Marie Harf

Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

February 5, 2015

INDEX FOR TODAY'S BRIEFING

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MIDDLE EAST PEACE

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TRANSCRIPT:

1:22 p.m. EST

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QUESTION: Can we go to the Palestinian issue?

MS. HARF: We can.

QUESTION: I know that Jen said on Tuesday that in general you don’t support the Human Rights Commission after the stepping down of Judge Schabas. But yesterday, a new person took over the commission, former New York prosecutor Mary McGowan Davis. Do you still have the same position that you don’t support any kind of commission, any kind of an investigatory commission?

MS. HARF: I’m happy to check and see if our position has changed.

QUESTION: Okay. Let me just ask you a couple of things on the issue of settlements. The Palestinians issued a report yesterday or the day before that 2014 was the worst year for settlements; that more than 16,000 units and 33 different settlements were added during that year while most of that year negotiations were ongoing, or for part of that year negotiations were ongoing. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. HARF: Well, I haven’t seen those numbers, but our position on settlements is certainly clear: that we don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity, and we’ve called on the parties to take steps to create a positive atmosphere, particularly for negotiations. And our position on settlements has certainly not changed.

QUESTION: And finally, there is – there are reports that Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is visiting Ramallah sometime next week. Do you have any comment on that? Are you aware of these reports?

MS. HARF: I hadn’t seen those.

QUESTION: Okay. He’s going to Cairo, I think, on Monday, and then from there he will go to —

MS. HARF: Certainly, he’s free to travel and have discussions where he would like.

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