Kerry: Current relations between Israel, Palestinians 'unsustainable'

US secretary of state says there is an urgent need to renew peace talks; rebuffs reports that Obama aims to freeze Congress out of decision-making process on Iran deal.

October 22, 2014 13:37
1 minute read.

US Secretary of State John Kerry walks at the State Department in Washington October 2. (photo credit: REUTERS)

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that current relations between Israel and the Palestinians were "unsustainable" and that the United States was conscious of the urgency of the situation.

"The current situation, the status quo, is unsustainable," he said at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

He added that it was necessary to find a way to negotiate and said the US would continue with these efforts: "Obviously we understand the urgency of it," he said.

The US secretary of state also addressed a major concern of Israel's - nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Speaking in response to a New York Times report that US President Barack Obama was considering signing a deal to reduce sanctions against Iran without the approval of Congress, Kerry said the Obama administration planned to fully consult Congress about ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Israeli officials had reportedly expressed concern that the freezing out of Congress would increase the likelihood of Obama agreeing to a "bad deal" that would reduce sanctions while allowing Iran to remain a nuclear threshold state.

"I personally believe, as does the president, that Congress has an extremely important role to play in this and Congress will play a role in this," Kerry said in response to a question about whether US lawmakers might be shut out of the decision-making process.

Kerry said a possible suspension of sanctions against Iran in any nuclear deal "does not in any way write Congress out of the process or suggest that in the end Congress isn't going to have a vote."

"We anticipate hearings, a significant amount of back and forth. We certainly will be briefing as we go forward in the next weeks. And we look forward to serious and deep congressional engagement in this effort," he added.

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