US 'absolutely' committed to two-state solution, says UN ambassador

US 'absolutely' committed to two-state solution, says UN ambassador
Nikki Haley contradicts an earlier statement by Donald Trump suggesting that the US will not impose its preferred form of peace settlement on Israel and Palestine.
3 min read
17 February, 2017
Nikki Haley seemed to contradict a statement by Donald Trump made on Wednesday [Getty]
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday that her country still supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The ambassador's affirmation of the US' longstanding stance comes just a day after President Donald Trump suggested that he is open to other solutions.

"First of all, the two-state solution is what we support. Anybody that wants to say the United States does not support the two-state solution - that would be an error," Haley told reporters at the UN in New York.

"We absolutely support the two-state solution but we are thinking out of the box as well: which is what does it take to bring these two sides to the table; what do we need to have them agree on."

On Wednesday, Trump suggested a break with the two-state solution, which is a longstanding bedrock of Washington and the international community's policy for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

"I'm looking at two states and one state, and I like the one both parties like," Trump told a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "I can live with either one."

Haley on Thursday echoed Trump's sentiment about Washington not wishing to impose their preference on the two parties involved. 

"The solution to what will bring peace in the Middle East is going to come from the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority," Haley said. "The United States is just there to support the process."

The US envoy also went on to criticise the UN for alleged bias against Israel. She called Thursday's scheduled Security Council meeting on the Middle East "focused on criticising Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East".

She added that the US would not back resolutions condemning Israel, like the one passed in December that called for the end of settlement building.

"I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore," Haley said. "I am here to emphasise that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN's anti-Israel bias."

Following Trump's ambiguity about his commitment to the two-state solution on Wednesday, French and British diplomats came forward to reiterate their commitment to the longstanding policy of many Western states.

"The UK continues to believe that the best solution for peace in the Middle East is the two-state solution," said Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador to the UN.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday made a similar statement while on a trip to Cairo, warning that there is no way to a peaceful settlement of the conflict other than a two-state solution.