US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Monday, saying that the transformations which the Middle East is undergoing require “friends like us to think together and act together.”
Arriving in Israel Sunday night for a 24-hour visit, Clinton said that the region was in the midst of a “time of uncertainty, but opportunity.” She posited that the changes in the Middle East have given the US and Israel the chance to advance their shared goals of security, stability and democracy.
Clinton praised Peres, saying no other individual had done so much to build the alliance between Israel and the US. “Few people know the inextricable link between security and peace,” she stated.
Peres was also complimentary of Clinton, referring to her as “a constant friend” who is “blowing the wind of freedom all over the world.”
Peres told Clinton that he appreciated the fact that she came to Israel immediately after Egypt because Egypt is the key country in the Middle East and it depends on Egypt and Israel to continue the march of freedom for the whole of the region.
Peres reiterated what he has frequently said, that peace between Israel and Egypt has saved the lives of thousands of Egyptians and Israelis.
He also thanked both Clinton and US President Barack Obama for their stance on Iran and expressed the hope that Iran would return to its former culture and be a free nation.
Peres also referred to the situation in Syria, which he said was beyond any accepted norms. He asked Clinton not to stop the US efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
Clinton met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman earlier on Monday and was scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Salam Fayyad later in the day. The talks were expected to focus on Iran, Syria, Egypt and the peace process.
Supporters of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard demonstrated across from the President’s Residence ahead of Clinton’s visit.
With the summer school holiday in full swing, the demonstrators were mostly school children who held placards of Pollard, Peres, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and various well known US personalities who have called for Pollard’s release.
The children were being coached in advance of Clinton’s arrival to call out in English, “justice, justice, free pollard now, justice, justice, he should be released, justice, justice, enough is enough.”
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