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We don‘t see action in the United Nations or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about that desired outcome. The United States is working to keep the focus where we think it needs to be, and that‘s not in New York.

As we have consistently said, permanent-status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties – and not by recourse to the Security Council. We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council and will continue to do so, because such action moves us no closer to the goal of a negotiated final settlement. Rather, we believe it would only complicate efforts to achieve that goal.

It is critical that both sides find a way to return to talks. The current impasse is of great concern and I urge all parties to take immediate steps to secure a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine – a peace that both peoples need and deserve. We firmly believe that this should see a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is the solution which offers the best prospect of a just and sustainable peace.

The Iranian nuclear challenge will stay significant. This or that timetable won‘t change the fact that Iran is striving to achieve military nuclear capability, and in certain scenarios can shorten the time [needed].

Having visited Israel many times in the past, I am delighted to be visiting today for the first time as Minister for the Middle East to further strengthen the deep friendship between the UK and Israel. Deputy Minister Ayalon and I had productive meeting today that emphasized our close partnership on bilateral and regional issues. We discussed a range of things including the urgent need to find a way to move forward on the peace process.

The efforts by the Hezbollah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government‘s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people.