US Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk has resigned, US officials said June 27.
Indyk will return to the Brookings Institution as vice president and director of foreign policy studies on July 1, the State Department announced. He will stay on as an adviser as needed to Secretary of State John Kerry and is willing to return to the envoy position if the peace process resumes, officials said.
Indyk's deputy, Frank Lowenstein, will serve as acting special envoy in the meantime, Kerry announced in a statement. “Ambassador Indyk has invested decades of his extraordinary career to the mission of helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace … and I'm grateful for the wisdom and insight he's brought to our collective efforts," Kerry said.
The Associated Press first reported on June 27 that Indyk was resigning. He had been at the White House on June 25 for an event to honor outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Indyk's resignation comes three months after US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down, having made little progress over the past year. Israeli relations with the Palestinian Authority have deteriorated in the months since, after the formation of a Palestinian unity government, denounced by Israel, and the kidnapping of three Israeli yeshiva students from Hebron this month.
On June 26, Israel identified two alleged Hamas operatives as suspects behind the kidnapping. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity government with Hamas, which Israel accuses of having orchestrated the kidnapping.
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