U.S.: Mideast peace slowed by U.N. measures

Dec. 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Resolutions passed by the U.N. General Assembly won't do much to facilitate the Middle East peace process, a U.S. official said from Bahrain.

Bahrain is the host for an annual conference on diplomacy and national defense. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said there that, despite a so-called pivot to Asia, Washington can't afford to ignore outstanding concerns in the Middle East.

The Egyptian government last month helped broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Israel during the crisis said it was defending itself against incessant rocket fire from Hamas-controlled territory in Gaza.

After the fighting stopped, Palestinian leaders were able to get enough support to upgrade their status at the U.N. General Assembly.

Burns said a "re-energized" effort was needed to resolve a "combustible" crisis brewing between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"Progress toward a stable, secure future for the Middle East depends significantly upon progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace and it's a mistake to ignore that complicated reality," he said.

Resolutions at the U.N. General Assembly, however, won't bring a solution any closer. Settlement activity on the part of the Israeli government, meanwhile, is corrosive to the peace process, said Burns.

Israel was criticized for announcing settlement activity after the Palestinian vote at the U.N. General Assembly.

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