Clinton to visit Middle East for Gaza talks: US
PHNOM PENH - Agence France-Presse
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) attends the 4th ASEAN-US Leaders' Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 19 November 2012.EPA PhotoUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave Asia today to visit Israel, Egypt and Ramallah, a US official said, as the United States pushes to avoid an escalation of the Gaza crisis.
Clinton will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, then discuss the crisis with Egyptian and Palestinian leaders, after leaving President Barack Obama's trip to Southeast Asia, the official said.
Obama made the decision to send Clinton after speaking to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Netanyahu late on Monday night, deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said.
"Secretary Clinton will emphasise the US interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel's security and regional security," Rhodes said, though stopped short of calling Clinton's trip a mediating mission.
News of Clinton's trip came as Israeli leaders Tuesday discussed an Egyptian plan for a truce with Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group and after the death toll from Israeli raids on the enclave rose to more than 100.