TOKYO (AP) — As negotiations falter, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region.
By Mark Felsenthal and Alissa de Carbonnel TOKYO/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was poised to impose new sanctions on Moscow if it does not act fast to end an armed stand-off in Ukraine, but there was a first, tentative sign that pro-Russian separatists were ceding ground. Moscow also flexed its economic muscles in its worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War, with the government suggesting foreign firms which pull out of the country may not be able to get back in, and a source at Gazprom saying the gas exporter had slapped an additional $11.4 billion bill on Kiev. Under an international accord signed in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups in Ukraine, including the pro-Russian rebels occupying about a dozen public buildings in the east of the country, are supposed to disarm and go home. Washington accuses Moscow of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine while Russia denies this and counters that Europe and the United States are supporting an illegitimate government in Kiev.