In meetings Monday with Israeli leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on them to take steps to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.
According to the website Inyan Merkazi, Clinton has received a promise from Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi that he would not end the closure of the Gaza Strip.
During Monday night’s news conference, which began an hour late, Clinton reiterated that the U.S. “commitment to Israel is rock solid. By strengthening Israel’s security we are strengthening U.S. security.”
In her meeting with President Shimon Peres, Clinton said:
“I am here in Jerusalem on such a beautiful day at 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 goal of security, stability, peace, and democracy, along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future.”
She added: “And it is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together. We are called to be smart, creative, and courageous.”
According to Clinton, Israel and the United States are on the same page on Iran, Clinton later told reporters in Jerusalem.
“We remain focused on relaunching peace talks,” Clinton said to the reporters, adding that the international community can help but it was up to the parties to do the work.
Clinton also said that during her meetings with Egyptian authorities in Cairo, she offered the message that the U.S. wants the new leadership in Egypt to uphold its peace treaty with Israel.
Clinton arrived in Israel on Monday and met first with President Shimon Peres, where she said they spoke about “Egypt and Syria, peace efforts, Iran and other regional and global issues.” She then met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad before holding the news conference.
She will return to the United States on Tuesday, capping a 12-day, nine-country trip. It is her first visit to Israel in two years and possibly her last as secretary of state.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem next week for talks on Iran’s nuclear program and the situation in Syria, which has been called a civil war by the International Red Cross.
The U.S. National Security Council said Sunday that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon visited Israel over the weekend for consultations with Netanyahu, Barak and his Israeli counterpart, Gen. Yaakov Amidror.
In a statement, NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters on Sunday evening that Donilon had reaffirmed the “unwavering commitment” of the United States to Israel’s security. He said Donilon’s visit was the latest in a series of ongoing U.S. consultations with Israeli officials on a range of regional security issues.
JTA content was used in this report.
Jewish Press Staff