World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday the United States was seeking to defuse tensions over proposed U.N. resolutions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during talks in Europe next week.
Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday and senior European officials to discuss possible resolutions, which would require a vote in the U.N. Security Council where the United States holds a veto.
"We're trying to figure out a way to help defuse the tensions and reduce the potential for more conflict and we're exploring various possibilities to that end," Kerry told reporters in Bogota when asked whether there is a resolution the U.S. could support.
Jordan has circulated a Palestinian resolution to the 15-member council calling for Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory to end by November 2016. Western diplomats have said the proposal is "unbalanced." France, Britain and Germany are in the process of drafting a proposal.
"There are a lot of different folks pushing in different directions out there, and the question is can we all pull in the same direction," Kerry said. "That's what we're looking at."
Some countries believe agreement on a resolution would be easier to achieve before Israeli elections in March.
If the United States pushes the Europeans to wait until after Israel's elections, the Jordanians could put forward the Palestinian-drafted resolution for a vote in January that is likely to be vetoed by Washington.
Jordan's U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar said this month that she hoped a resolution could be put to a vote in December or January.
"Waiting until April and therefore probably facing a Palestinian draft in the Security Council in January, vetoed by the Americans, will just make the situation worse," said a senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"If there is a window of opportunity for a consensus resolution it might be this month," the diplomat said.
Kerry met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on the sidelines of a climate conference in Peru on Thursday to talk about a European proposal.
He also called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to discuss "developments in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the region, as well as current initiatives at the U.N.," a U.S. official said.
Kerry and Lavrov will meet in Rome on Sunday to discuss the same issues, as well as Ukraine and Syria, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Abbas, Kerry discuss Palestinian-Israeli peace track
Later on Friday, Kerry talked to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department said in a statement.
Abbas discussed the latest developments in Palestinian-Israeli relations in a Friday phone conversation with Kerry, according to the Palestinian news agency.
"During a phone call with President Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his condolences for the death of [senior Palestinian official] Ziad Abu Ein and stressed the importance of continuing peace efforts," Palestine's state-run WAFA news agency reported.
Abbas also received a phone call from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, during which the latter extended his "warmest condolences for Abu Ein's death."
Davutoglu also discussed the reconstruction of the war-battered Gaza Strip during his conversation with Abbas, WAFA reported.
For seven weeks in July and August, Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of halting rocket fire from the Hamas-run coastal strip.
The offensive left some 2,160 Palestinians dead and 11,000 others injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while destroying vast swathes of infrastructure across the territory.
Israel also destroyed thousands of homes and facilities across Gaza, worsening humanitarian conditions for the strip's 1.8 million residents.
At an October donor conference, several Arab and European countries pledged a combined $5.4 billion for the strip's reconstruction.
Abu Ein died Wednesday when Israeli troops dispersed a demonstration against the expansion of Jewish-only settlements and Israel's separation wall.
On Thursday, Saber al-Aloul, head of the Palestinian forensic institute, said that preliminary autopsy results had shown that Abu Ein's death had been causes by "a lack of blood to the heart, caused by a hemorrhage in the inner lining of the coronary artery – signs usually associated with anguish and stress."
Ehab Bseiso, a Palestinian Authority spokesman, said "the Israeli government is responsible for the death of Abu Ein."
In a report issued by the Israeli prime minister's office, Israel's Health Ministry said that a preliminary autopsy report had shown that the cause of Abu Ein's death had been a "blocked coronary artery."
Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital - lands captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
Israel accepts the idea of a "two-state solution" of an independent and democratic Palestinian state existing alongside Israel, but has not accepted the 1967 borders as the basis for final negotiations, citing security and other concerns.
Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2014, 00:59