(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with ABC News about the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Lebanon, and the Iranian threat on Thursday in Brussels.
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Speaking about the peace process being stalled only two weeks after beginning, Secretary Clinton admitted that, "If this were easy, it would have been solved a long time ago." She continued, "It's an incredibly complex and emotionally charged situation."
Clinton also acknowledged her understanding that "security is paramount" for Israel. Echoing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev's statements one day earlier, Clinton recognized that Israel is wary of seeing a repeat of the "experience of having left Lebanon and now having Hezbollah and rockets on their border, having left Gaza and now having Hamas and rockets on their border."
Noting the needs of each side, she said, "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."
Touching on the apprehension of both sides in the talks, Clinton said,
"they have a lot of concerns about how it will be done and whether it
will be viable."
Secretary Clinton emphasized her and the US government's commitment to
the talks, saying that she came to the situation with a great prior
understanding of the difficulty involved.
Despite the difficulties, however, Clinton did express optimism, saying
that she is "convinced that both [Palestinian Authority] 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
She said that the US continues to work every day in order to help create
the necessary environment that the parties need to hold their "very
'Ahmadinejad is volatile and inflammatory'
Speaking about the volatility in the region as a result of Iran, Clinton
noted 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
Referring to Iranian President 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 Hezbollah, which is on the border of Israel and the
border of the Palestinian areas, then that is a volatile situation."
Secretary Clinton 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, 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
Clinton spoke about the sanctions that the UN, the US and EU have placed
against Iran, she said that 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."
She said that although Iran has made recent 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."
Summing up the US' commitment to the Iranian issue, she said that 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
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