U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice strongly reaffirmed the Obama administration's commitment to the two-state solution that leads to a sovereign Palestinian state.
“The U.S. remains firmly committed to an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, living alongside a democratic Jewish state of Israel in peace and security.” Rice said.
Her remarks came in a keynote address to hundreds of Arab Americans from around the country Wednesday at the Arab American Institute Foundation's Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala.
Rice said while reassessing the U.S. approach to the Palestinian Israeli conflict, President Obama made it clear that resolving the conflict is in the national security interest of the United States.
She defined the requirements needed for the long-stalled peace deal. “There must be robust provisions for Israel’s security, the occupation must end and the Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves in their own sovereign state.” she added.
Rice called on the upcoming new Israeli government and the Palestinian authority to demonstrate through policies and actions a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.
She said the Obama administration opposes the Israeli settlement activities and efforts to change facts on the ground because it makes it harder to negotiate peace in good faith.
Rice reaffirmed the administration’s vision for a feasible peace agreement.
“Both Israel and an independent Palestinian state need secure and recognized borders based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps.” Rice said.
She said the U.S. continues to believe that a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “necessary, just and possible.”
The White House national security advisor underscored the progress that the U.S.-led coalition managed to achieve in the effort to degrade and eventually destroy the so called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“Together we have conducted more than 3500 airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria, damaging or destroying upwards of 5700 ISIL targets," Rice said.
She said while IS lost control of 25 to 30 percent of the populated areas it had seized in Iraq, and was forced to slow down its advance in Syria, rooting out the Islamic State from Syria would not be possible as long as the civil war persists.
Rice said the U.S. firmly believes that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and pledged that the administration will continue to pursue a negotiated political transition.
As for the crisis in Yemen, Rice said there is also no military solution and that is why the U.S. is working with all the parties to end the violence so that the U.N.-led political negotiations can resume promptly.
The White House national security advisor indicated that reaching a final agreement with Iran on its nuclear program would remove a huge security threat but nevertheless would not cease U.S. confrontation with Iran on its destabilizing role in the region.
Rice stressed that while there are no quick fixes to challenges facing the U.S. in the Middle East, the Obama administration is committed to continue working with its partners to promote “security, prosperity and dignity throughout the Middle East.”