Michele Kelemen

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The Middle East is a region that is used to diplo-speak. When U.S. officials talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they usually parse their words carefully. President Trump, though, is changing that, and it is causing confusion.

Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained to the world that although the administration decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, its final status is still up for negotiation.

In summing up his year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a State Department town hall meeting in mid-December he has no diplomatic wins on the board. "Diplomacy is not that simple," he said. But Tillerson believes his restructuring plan — which includes improving IT systems and streamlining the bureaucracy — has put the State Department in a better place.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he has not put any diplomatic wins on the board this year, but he believes his reforms are putting the State Department in a better, more efficient place.

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Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Egypt next month, and there's a group of Americans watching that trip very closely. They are the friends and relatives of people who've been swept up in arrests in Egypt over the past few years.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. would negotiate with North Korea without demanding that the country first agree to nuclear disarmament. This marks a significant change in a approach for Tillerson, who has spent much of this year working on the pressure campaign to cut off financial resources for the North Korean nuclear program.

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The State Department is ordering the Cuban embassy in Washington to downsize, expelling 15 Cuban officials. They have 7 days to leave.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has differed with President Trump over a number of significant foreign policy issues — North Korea, Iran and Qatar, to name a few. But when Tillerson distanced himself from the president on the question of American values — telling Fox News Sunday that the president "speaks for himself" by blaming "both sides" for violence that took place during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — questions grew over whether he would soon be out of office.

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Charlottesville, Va., is still trying to recover after the deadly white supremacist rally there earlier this month. The city held a town hall yesterday, looking for ways to move forward. NPR's Michele Kelemen was there.

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President Trump's administration says it's trying harder to bring home American citizens detained in Iran. Iran seems to be hinting that it wants another prisoner swap, as the Obama administration once negotiated.

Shortly before he left office in January, President Obama did something that surprised many human rights activists. He suspended some trade sanctions on Sudan, a government notorious for human rights abuses and which the U.S. once accused of carrying out a genocide. The Trump administration has to decide by July 12 whether to stick with this approach.

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