State Department: America's "ultimate goal" remains the same

U.S. State Department Acting Spokesman Mark C. Toner told journalists at the daily press briefing on 27 December that U.S. “ultimate goals” — including”an effort that will lead to direct negotiations and ultimately a comprehensive settlement” — remain the same.

And, he said (but only in response to a question) the U.S. is still committed to a Palestinian State “within” the 1967 borders — “with legitimate swaps”…

Here are excerpts from the State Department transcript of the briefing, sent via email:

M. TONER:We continue to work to bring both parties back into direct negotiations and to achieve a comprehensive settlement. And frankly, responding to various comments by various officials or government officials is not an effective way to do that. We’re trying to maintain close consultations with both parties, and again, in an effort that will lead to direct negotiations and ultimately a comprehensive settlement“.

QUESTION: One more. Many countries in South America are recognizing a Palestinian state now in a unilateral way. Are you giving a [yellow] light to these countries…?

M. TONER: “That’s okay, Samir. We’ve been very, very clear about our concerns regarding unilateral actions by either party that would in any way jeopardize what remains our ultimate goal, which is to return to direct negotiations and to reach a final – or a comprehensive settlement, a peace settlement. So – and we’ve said on the record many times that we would believe that Palestinian efforts for unilateral independence would fall into that category“.

QUESTION: Sorry, Mark. A follow-up on one of the previous Middle East peace process questions. Is the U.S. still committed to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders?

M. TONER: “Yes. I don’t have the chapter and verse in front of me, but I believe that’s the – with legitimate swaps. I’d have to check the wording, so I’m hesitant to say on the record because I don’t have the wording in front of me. But we’ve said it many times on the record, and I just would refer you to previous statements by Senator Mitchell“.

DPB # 210

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