(AA) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended Israel before the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, slamming the 47-member-state group for its “excessive bias” against Israel.
“There has been an excessive bias in our judgment on one country,” Kerry told reporters in Geneva after addressing the UN Human Rights Council. “The U.S. will oppose any effort by any group or any participant to abuse the UN system in order to delegitimize or isolate Israel.”
UN bodies have been critical of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and human rights violations.
Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov also held talks in Geneva as the death toll in Ukraine exceeded 6,000, according to a new UN report released Monday.
Kerry said he reiterated the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreement, signed between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists on Feb. 12.
“If that does not happen,… there would be inevitably further consequences that would place further strain on Russia’s already troubled economy,” Kerry said.
Kerry also said that no deal has been reached yet regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
“Right now, no deal exists, no partial deal exists and unless Iran is able to make the difficult decisions that will be required, there won’t be a deal,” Kerry said. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
“We have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go and the clock is ticking,” he added.
Iran and “the P5+1 group” — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — have already missed two deadlines for a permanent deal on Iran’s nuclear program in negotiations that have been ongoing since 2003.
Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif met late Monday in the Swiss city of Montreux in an effort to meet a March 31 deadline for a political framework agreement after months-long negotiations.
Western powers fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and want Tehran to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Iran, however, says its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes.
The deal sought by the six-nation group would have Iran accept limits on its uranium enrichment capacity and allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspections without interference of any kind.