(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with ABC News about the
peace process, Lebanon and the Iranian threat in Brussels on Thursday.
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Speaking about the direct talks with the Palestinian Authority being
stalled after only two weeks, Clinton said that “If this were easy, it
would have been solved a long time ago. It’s an incredibly complex and
emotionally charged situation.”
Clinton said she understood that “security is paramount” for Israel. Clinton recognized that Israel was wary of a repeat of the “experience of having left Lebanon and now having Hizbullah and rockets on their border, having left Gaza and now having Hamas and rockets on their border."
“Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu have to believe that any peace deal will lead to greater, not lesser security. The Palestinians, who have long sought the right to have their own state, deserve to have those aspirations satisfied,” she said.
Both sides in the negotiations “have a lot of concerns about how it will be done and whether it will be viable,” she said. Clinton emphasized her’s and the US government’s commitment to the talks, saying that she came to the situation with a great understanding of the difficulty involved.
Despite the difficulties, Clinton expressed optimism, saying that she was “convinced that both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu want to be the leaders that resolve this conflict. But they each have internal and external pressures that are bearing down on them that make it an extremely difficult and sensitive negotiation.
The US continues to work every day to create the environment that the parties need to hold their “very serious negotiation,” she said.
Speaking about the volatility in the region as a result of Teheran’s actions, Clinton said that the Palestinians and many Arab leaders “are united against the kind of rhetoric and actions that Iran is taking, and the threat that Iran poses with its pursuit of nuclear weapons and with its support of terrorism.”
Referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon that began on
Wednesday, Clinton continued, “When the Iranian president goes to
Lebanon, and we know that they are supporting financially and in every
other way Hizbullah, which is on the border of Israel and the border of
the Palestinian areas, then that is a volatile situation.”
continued, “So this man coming and being so volatile and using language
that is inflammatory is just true to form. We saw him do it in New York
[at the UN General Assembly last month], we see him do it around the
world, and it reflects an attitude in the Iranian government that
unfortunately has caused many in the region to be quite concerned about
their intentions and their actions.”
Clinton spoke about the
sanctions that the UN, the US and EU have placed on Iran, saying the US
has worked “hard for the last year to get those sanctions in place. And
we have lots of evidence that those sanctions against Iran are working.”
the Iranians have recently made statements indicating their desire to
return to negotiations with the US and the EU, “they are defiant and
they are incredibly difficult to deal with. It’s what we have to cope
with every single day,” she said.
The US is constantly trying “to
prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon, which, in the hands of
leadership like we’ve seen, would be incredibly destabilizing,” Clinton