Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday offered a defense of the United States' decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank, arguing that expanding settlements stands in the way of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his final speech as secretary of state, Kerry spoke for more than an hour about the importance of a two-state solution and said that current Israeli policies regarding settlements put that solution in jeopardy. He argued that by taking a stand against the expansion of settlements, the United States was in fact standing up for Israel.
Kerry previously spent nine months trying to broker peace the in region, but the effort ultimately failed in April 2014. As he leaves his role as the United States' chief diplomat, Kerry called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take actions that put the region on the path toward a two-state solution, and he laid out the guiding principles that the U.S. would like to see in a final status agreement between Israel and Palestine.
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