Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with their Russian counterparts for talks in Washington on Friday, aiming to repair strained relations with Moscow.
President Obama snubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday when he called off plans to go to Moscow next month for a one-on-one summit. He was reacting to Russia's offer of temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
But on Friday, the diplomats seemed eager to show that the dispute is not some new sort of cold war.
The State Department said Friday it would begin processing visas for same-sex spouses the same as applications from married heterosexuals.
"Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite-sex spouses," Secretary of State John Kerry said.
During a television interview Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States hopes to end drone strikes over Pakistan.
"The program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it," Kerry told Pakistan TV. "I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it's going to be very, very soon."
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to bring Israeli and Palestinian officials to Washington to discuss a possible resumption of peace talks. Kerry announced on Friday that the two sides have tentatively agreed to preliminary talks but when and if actual peace negotiations will occur is uncertain. White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday he hopes the parties will be in Washington in the coming weeks.
Israel said Saturday that it's prepared to release a number of Palestinian prisoners following a breakthrough in talks brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Yuval Steiniz, Israel's intelligence and strategic affairs minister, said the release would involve "heavyweight prisoners in jail for decades". He said the prisoners would be freed soon. (Note: the translation used by The Associated Press has it as "hardcore" instead of "heavyweight").