[DEBATE] : US Israel support 'unshakeable'
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Tue Mar 3 15:35:55 GMT 2009
US Israel support 'unshakeable'
Hillary Clinton with Israeli President Shimon Peres
Mrs Clinton expressed "unrelenting" commitment to Israel's security
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has restated "unshakeable"
support for Israel, whatever type of government emerges from current
Mrs Clinton is on her first visit to the region as the top diplomat of
Barack Obama's US administration.
Right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes some key US policies, has
been asked to form Israel's next government.
Mrs Clinton also announced two senior US officials would head for
Syria, Israel's long-time foe, for talks.
"We are going to be sending two officials to Syria. There are a number
of issues that we have between Syria and the US, as well as the larger
regional concerns that Syria obviously poses," Mr Clinton said.
Syria had engaged in indirect negotiations with the outgoing Israeli
government on the fate of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The US has kept Damascus at arms length for several years, accusing it
of supporting terrorist groups and destabilising its Arab neighbours.
However, analysts say recent diplomatic moves could be a prelude to
restoring a US ambassador in Damascus.
Mrs Clinton arrived in Israel from Egypt, where the US and other
international donors pledged almost $4.5bn (£3.2bn) for rebuilding
I know this is a sensitive time in Israeli politics as the process of
forming a new government unfolds. This is a matter for the Israeli
She has held talks in Jerusalem with the mainly ceremonial president,
Shimon Peres, before going on for a meeting with outgoing Foreign
Minister Tzipi Livni.
She is also due to meet Mr Netanyahu and the caretaker Prime Minister
On Wednesday, she will enter the West Bank for more talks Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was present Monday's
Egyptian-hosted aid conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
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