Clinton: U.S. stands with Israel, warns Iran
July 16, 2012 1 Comment
By Jennifer Packer, Political Analyst
Washington, July 16 — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a 24-hour stop in Israel, reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security and the two nations were on the “same page” in their determination to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The United States, she said, will “use all elements of American power” to do so.
Speaking to reporters following a dinner meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton said, “America’s commitment to Israel is rock solid.” Earlier, she met with President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Clinton, addressing a range of regional challenges, stressed the Obama administration’s concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons pursuit.
“Israel and the U.S. are on the same page,” said Clinton. “Iran is under greater pressure now than ever before. We all prefer a diplomatic solution and Iran’s leaders still have an option to solve this.” Despite three rounds of talks, she said, Iran “It seems Iran didn’t make a decision to fulfill the international community’s demands.”
Clinton’s trip to Israel came on the heels of a visit to Egypt, where she met with newly elected President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Clinton said she told Morsi she expected Egypt to “play a constructive role in the Middle East” and uphold its 33-year-old peace treaty with Israel.
Beyond that, she said, much remains to be seen about how the government leads the country. “Egyptians are concerned about the future,” Clinton said. “There are many unanswered questions.”
Speaking about the peace process, Clinton said the United States is working closely with both sides to reach a resolution and plans to build on the recent exchange of letters between Abbas and Netanyahu.
“Peace won’t wait,” said the secretary of state. “The responsibility is on all of us to push the peace process forward.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in welcoming remarks to Clinton before her press conference, said, “We have to invest every effort to…see if we can move the process forward.”On the issue of Iran, he said, “We have our common effort to make sure that Iran not achieve its ambition of developing nuclear weapons.”
Clinton also expressed concern about Syria and the need to push for sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government to stop the increasing violence, which the International Red Cross has now classified as a civil war.
“This regime cannot survive,” Clinton said. “I just wish it would move out of the way sooner than later so more lives can be saved.”