WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Just days after the United Nations Security Council condemned the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank -- a move permitted by President Barack Obama's administration -- the top U.S. diplomat will address the situation on Wednesday.
Secretary of State John Kerry will hold a news conference Wednesday morning at the State Department, in which he will discuss peace prospects for the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The news conference, announced Tuesday, will begin at 11 a.m. EST and will be open to reporters. Kerry will lay out the Obama administration's vision for resolving the conflict, a State Department spokesman said.
Last week, the United States abstained from voting on a U.N. resolution that called on the Israeli government to stop construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank, and dismantle all homes built there since 2001.
It was the council's first passed resolution for the Middle East peace process in nearly a decade.
Obama's administration could have vetoed the resolution by voting against it, as it has done in the past, but Kerry said White House officials feared that such a veto would place a potential two-state solution at "grave risk."
"The Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said after the resolution was passed Thursday. "The United States has been sending a message that settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades."
"We will do whatever is necessary so that Israel will not be damaged by this shameful resolution and I also tell the ministers here, we must act prudently, responsibly and calmly, in both actions and words," he said. "As I told John Kerry on Thursday -- friends do not take friends to the Security Council."