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INTERNATIONAL > Israel, US must think and act together in Mideast: Clinton

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US Secretary of State Clinton and Israel’s president discuss Iran’s potential production of nuclear weapons, violence in Syria and relations with Egypt. Clinton urges to advance security and stability goals

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US Secretary of State Clinton (L) and Israel’s Peres hug after a statement at the president’s
residence in Jerusalem. Clinton brings a message of solidarity to Israel. AP photo

US Secretary of State Clinton (L) and Israel’s Peres hug after a statement at the president’s residence in Jerusalem. Clinton brings a message of solidarity to Israel. AP photo

At a time when talks on Tehran’s nuclear program between Iran and Western powers have stalled, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited close ally, Israel, following her trip to Egypt.

Israel and the United States must think and act together to face the current changes sweeping the Middle East, Clinton said yesterday after meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

“We have to do whatever we can to prevent Iran from endangering the freedom and independence of other people,” Peres said. “The coalition you have built - and a coalition should have been built, it’s not a matter for one country - and the measures that you have taken, are beginning to have their impact,” he told Clinton in his public remarks.

Clinton, who arrived late July 15 after two days of talks with the new leadership in Egypt, hailed recent events in the country as a “moment of great change and transformation in the region.” “It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity. It is a chance to advance our shared goals of security, stability, peace and democracy,” she said in remarks to the press after talks with Peres focusing on Egypt, Syria, Iran’s nuclear program and peace efforts with the Palestinians. “It is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together,” she said.

Three rounds of high level meetings between Tehran and Western powers on nuclear program this year, in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow, have failed to achieve significant success. The talks are in stall at the moment.

Brief on talks in Cairo

Meanwhile, Clinton met with her Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman early yesterday before her talks with Peres, briefing both on her discussions in Cairo. Peres thanked Clinton for her efforts to shore up the peace between Israel and the new Egyptian leadership.

“We appreciate very much that immediately after Egypt, you came to us with your latest impressions because for us, as well as for the United States, Egypt is a key country in the Middle East and much depends on Egypt, and a little bit on us as well, to continue the great march of peace,” he said. “Israel is very much interested in keeping the peace with the largest Arab country.” Ahead of her arrival, a top State Department official said Washington’s top diplomat wanted to have “a broader strategic conversation” with the Israelis following the sweeping changes across the region. It would be a kind of “comparing of strategic notes,” he said, adding that she would also bring Israeli leaders “up to speed” on diplomatic efforts to try to end the bloodshed in Syria. Later in the day Clinton was to meet Netanyahu and Defenses Minister Ehud Barak. In Jerusalem she was set to also see Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad but not President Mahmoud Abbas, whom she met on July 6 in Paris.

Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

July/17/2012

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