John Kerry outlines Middle East policy at hearing
John Kerry, US President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of state, has said that should he be appointed he would push for a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during his confirmation hearing, Aljazeera reported.
Kerry was questioned by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he has chaired for the past four years.
"We need to try to find a way forward, and I happen to believe that there is a way forward," Kerry, who will replace Hillary Clinton, told the committee on Thursday.
"But I also believe that if we can't be successful, the door, window ... to the possibility of a two-state solution could shut on everybody, and that would be disastrous in my judgment," he said.
The peace talks between Israel and Palestine broke down in 2010.
Kerry, 69, a five-time Massachusetts senator, also stressed his commitment to Obama's policy of seeking a diplomatic solution to persuade Iran to give up its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Tehran says its programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
"He and I prefer a diplomatic resolution to this challenge and I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed," Kerry said. "But no one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat."
Kerry said "everybody's very hopeful that we can make some progress on the diplomatic front now" and that Obama had made clear his willingness to have direct negotiations with Iran if need be.
On Syria, Kerry said there was a moment where Bashar al-Assad, the president, impelled partly by his desire to find jobs for his "burgeoning" youthful population, had an interest in improving relations with the US, but that he missed the opportunity.
"He has made a set of judgments that are inexcusable, that are reprehensible and I think is not long for remaining as the head of state in Syria," he said.
Kerry visited Damascus repeatedly before the outbreak of the country's devastating civil war and was a proponent of US re-engagement with the Syrian president.