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Friday, 12 December 2014

Kerry aims to avert UN crisis on Mideast...............

BOGOTA, Colombia — The United States is looking to avert a brewing year-end clash at the U.N. Security Council as it grapples with proposals to recognize Palestine as a state — over Israel's objections.
A series of meetings set for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry next week in Europe aims to unite different countries that, currently, are pushing conflicting proposals for a two-state solution to generations of war and tensions between Israel and Palestinians. Several nations, including Jordan and France, have proposed Security Council resolutions that they would like to see adopted before the end of the year.
"We're trying to figure out a way to help defuse the tensions and reduce the potential for more conflict," Kerry told reporters Friday in Bogota, where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. "We're exploring various possibilities to that end."
"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.
Israel has long objected to U.N. endorsement of a Palestinian state without first sealing a peace treaty between the two sides. Kerry sought to broker a peace deal between Israel and Palestinian authorities but fell short in April after nearly nine months of tense negotiations.
The push for Security Council action follows the failure of those talks, in addition to this summer's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip, and the recent upsurge in violence sparked by disputes over Jerusalem's hilltop complex that is revered by both Muslims and Jews.
U.S. officials say they aren't opposed to a new Security Council resolution, but that none of the drafts that have been offered so far are acceptable.
Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday, and later with European foreign ministers. He also spoke Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in what a U.S. official described as a conversation focused on the Middle East, including recent developments in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the region, and the potential U.N. action.