“In the Middle East too, change will come and eventually come to stay. But, we must recall that lasting change can only be forged by those who own it, by the people of the region. And yet, through their long and arduo us journey, the United States will stand fast with those who share our fundamental interests and values,” saidRice while speaking at the Middle East Institute’s annual banquet and conference.
– US fully invested in Middle East peace
“We are fully invested to give these negotiations their best shot to succeed, because failing to resolve this issue would have profoundly negative consequences over the long term—for the United States, for Israel and for the Palestinians,” she said.
Rice attributed some of what she termed “tensions on the ground” to recent announcements of new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
Still, the National Security Advisor maintained that an end to the bitter conflict would improve the region’s prospects for stability.
She added, “Ending this conflict surely will not solve all the region’s challenges, but a peaceful resolution would go a long way to anchor stability, undermine extremism, and recast relationships between Israelis and Palestinians.”
”The only way forward is through a negotiated political settlement that will end the violence and protect the rights of all Syrians,” she said. She hailed the decision of the Syrian National Coalition to attend the Geneva II peace talks.
Still, Rice maintained that the Syrian opposition “must understand that no one benefits from a collapse of state institutions.”
– Iranian initiative must be tested
“We owe it to ourselves and to the world to test—to test— whether they are, in fact, serious,” said Rice of the Iranians.
Rice maintained that talks in Geneva over this past weekend were “substantive”, despite the fact that they failed to reach an accord.
“The latest round of talks in Geneva was substantive, and the P5+1 stood united. But, we have not yet reached a deal. And that is because the P5+1 will not accept anything less than concrete, verifiable terms that ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be entirely peaceful,” she said.
Negotiations between world powers and Iran will reconvene on November 20.