WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Paris for an international conference on Middle East peace organized by the French government, his staff announced on Tuesday.In his final trip as secretary, Kerry will begin with a visit to Vietnam. He will then travel to Paris on the day of the summit, January 15, followed by trips to London and Davos, Switzerland.
Kerry has been outspoken on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace in his final days in office, offering a 70-minute speech devoted solely to the conflict just days after the Obama administration chose to abstain from a UN Security Council vote condemning Israel's settlement enterprise.Israel is protesting the Paris summit and has warned its attendees against setting out parameters for a two-state solution. Such an outcome to its conflict with the Palestinians can only come about through direct negotiations, says Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.While 70 nations are sending envoys to the Paris summit, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will be represented.Indeed, the US has long maintained a policy in opposition to efforts from third parties to impose a solution onto the two sides. Ben Rhodes, a senior advisor to outgoing US President Barack Obama, has said the administration would continue to oppose any international effort to impose guidelines or parameters for a two-state outcome.
John Kerry lays out Mideast peace vision