Kerrys priorities: Mideast peace talks, stopping nuclear Iran

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who was confirmed Jan. 29 as secretary of state, emphasized a return to Israeli-Palestinian talks and keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon at Senate hearings in advance of his confirmation.

Reports that President Barack Obama was giving up on Middle East peacemaking were “overblown,” Kerry said Jan. 24.

Referring to last week’s Israeli election, which saw a diminution of right-wing representation in the Knesset, Kerry said, “I pray that maybe this will be a moment that will allow us to renew the effort to bring the parties to the negotiating table and go down a different path than the one they were on in the last few years.”

Kerry said he joined Obama in his resolve to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “Our policy is not containment. It is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance.” — jta