In a move symbolizing the collapse of the latest American effort to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, U.S. special Mideast envoy Martin Indyk resigned on Friday to return to a Washington think-tank.
Indyk’s departure was forecast in earlier reports due to the failure of the talks, but no formal announcement was made until now.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, would return to his position as vice president and director of foreign policy at The Brookings Institution think-tank in Washington but would continue to serve as special adviser on Mideast peace issues.
“Ambassador Indyk has invested decades of his extraordinary career to the mission of helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace. It’s the cause of Martin’s career, and I’m grateful for the wisdom and insight he’s brought to our collective efforts,” Kerry said.
“The United States remains committed not just to the cause of peace, but to resuming the process when the parties find a path back to serious negotiations,” Kerry said.
With the peace process on hiatus, it is unclear whether Indyk will be replaced. His deputy, Frank Lowenstein, will assume the envoy position on an interim basis.
Indyk’s resignation marks the second time Obama has lost a Mideast peace envoy following a failed bid to bring the parties together. Former Sen. George Mitchell stepped down from the post in May 2011 after two years of frustrating efforts to get negotiations going during President Barack Obama’s first term.