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Kerry To Deliver Speech On Middle East Peace

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Secretary of State John Kerry plans to deliver a speech on the Obama administration's vision for Middle East peace as early as this week, several U.S. officials told CNN.

The speech comes as the administration has drawn the ire of Israeli officials for refusing to block a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction.

The UN Security Council approved the resolution last Friday, with the U.S. abstaining rather than maintaining its usual policy of vetoing such resolutions.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told Israel's Channel 2 news Kerry will lay out a "comprehensive vision for how we see the conflict being resolved."

Rhodes noted that the speech comes as President Barack Obama will "unfortunately" finish out his time in office without there being significant progress toward peace.

The UN resolution calls on Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

The abstention by the U.S. has been described as a parting shot by Obama, who has been a vocal critic of the settlement construction.

President-elect Donald Trump had called on the Obama administration to veto the resolution, claiming it would put Israel in a very poor negotiating position.

In a statement following the vote, Kerry said the U.S. was acting with the primary objective of preserving the possibility of a two-state solution.

"While we do not agree with every aspect of this Resolution, it rightly condemns violence and incitement and settlement activity and calls on both sides to take constructive steps to reverse current trends and advance the prospects for a two state solution," Kerry said.

Kerry noted he would speak further on the vote and share more detailed thoughts on the way ahead in the coming days.

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