WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- Picking Rami Hamdallah as the Palestinian prime minister is a chance to build on the goal of independence, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday named Hamdallah, the president of An-Najah National University, prime minister. Kerry said he welcomed the appointment.
"Together, we can choose the path of a negotiated two-state settlement that will allow Palestinians to fulfill their legitimate aspirations, and continue building the institutions of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state that will live in peace, security, and economic strength alongside Israel," he said in a statement.
Kerry visited the region last month to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Kerry said was convinced the time was right to press for peace even though "it's not on the tip of everybody's tongue."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague posted a statement Monday on his Twitter account saying he offered Hamdallah his government's "support in advancing the peace process and building a Palestinian state."
Hague met last month with Abbas in Ramallah. The British government said he was there in support of Kerry's efforts to breathe life into the Middle East peace process.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2013 would be a decisive year for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Palestinian leaders gained more recognition from the U.N. General Assembly last year.