Tuesday, December 27, 2016

State Department: Kerry to Speak on Middle East Peace Wednesday

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will make remarks regarding Middle East peace on Wednesday and discuss next steps needed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday.

Toner rejected claims that the Obama administration had pushed for a United Nations Security Council resolution on Friday demanding an end to Israeli settlement building.

Breaking with a long-standing approach of diplomatically shielding Israel, the United States did not wield its veto power and abstained instead, letting the Dec. 23 resolution pass in the 15-member Security Council.

“There was nothing pre-cooked, this was not some move orchestrated by the United States,” Toner said.

Toner defended the administration’s decision to abstain during the vote, saying the United States wanted to “send a clear message about our concerns about settlement activity.”

“We don’t want this to create a diplomatic firestorm,” he added.

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