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Source: United States of America
21 December 2011



Victoria Nuland
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC
December 21, 2011

TRANSCRIPT:

12:52 p.m. EST

/...

QUESTION: Yes, Toria. Yesterday, the four members of the European Union on the Security Council issued a statement calling occupied territories and settlements in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem as illegal under international law. Do you concur?

MS. NULAND: Said, as you know, we declined to join that statement for all of the usual reasons. It doesn’t change the fact that our longstanding policy remains that we don’t recognize the legitimacy of the continued Israeli settlements, but we don’t think statements in the UNSC are the way to pursue the goal of getting these parties back to the table. The best way to deal with this issue of land, settlement, et cetera, is for these parties to talk to each other, come up with borders, and then have two states living side by side in agreed borders.

QUESTION: Okay. Also, after the closed session, 14 members of the Security Council, one by one, criticized the position of the United States for not condemning the continued expansion of settlement. Do you have a response to that?

MS. NULAND: We do not believe that this is business that needs to be done in the UN Security Council. We are absolutely clear with Israel where we stand on these issues. But shouting from the rooftops of the Security Council is not going to change the situation on the ground, which is that these parties have to get back to the table and settle these issues together, and that’s the way we’re going to have a lasting, stable peace.

QUESTION: And lastly --

QUESTION: And yet shouting from the rooftops from the Security Council on Syria is going to make a difference?

MS. NULAND: Well, we’ve spoken about the concrete actions we want to see the Security Council take.

QUESTION: Well, you don’t have a chance of getting them through if the Chinese and the Russians still aren’t onboard. So what’s wrong with – why is it – what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander here? Why – I just don’t get it. Do the – why does screaming and yelling at the Security Council on Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, North Korea – why does that – what is that all a good thing and something – on Burma, for – and yet – and when it comes to Israel, it’s absolutely not?

MS. NULAND: Every situation is different. In this case, the answer to the problems in Israel with the Palestinian people can only be resolved when they sit down and talk to each other. They cannot be resolved in the Security Council. That’s our longstanding view. The Security Council can take action, we believe, on Syria. It can take action on other issues. So you need to use the appropriate tool at the appropriate time.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t get it. Why can they take --

MS. NULAND: I’m sorry you don’t get it.

QUESTION: Why can they take action in Zimbabwe and Syria and they can’t take action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

MS. NULAND: It’s not going to lead to the result that we all want, which is --

QUESTION: Well, it’s not going to lead to the result anywhere else, either.

MS. NULAND: -- two states living side by side. Well, I’m sorry that you’re so cynical about the UN’s ability --

QUESTION: I have one --

MS. NULAND: -- to have an impact.

Please.

QUESTION: -- final question on this issue. Mr. Churkin, the Russian Ambassador, said that one delegation – meaning you – one delegation believes the thing will miraculously sort themselves out. Do you believe that things will miraculously sort themselves out on the Palestinian issue?

MS. NULAND: There are no miracles to be had here. There is hard work to be done by the parties, supported by the international community. That is why we’ve been working so hard to try to get the Quartet proposal implemented, why our negotiator David Hale’s been in constant motion on these issues, and why we continue to talk to these parties and try to get them back to the table.

/...

(The briefing was concluded at 1:34 p.m.)

DPB # 198


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