Kerry to speak on Middle East peace on Wednesday - U.S. State Department | Reuters

 Kerry to speak on Middle East peace on Wednesday - U.S. State Department
| Reuters

WASHINGTON 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.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Updated Date: Dec 28, 2016 03:17:04 IST