Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry will offer a “comprehensive vision” of how to revive the Israel-Palestinian peace process in a major speech today.
President Barack Obama’s administration, including Kerry, is to leave office in four weeks and last week gravely offended Israel by failing to veto a critical UN resolution.
But US officials said they plan to keep pushing both Israel and the Palestinian leadership to take concrete steps to revive talks on a two-state solution to the conflict.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Kerry believes, “it is his duty in his remaining weeks and days as secretary of state to lay out what he believes is a way towards a two-state solution”.
“It’s always important to keep the process moving forward,” Toner said. “We haven’t given up on this and we don’t think the Israelis and Palestinians should do either.”
Officials said Kerry would make the speech to an invited audience, including the Washington diplomatic corps, at the State Department.
On Friday, in a historic move, the United States failed to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning its ally Israel’s building of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and many of Israel’s supporters in Washington reacted with fury and accused Obama of working behind the scenes to betray them.
US President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20, has signalled he will take a softer line on Israeli settlement building by promising to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
He has also nominated as US ambassador to Israel an American Jewish lawyer known as a strong supporter of the settlement movement.