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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday of being obsessed by allegations of Israeli abuses and said the United States would defend Israel against efforts to isolate it. In a speech to the Council in Geneva, Kerry also exhorted the 47-member-state group to look into what he described as severe abuses in separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine as well as in Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine last year. For decades the government has subjugated its citizens, starving and torturing and incarcerating them or worse." Kerry offered a strong defense of Israel against what he called the council's unbalanced focus on the country. "It must be said that the HRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization," Kerry said.
By Shadia Nasralla VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said on Monday Iran was being slow to cooperate with his agency's investigation into the Iranian atomic program and that the inquiry could not continue indefinitely. Diplomats have voiced doubt over whether the outstanding issues in the U.N. investigation would be resolved before a broader diplomatic agreement is reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. The seven countries have set a deadline of late March for a framework deal and June for a comprehensive final settlement that would curb Iran's nuclear activity to ensure it cannot be put to bombmaking in return for the lifting of international sanctions that have hammered the oil-based Iranian economy. When asked about a time frame for the U.N. inquiry running parallel to the higher-level negotiations, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said: "It depends on the level and pace of cooperation from Iran, I cannot tell by when... "We have asked questions and the questions are clear, so (Iran) can answer." The Islamic Republic has yet to address two outstanding issues relating to alleged explosives tests and other measures that might have been used for nuclear bomb research which it should have explained away by last August.
LONDON (AP) — The 19-country eurozone got a double dose of mildly positive economic news Monday that will likely be met with relief by the European Central Bank's policymakers as they prepare to hold their next meeting on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.