WASHINGTON (AP) “” The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt’s draft constitution despite spirited internal debate over whether the document adequately protects women, religious minorities and dissenting voices.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland lamented the lack of consensus in Egypt’s constitution-writing process. She says how people in Egypt view the draft is most important.
If Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi approves the constitution, it goes to a national referendum.
Nuland’s restraint didn’t reflect the views of all in the administration.
U.S. officials said there were internal debates over whether to criticize the draft constitution for limiting freedom of expression, failing to grant freedom of worship, criminalizing blasphemy and eroding women’s rights guarantees.…
“New Israeli Settlements Set Back Peace, Clinton Says,” by Scott Stearns for the Voice of America, December 1:
WASHINGTON “” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Israeli plans for new settlements near East Jerusalem do not help efforts to bring about a two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis.
Clinton told Israeli officials in Washington that plans for new settlements abutting East Jerusalem “set back the cause of a negotiated peace.”
“We all need to work together to find a path forward in negotiations that can finally deliver on a two-state solution. That must remain our goal,” Clinton said….