kerry says:
Let me be clear, Iran will not get any more money during these four months than it did during the last six months.
Speaking at negotiations in Vienna, Austria, where Iran and world powers are meeting over Iran’s nuclear program, Kerry tells reporters there have been “tangible progress on key issues,” but negotiators have yet to arrive at a “workable formula.” Despite differences, Kerry believes there is a way to make this work ahead.
But and this is a critical point while there is a path forward, Iran needs to choose to take it. And our goal now is to determine the precise contours of that path, and I believe we can.
Kerry arrives in Austria for talks with five other world powers, Germany and Iran concerning Tehran’s nuclear program. The participants are in the final round of negotiations to reach a permanent deal on Iran’s nuclear program before the July 20, 2014 deadline. The talks include the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the U.S., UK, France, China and Russia. Germany is also participating in the talks. Kerry states
Obviously, we have some very significant gaps still, so we need to see if we can make some progress. I really look forward to a very substantive and important set of meetings and dialogues. It is vital to make certain that Iran is not going to develop a nuclear weapon, that their program is peaceful.
Kerry returns to Iraq for the second day in a row in an effort to convince political leaders there to overhaul the government. He is insisting that a change in the Shiite-led government is the best way to prevent a civil war in that country. Kerry believes that support from Kurdish regional president, Massoud Barzani, will force Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki al-Maliki to cede more power to Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities and soothe anger directed at Baghdad that has fueled the insurgent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
On a visit to Lebanon, Secretary of State Kerry declares the Syrian election meaningless and says it will have no impact on U.S. policy. Kerry says the United States continues to support a political solution to the Syrian crisis and announces a contribution of $290 million in humanitarian aid.
The elections are non-elections. A great big zero. Nothing has changed between the day before the election and after.