President Barack Obama does not plan to see Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim when he is in Kuala Lumpur next week, though US officials on Friday did not rule out a lower-level meeting. Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Malaysia in nearly half a century when he touches down in the country on April 26. Washington has expressed disquiet about what it says are politically motivated charges to keep the veteran opposition leader out of Malaysian politics. In March, the Malaysian Court of Appeals overturned Anwar's 2012 acquittal on sodomy charges which date from a bitter power struggle with his then rival, prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, in the 1990s.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Moscow must quickly rein in pro-Russia separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and allow Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors into the area. "We expect and we will be watching whether Russia does or does not uphold its responsibility to use its very considerable influence to restrain and withdraw those irregular militia from the buildings and spaces that they've occupied," said Rice. "So we will see, over the coming days, whether Russia upholds its agreement," she said, implicitly warning of new sanctions if Russia was judged to have honored the Geneva deal. The stern warning from Rice came as Russia reacted angrily to previous US warnings, including from President Barack Obama, that it could face new sanctions if it did not live up to the deal reached on Thursday.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met separately Friday with US peace envoy Martin Indyk, a Palestinian source said, a day after five hours of three-way talks failed to bring agreement. Indyk first met chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat in the West Bank city of Jericho, but no details of their talks were given. Israeli officials did not respond to requests for information, but media reports said a new tripartite meeting could be held in the coming days. The previous day's talks, held in a Jerusalem hotel, were "very difficult", the Palestinian source said, adding: "The gap... is still wide."