Michele Kelemen

A former NPR Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen now covers the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In her latest beat, Kelemen has been traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton before him, tracking the Obama administration's broad foreign policy agenda from Asia to the Middle East. She also followed President Bush's Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and was part of the NPR team that won the 2007 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for coverage of the war in Iraq.

As NPR's Moscow bureau chief, Kelemen chronicled the end of the Yeltsin era and Vladimir Putin's consolidation of power. She recounted the terrible toll of the latest war in Chechnya, while also reporting on a lighter side of Russia, with stories about modern day Russian literature and sports.

Kelemen came to NPR in September 1998, after eight years working for the Voice of America. There, she learned the ropes as a news writer, newscaster and show host.

Michele earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Russian and East European Affairs and International Economics.

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NPR Story
5:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Obama To Meet With Iraqi Leader On Military Aid

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:46 am

President Obama meets at the White House on Friday with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is planning to ask for more military aid to deal with the growing insurgency in Iraq.

NPR Story
5:19 am
Wed October 23, 2013

U.S., Pakistan Try To Turn A Page With White House Meeting

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:47 am

Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, meets President Obama at the White House on Wednesday. He's the first Pakistani leader to visit the White House in five years. Talks are expected to focus on U.S. security and economic aid, as well as the controversial U.S. drone attacks along the Pakistani-Afghan border.

World
6:12 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Saudi Act Of Protest Stuns U.N., And Some Observers

The U.N. Security Council votes on a resolution requiring Syria to give up its chemical weapons last month in New York. Last week, Saudi Arabia turned down a chance to take a seat on the Council.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 8:58 am

Known for quiet diplomacy, Saudi Arabia is taking an unusual and very public step to protest the international community's failure to resolve the crisis in Syria and other issues that interest Riyadh.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia was elected to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. initially called a defining moment in his nation's history.

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Middle East
4:38 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Experts Debate How Best To Remove Syria's Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Let's go deeper now into one issue Secretary of State John Kerry raised in my interview with him earlier in the program. The secretary, along with his Russian counterpart, got Syria's Bashar al-Assad to agree to hand over his vast store of chemical weapons. Now, Kerry is suggesting those stockpiles be taken out of Syria.

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Middle East
5:56 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Peace Prize Winners Want To Rid The World Of Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize goes to the international chemical weapons watchdogs now on the ground in Syria. The group has been working for a decade and a half to get rid of some of the world's deadliest weapons. Its latest mission is also its most dangerous, documenting and disposing of the Syrian government's stockpiles in an active war zone.

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Middle East
4:44 am
Thu October 10, 2013

U.S. Delays Egyptian Aid Over Democracy Issue

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 7:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When Egypt's democratically-elected president was ousted from power, there was a lot of speculation that the United States might cut off some, if not all, aid to that country. And now the Obama administration has told the interim government in Egypt that it's holding up hundreds of millions of dollars. The message from the United States boils down to this: No Apache helicopters until you can show you're getting back on a path to democracy. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
5:37 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Long Road Ahead For Weapons Inspectors In Syria

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Chemical weapons experts are working on a tight timeline in Syria to document and dispose of that country's stockpiles. The director-general of the chemical weapons watchdog group calls the effort an unprecedented mission. And so far, he says Syria has been cooperating. And the U.S. has even praised Damascus for going along with the plan.

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Middle East
5:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Netanyahu: Iranian President 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing'

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In New York today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered scathing words about the new Iranian president. In his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly, he described the Iranian president as a wolf in sheep's clothing who's not to be trusted. Netanyahu said if necessary, Israel will stand alone to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Middle East
4:31 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Netanyahu Urges World To Keep Pressure On Iran

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:04 am

A day after a meeting with President Obama, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes center stage at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. He will likely dwell on Iran's suspect nuclear program and warn the world community against being taken in by Tehran's recent charm offensive.

Middle East
7:58 am
Sat September 28, 2013

U.N. Security Council Approves Syria Chemical Arms Deal

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

The United Nations Security Council has broken its two-and-a-half-year deadlock over Syria, approving a resolution on the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The U.S. and Russia are now trying to move beyond that and will try to get the warring sides around the negotiating table in Geneva.

Middle East
5:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Aid Groups Say Relief Should Be Part Of UN Deal On Syria

UN Security Council diplomats are working on a resolution that focuses on ridding Syria of chemical weapons. Aid groups want the UN to go further and help them open up routes to get desperately needed assistance to Syrians uprooted by the civil war. They say the paralysis on the security council has had a real costs on the ground and has added to donor fatigue.

Middle East
3:55 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Kerry Vows To Keep Assessing Iran's Nuclear Intentions

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:07 am

Secretary of State Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France, Russia, China and the European Union met with Iran's foreign minister at the United Nations on Thursday. They left the meeting praising Iran's new tone, but saying there is a lot of work to be done in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program. The talks resume in Geneva in mid-October.

Middle East
5:59 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Kerry Meets Iranian Foreign Minister For Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:19 pm

Another round of talks on Iran's suspect nuclear program took place Thursday, this one at the United Nations and, for the first time, at the ministerial level. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's new Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will be among those in attendance along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. No breakthroughs are anticipated in New York but the talks are expected to reconvene a week or so later in Geneva in search of an accord.

Middle East
5:30 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Iran, U.S. Can Manage Differences, Rouhani Tells U.N.

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 6:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama never did meet Iran's president Hasan Rouhani at the United Nations, as many expected. But Iran's new president gave a speech calling for results-oriented talks to clear up concern about what he called Iran's peaceful nuclear program. NPR's Michele Kelemen was there.

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Middle East
4:47 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Iran's President Rouhani To Address U.N. For 1st Time

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Let's talk through President Obama's speech just now at the United Nations. The president addressed the annual meeting of the General Assembly, a big room full of diplomats and world leaders. He called for action to enforce the removal of Syria's chemical weapons, and he also spoke of negotiations with Iran, among other issues. NPR's Michele Kelemen is at the United Nations. She was listening in.

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Parallels
2:25 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Will The U.S. Grant A Visa To Sudan's Indicted Leader?

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who faces genocide charges, has applied for a visa to come to the U.S. for the annual United Nations General Assembly next week. The U.S. has not yet said whether he'll be allowed in the country.
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:09 pm

As the host of the United Nations, the U.S. is supposed to let everyone come to the annual U.N. General Assembly, not just the people it likes.

But this year, the proposition is being put to the test. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, was indicted three years ago by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges stemming from the mass killings in Sudan's western Darfur region.

Bashir has also applied for a visa to the U.N. meetings next week.

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Europe
4:12 am
Mon September 16, 2013

U.S. Allies Meet In Paris On Syria Plan

Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 8:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I'm David Greene. Good morning. A diplomatic deal between the United States and Russia addresses a crisis over Syria, but does not end that crisis. The two powers agreed that Syria should quickly surrender its chemical weapons.

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Middle East
7:47 am
Sat September 14, 2013

U.S., Russia Reach Agreement On Syria

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 11:28 am

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday they have reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. Michele Kelemen speaks with host Scott Simon.

The U.S. Response To Syria
6:05 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Senate Waits On Possible Diplomatic Solution In Syria

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 10:14 pm

The U.S. and its allies await details of Russia's proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN supervision. Meanwhile, senior Obama administration officials are continuing to press for congressional approval of a potential military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.

World
4:57 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Russia Calls On Syria To Give Up Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We begin this hour with an unexpected twist in the story of Syria and its alleged use of chemical weapons. Russia is now urging Syria to give up its stockpile to avoid a U.S. military strike. Though the offer appears to be in response to a comment this morning from the secretary of state, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports the U.S. is skeptical.

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