Kerry to miss deadline on Islamic State genocide question
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, in this file photo dated June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

 WASHINGTON: A State Department spokesman says Secretary of State John Kerry will miss Congress’s deadline for deciding whether atrocities by the Islamic State against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria should be considered genocide.

Spokesman Mark Toner says Kerry is taking a “measured” approach and his decision would come soon.

Toner says officials at the State Department, intelligence agencies and non-governmental organizations are providing evidence and “if this delays the process, it’s worth it.”

Congress set a March 17 deadline for Kerry, and the House passed a non-binding resolution this week condemning the Islamic State actions as genocide ahead of the State Department’s decision.

A genocide determination could require additional U.S. military or diplomatic action, or prompt a referral to the U.N. for possible prosecution by a criminal tribunal.

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