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'Sensitive time in Israel.' Clinton Photo: AP
'Sensitive time in Israel.' Clinton Photo: AP

Clinton says US remains committed to two-state solution

Ahead of Mideast visit, US secretary of state says she'll work to 'create independent, viable Palestinian state and provide Israel with the peace and security'

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 02.28.09, 10:23 / Israel News

WASHINGTON - The United States remains committed to the two-state solution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ahead of her scheduled trip to the Middle East.

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Speaking to the Voice of America Saturday, Clinton said "obviously, this is a sensitive time in Israeli politics as they seek to form a government, but I will take the opportunity to reaffirm the strength of the US-Israel relationship and talk about the best way to move peace forward.


"We are still committed to a two-state solution. I will also be visiting with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah to consult with them," she said.


"We want to strengthen a Palestinian partner willing to accept the conditions outlined by the Quartet and the Arab summit; in other words, a renouncement of violence, a recognition of Israel, and a commitment to abide by the previous agreements entered in by the Palestinian Authority."


'Hamas knows the conditions'

The secretary of state continued to say that she would be working along with US President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy George Mitchell to "help make progress toward a negotiated agreement to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; to create an independent, viable Palestinian state in both the West Bank and Gaza; and to provide Israel with the peace and security that it has long sought and which the people deserve to have."


Referring to next week's international donors' conference at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, aimed at helping rebuild Gaza following Israel's war on Hamas, Clinton said "I'll be joining other members of the international community to address the immediate humanitarian crisis in Gaza. All of our efforts will be designed to produce the sort of progress that is concretely felt by people on the ground.


"Our aid dollars will flow based on these principles. They'll be spent only in service of the goals that will help people feel more secure in their lives, and therefore more confident that progress toward peace would serve them better than retreating to violence and rejectionism. And I will be announcing a commitment to a significant aid package, but it will only be spent if we determine that our goals can be furthered rather than undermined or subverted," she said.


Asked about the Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo, the top American diplomat said "I believe that it's important, if there is some reconciliation and a move toward a unified authority, that it's very clear that Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet, by the Arab summit. And they must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments; otherwise, I don't think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state."


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