Canadian Foreign Minister at AIPAC Voices Skepticism Over Recent P5 + 1 Talks
by Zach Pontz
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird spoke today at AIPAC noting that recent negotiations between the P5 + 1 nations and Iran in Kazakhstan proved fruitless and that “Diplomacy matters, but actions are important as well.”
“We must be clear and unequivocal: we will not back down on sanctions and pressure just for Iran showing up at negotiating table,” he said. Of the current sanctions Baird sounded a skeptical note: “The sanctions have not fundamentally changed Iranian leadership,” he said.
Baird also addressed the current impasse in Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace discussions. Canada “strongly supports the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he said, but criticized the current environment that had been reduced to “negotiating about negotiating” saying that it “won’t lead anywhere.”
Baird expressed deep disappointment over the PA’s upgrade at the UN last year, a move Canada opposed, and he criticized comments made by Abbas during his speech. “He could have extended an olive branch to Israel–he could have been generous–but we didn’t see any generosity in his remarks,” Baird said. “Only peace will be through negotiations between the two sides. it won’t happen at the UN and it won’t happen at the ICC, ” he concluded.