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December 21, 2020 4:38 pm

Trump ‘Overturned’ Mideast Peace Assumptions, US Envoy Tells UN Security Council

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US Ambassador to UN Kelly Craft speaks to reporters after attending her first Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mike Segar.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Monday during a monthly session on the Middle East, US Ambassador Kelly Craft asserted that President Donald Trump’s policies had “overturned” long-held views about diplomacy in the region.

“For decades, the prevailing assumption was that the world would only see normalized international relations with Israel following a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,” Craft told the virtual meeting. “But we have proven this assumption wrong.”

She touted the Trump administration’s pursuit of “economic and cultural ties” between Israel and its Arab neighbors, which has led to normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Similar deals with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, among others, could also be in the offing.

“All of us here should think long and hard about what else we may have missed or misinterpreted over the years,” said Craft, who also announced on Monday that she would be visiting Israel this week.

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“These decades-old approaches have not only fallen short; they have stymied regional economic cooperation and growth, and they have largely prevented Israelis and Palestinians from establishing friendly relations,” added Craft, who urged the Palestinians to to return to direct talks with Israel based on the peace plan proposed by Trump earlier this year.

The ambassador’s remarks followed a briefing by the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, who called for a “return to the path of meaningful negotiations.”

In January, Mladenov will be replaced by Tor Wennesland, a Norwegian diplomat who has been involved in Middle East peacemaking efforts since the Oslo era. 

Another virtual UN meeting on Monday brought together officials from six parties to the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump left in 2018. Foreign ministers from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Iran welcomed “the prospect of a return of the US” to the 2015 accord after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month.

Biden has tapped Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Liberia, to succeed Craft.

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