January 13, 2014 |
JERUSALEM -- Under skies dotted with scattered clouds and a blimp, Israeli and international leaders attended the state memorial ceremony held Monday for former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday. Draped in an Israeli flag and surrounded by wreaths, Sharon's casket lay on a raised black platform in the wide, paved plaza of the Knesset, where he served from 1973 as a lawmaker, Cabinet member and prime minister until felled by a stroke eight years ago. Israeli leaders, politicians and dignitaries in attendance, including Sharon's friends and adversaries, offered a snapshot of the country's political history.
January 11, 2014 |
JERUSALEM -- President Obama and other top American officials past and present offered their condolences on the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday, eight years after suffering a massive, debilitating stroke. Statements poured in from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, as well as former President Clinton. Leaders of the Senate and House also extended sympathies. Sharon was a man of controversy but the statements reflected a consensus of respect for the former leader's dedication to his country, his courage to change his mind and his working friendship with the U.S. “On behalf of the American people," the president's statement said, "Michelle and I send our deepest condolences ... on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel.” Obama stressed the enduring friendship between the two nations and reiterated U.S. commitment to bring peace and security to Israel, including a continued commitment to the goal of the two-state solution.
December 4, 2013 |
BEIJING - After months of planning a trip to boost U.S. trade with Asia, Vice President Joe Biden instead is leading an urgent diplomatic mission to calm tensions between China and its neighbors and prevent a potential conflict. After arriving here Wednesday, Biden closeted himself with President Xi Jinping for 5 1/2 hours in what U.S. officials described as an effort to reassure anxious allies in the region and prevent escalation of the dispute over China's recent declaration of an air defense identification zone over islands Japan administers.
December 3, 2013 |
BEIJING - How to reassure Japan and South Korea that the United States will stand behind them, without inflaming the Chinese? That is the mission that stands before Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives in the region with a potential crisis developing over China's designation of a large swath of the East China Sea as an air defense identification zone. The trip, which was supposed to advance economic ties in the region, has been waylaid by China's Nov. 23 declaration of an air defense zone over waters controlled by Japan and South Korea.
November 28, 2013 |
PANAMA CANAL ZONE - After waiting out an early-afternoon downpour, Vice President Joe Biden and the U.S. delegation emerged into the humid heat to tour the $5.2-billion canal expansion. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake snapped pictures with her cellphone. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter beamed with curiosity as he walked and questioned a site supervisor. "Something big is happening here," Biden said in an obvious understatement, eliciting laughs from the group of mayors and lawmakers from several seaport cities and states.
November 22, 2013 |
PANAMA CANAL ZONE - During a recent tour of the historic locks here, Vice President Joe Biden helped an operator flip the switches to open the gates and then stepped out onto a balcony to watch a gargantuan vessel pass through. A hundred yards across the waterway, a crowd of Americans recognized the silver-haired man in shirt sleeves, the sun glinting off his aviator glasses, and began waving and shouting his name. "We love you, Joe!" yelled one man in a blue football jersey.