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US for "two-state solution" to Mid-East conflict: Clinton

March 03, 2009 22:03 IST

Delivering a strong message to Israel on her first official visit here, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the Obama administration stands for "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"During the Sharm el-Sheik conference, I emphasised President Obama's and my commitment to working to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians," Clinton said who is on her first visit to the region in the capacity of Secretary of State.
Clinton also pledged "support for the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayad."
Allaying fears that US President Barack Obama's administration may not cooperate with a right-wing formation
in Jerusalem under Benjamin Netanyahu, she said after meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, "We will work with the government of Israel that represents the democratic will of the people of Israel."
Stressing US' firm commitment to Israel's security, she supported harsh measures against rocket attacks on the country's southern territory. "There is no doubt that any nation, including Israel, cannot stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks," the US Secretary of State said.

The meeting with Israel's Nobel laureate Israeli President was Clinton's first such engagement of a two-day round

of talks scheduled with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.  She is scheduled to meet Prime Minister-designate, Netanyahu, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni today and will travel to the West Bank town of Ramallah tomorrow to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  
Clinton stressed on the need for a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue that could become a bone of contention between the US and the next government headed by Netanyahu.
Netanyahu plans to tell Clinton during their talks later today that his government will continue peace talks with the Palestinians, Likud party lawmaker Silvan Shalom said. "I think that Hillary Clinton, when she comes today, will find Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to continue to hold negotiations, not only on economic projects but also political
negotiations, a political process," Shalom said.
Israel will also present the US Secretary of State with a series of "red lines" it wants Washington to incorporate into its planned dialogue with Tehran about Iran's nuclear programme, political sources in Jerusalem said.
Clinton arrived in Jerusalem on Monday evening from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where she pledged US $ 900 million American aid at an international donors conference for rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Israel's
offensive against its Hamas rulers.

Harendra Mishra in Jerusalem
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