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US Secretary of State John Kerry..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Kerry to make Middle East peace speech on Wednesday
By REUTERS
12/27/2016
The speech comes just days after the United States abstained from vetoing an anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations Security Council, which Jerusalem described as "shameful."
US 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.

In the speech, Kerry will lay out his vision for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, days after the United States cleared the way for a UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements.

He will discuss the abstention when at the State Department at 11:00 a.m. ET (6:00 p.m. Israel time), a senior State Department official told reporters.

The speech, less than a month before US President Barack Obama leaves office, is expected to be the administration's last word on a decades-old dispute that Kerry had hoped to resolve during his four years as America's top diplomat.

It could also be seen in Israel as another parting shot at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had an especially acrimonious relationship with Obama since they both took office in 2009.

The United States on Friday broke with a longstanding approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and abstained on a United Nations Security Council resolution that passed with 14 countries in favor and none against.

Toner rejected claims that the Obama administration had pushed for a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building. The United States abstained in the Security Council decision, which passed with 14 votes in favor.

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

Following the controversial move at the UNSC, Jerusalem lashed out at the Obama administration, accusing Washington of stabbing "Israel in the back."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said that his government "rejects the anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations," calling the motion "shameful."

"The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against the UN's obsession with Israel, it collaborated with the UN behind Israel's back," Netanyahu said in a statement following the vote.

"Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution," he added.


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