JERUSALEM - Israel and the United States must think and act together to face the changes sweeping the Middle East, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday after meeting Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Clinton, who arrived late Sunday after two days of talks with the new leadership in Egypt, hailed 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 goals .of security, stability, peace and democracy,” she said in remarks to the press after talks with Peres focusing on Egypt, Syria, Iran’s nuclear programme and peace efforts with the Palestinians.
“It is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together,” she said.
On the last leg of a 13-day, nine-nation tour, Clinton met early on Monday with her Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman before her talks with Peres, briefing both on her discussions in Cairo with newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi and military leader Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi.
Peres thanked Clinton for her efforts to shore up the peace between Israel and the new Egyptian leadership.
“We appreciate very much that immediately after Egypt, you came to us with your latest impressions because for us, as well as for the United States, Egypt is a key country in the Middle East and much depends on Egypt and a little bit on us as well, to continue the great march of peace,” he said. “Israel is very much interested in keeping the peace with the largest Arab country.” Ahead of her arrival, a top State Department official said Washington’s top diplomat wanted to have “a broader strategic conversation” with the Israelis following the sweeping changes across the region.
‘Monica, Monica’ chants taunt Clinton in Egypt
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was taunted by chants of “Monica, Monica” by tomato-throwing demonstrators as she visited the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Sunday. The chants, referring to the Monica Lewinsky scandal when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, were heard outside the US consulate as she visited for its reopening. An embarrassed Egyptian security official said they were chanting “Monica, Monica” and “Irhal, Clinton” (Get out, Clinton.) Tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle were thrown at part of Clinton’s motorcade as it pulled up, protected by riot police, although a US official said Clinton’s own vehicle was not hit. The protest appears to have been the result of suspicions that Washington had helped the Muslim Brotherhood win elections in Egypt in the wake of last year’s ouster of president Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of massive street protests. “I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which, of course, we cannot,” Clinton said at the opening of the consulate. The consulate was closed in 1993 due to budget cuts but has been reopened to assist the Egyptian economy in a key port city.