Of course it was just a slip. It had to be, right?
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the new European Union’s High Representative Federica Mogherini spoke together to the international press following their “working lunch” in Brussels on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
First Mogherini mentioned some of the topics she and Kerry had just discussed, such as the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership, Russian activity in Ukraine, the situation in Syria and Iraq, and the fight against ISIS – she referred to it by the Arabic name, Daesh – and other “terrorists in the area.”
The new High Representative ticked off the “extremely worrying situation” in Libya, implementation of the Minsk Agreement and a “discussion on the Middle East peace process” – the latter being something “where we are looking forward to work together.”
Mogherini let everyone know that the Middle East peace work Kerry “has done in the last months needs to be resumed,” and that the EU knows how dedicated Kerry is to the peace process and stands ready to “support the continuation” of his efforts.
Then it was Kerry’s turn to speak.
The U.S. secretary of state pretty much repeated the list of topics Mogherini had just mentioned. But he strung together a very odd constellation of words to discuss the Mideast peace process.
He did this by starting with a brief feint towards humor or exasperation or something less than diplomatic:
We also talked about the Mideast peace process, which may at this particular moment be a misnomer but nevertheless something that we are deeply committed to, and we will work on it.
Then Kerry explained what he thought was absolutely essential if there is to be any solution achieved with respect to mideast peace.
Kerry ticked off the various stakeholders who need to be committed and who must lend their support to any Middle East peace solution. He said that the global community must support any solution. Kerry also said any solution needs the support of the Arab community, and he also made clear he intends to work with the EU, by consulting and working closely with Mogherini.
Here is what he said about the Middle East peace process:
The United States believes that any solution that is ultimately going to be achieved, if there can be one, is going to achieved on a multilateral basis; it needs the support of the EU, it needs the support of the Arab community, it needs the support of the global community in order to take effect. And we will continue to work, and I will continue to consult with and work closely with Federica with respect to that.
Apparently Kerry forgot that Israel’s support will be essential for any Middle East peace process. At least we hope he just forgot.