WASHINGTON — The United States, a veto-wielding permanent UN Security Council member, will use "the tools that we have" to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, a top US diplomat said Thursday.
"We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues," Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee.
"We have had some success, at least for the moment, in not having that arise there. And we will continue to employ the tools that we have to make sure that continues to not happen," said Steinberg.
The resolution condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- in line with the policy of world powers including the United States, though Washington has opposed the measure.
"The only way that this is going to be resolved is through engagement through the parties, and that is our clear and consistent position," said Steinberg.
Palestinians have rejected US-brokered Middle East peace talks since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a settlement moratorium that expired on September 28.
Steinberg also told the lawmakers that Washington was making a vigorous diplomatic campaign to stop countries from declaring their recognition of an independent Palestinian state, as several Latin American nations have done.
"We have made very clear to a lot of countries ... that we think this is counterproductive. I'm disappointed, frankly, that we haven't had more success, but it has been in our engagement at the highest levels," he said.
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