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Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Incentives for settlement freeze likely on agenda as Netanyahu heads for U.S.

File photo : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a meeting in Washington, DC, on August 31, 2010. The Obama administration geared up for a bold bid to relaunch direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and clinch a peace deal within a year as Middle East leaders arrived in Washington. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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Netanyahu envoy arrived in Washington earlier this week to meet chief Palestinian negotiator on ways to renew negotiations.

November 07, 2010 (KATAKAMI/ HAARETZ) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to leave for the United States Saturday night to address the Jewish Federations’ General Assembly in New Orleans.

Netanyahu will not be meeting President Barack Obama, who is in India, but he will meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Americans are expected to tell Netanyahu that their package of diplomatic and security incentives is still on the table if he agrees to renew the freeze on construction in the settlements.

Netanyahu’s flight to the U.S. reportedly cost the state more than $1 million, because it is a direct flight from Ben-Gurion International Airport to New Orleans. El Al was selected to fly the prime minister without a tender.

The administration’s involvement in the Middle East peace process has been almost nil in recent weeks as they attempted to shore up support at home ahead of last week’s midterm elections. However, Netanyahu’s envoy Isaac Molho arrived in Washington three days ago for a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on ways to renew negotiations and possibility of refreezing construction in the settlements.

Molho made no progress, but Erekat and the Americans agreed that the Palestinians would wait until the end of November before making another move, such as approaching the UN Security Council with a demand to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu-Rudeina, told Agence France Presse that the Palestinians had given the Americans another three weeks to reach understandings with Israel. If no agreement was forthcoming by that time, they would approach the Security Council.

Senior American officials, who asked to remain anonymous because of the issue’s sensitivity, told Haaretz at the end of the week that during Netanyahu’s visit another attempt would be made to address the construction freeze gambit.

“Talks with Molho were serious although no solution was found, and we are still trying,” an official said.

The incentive package the Americans offered Israel two months ago includes advanced fighter planes and other security aid, as well as guarantees of a U.S. veto of any attempt at a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood in the Security Council in the coming year.

Although the Americans are reportedly angry at Netanyahu’s refusal to restart the freeze, they apparently do not want to clash with him at this time.

Both Biden and Clinton are expected to press Netanyahu into renewing the freeze and show willingness to move ahead on the issue of borders, but will not accuse him of responsibility for the impasse.

Israeli sources familiar with the U.S. position said American enthusiasm for offering incentives has cooled and that “the formulation of the letter with the guarantees has changed and Netanyahu will not be able to make do with a new two-month freeze.”

Netanyahu did not convene the forum of seven senior ministers before he left, but spoke with some of them individually.

He will be meeting this evening at 8 P.M. Israel time with Biden, who will also be addressing the general assembly.

Netanyahu will leave for New York immediately after his address to the GA tomorrow, to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Netanyahu will meet with senior American economists, industrialists, Jewish leaders and with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell. He will also give a number of television interviews.

On Thursday, Netanyahu is to meet with Clinton.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman and opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima ) will also be attending the GA.

On Tuesday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit will come to Washington, following separate visits to Ramallah and Tel Aviv over the past 10 days.

The Egyptians, who are working to help Washington restart direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, are pressuring both sides.

The Egyptian leaders will meet with Clinton a day before she meets with Netanyahu.

Washington think tanks have been discussing the best way for Obama to reach a breakthrough. David Makovsky, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in a speech last week that if Israel wants to avoid a U.S. accusation of responsibility for an impasse with the Palestinians, Netanyahu should change his coalition and include Kadima.

(MS)

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Photostream : U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (R) walk along the Yarra River on their way to lunch at Melbourne's Federation Square on November 7, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. Secretary Clinton travelled to Melbourne with U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates to participate in the annual Australia-U.S. ministerial meetings. The meetings were originally scheduled for January 2010 but were postponed so Secretary Clinton could help organise U.S. relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake. (Photo by William West - Pool/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (centre L) and Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre R) walk along the Yarra River on the way to lunch at Melbourne's Federation Square on November 7, 2010. Australia is the final country on an Asia Pacific tour that has taken Clinton to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. AFP PHOTO/POOL/William WEST (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, walks to lunch with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010, in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during an event on clean energy and green technology Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speaks as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard listens during a joint press conference at the Pixel Building in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010. (Getty Images /AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill, Pool)

Australia : Clinton arrives for defence talks

Hillary Clinton was welcomed on the tarmac by Kevin Rudd. (AAP: Mal Fairclough)

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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / ABC.NET.AU) — Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has greeted US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as she arrived in Melbourne for a two-day visit.

Ms Clinton touched down at a section of Melbourne Airport that was cordoned off by police and US diplomatic agents.

She was welcomed on the tarmac by Mr Rudd and Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley.

“It’s great to have the secretary of state with us in Australia,” Mr Rudd said.

“She is a very welcome guest for these AUSMIN talks here in Melbourne. It’s the first time we’ve had Ausmin in Melbourne – it’s a great city, a great day and it’s great that the secretary of state is going to see this wonderful city.”

Ms Clinton is on a two-week tour through the Asia-Pacific region. Her visit is part of the annual talks between the Australian foreign and defence ministers and the US secretaries of state and defence.

This afternoon she will hold her first official meeting with Mr Rudd and the pair will dine together tonight.

Mr Rudd says he is keen to give the United States greater access to Australian defence bases and confirmed both countries are interested in closer cooperation between their defence forces.

“We in Australia have an interest in ensuring we have continued and increased use of Australian ports, facilities and training facilities and test-firing ranges by the armed forces of the United States,” he said.

Tomorrow Ms Clinton will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The pair met briefly at last month’s East Asia Summit in Vietnam.

On Monday Ms Clinton and US defence secretary Robert Gates will meet their Australian counterparts for talks on issues including Afghanistan and security in the Asia Pacific region.

Ms Gillard says America’s force posture review – an official investigation into the geographical and strategic placement of US forces around the world – will be at the top of the agenda in her talks with Ms Clinton.

“We anticipate that that will give rise to a process of discussion about how that force posture review has implications for Australia,” she said.

“[It] could have implications in future joint exercises; it could have implications in future sharing of joint facilities.”

Also on Sunday, Ms Clinton will front an hour-long forum to respond to questions submitted via video link, and online on Facebook and Twitter, as well as take questions from an audience of people under the age of 35.

The town-hall style event in Melbourne will be hosted by Lateline’s Leigh Sales and broadcast on the ABC. Questions can be posted on ABC News’s Facebook page or on Twitter with the hashtag #hillaryoz.

Ms Clinton was due to visit Australia in January this year, but postponed her trip because of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti.

Meanwhile, Ms Clinton has ruled out running for president in 2012 or 2016, saying the United States should be ready for a woman president but it would not be her.

In interviews in New Zealand, the failed 2008 presidential candidate made clear she had no plans to run again despite talk – fueled partly by her fellow Democrats’ losses in Tuesday’s US mid-term elections – she might embark on a new race.

Asked by TV3 New Zealand whether she ruled out standing for the top US office through 2016, Ms Clinton, according to a US reporter, replied: “Oh yes, yes. I’m very pleased to be doing what I’m doing as secretary of state.”

 

(MS)

Clinton heads to Melbourne

First official visit: Hillary Clinton (AFP: Saul Loeb, file photo)

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November 06, 2010 (KATAKAMI / ABC.NET.AU) — Hillary Clinton will arrive in Australia later today on her first official visit since becoming the United States secretary of state.

Ms Clinton is on a two-week tour through the Asia-Pacific region and today will fly into Melbourne.

Her visit is part of the annual talks between the Australian foreign and defence ministers and the US secretaries of state and defence.

Those talks will take place on Monday and will focus on regional and global security issues, including the war in Afghanistan.

Tomorrow, Ms Clinton will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The pair met briefly at last month’s East Asia Summit in Vietnam.

Ms Clinton was due to visit Australia in January this year, but postponed her trip because of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti.

Meanwhile, Ms Clinton has ruled out running for president in 2012 or 2016, saying the United States should be ready for a woman president but it would not be her.

In interviews in New Zealand, the failed 2008 presidential candidate made clear she had no plans to run again despite talk – fueled partly by her fellow Democrats’ losses in Tuesday’s US mid-term elections – she might embark on a new race.

Asked by TV3 New Zealand whether she ruled out standing for the top US office through 2016, Ms Clinton, according to a US reporter, replied: “Oh yes, yes. I’m very pleased to be doing what I’m doing as secretary of state.”

 

(MS)

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Clinton during U.S. visit

File photo : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton September 15, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are deadlocked in peace negotiations over Israeli settlement building. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom / GPO via Getty Images)

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November 03, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — PM will arrive in New Orleans on Sunday to address a conference of the U.S. Jewish community, where Joe Biden will also speak.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a U.S. visit next week in addition to previously announced talks with Vice President Joe Biden.

In a speech to parliament, Netanyahu again voiced strong criticism of the Palestinian Authority, which has suspended peace talks over his refusal to resume a partial freeze of construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

“The truth is, there is great readiness in Israel for a real peace process,” he said. “The truth is, we have not found a corresponding readiness within the Palestinian Authority.”

Netanyahu has resisted U.S., Palestinian and international calls to impose a new building moratorium in settlements after a 10-month freeze expired in late September, some three weeks after the U.S.-brokered negotiations began.

Palestinian officials have accused Netanyahu of destroying prospects for peace by allowing settlement building to continue on land that Palestinians want for a future state.

Netanyahu arrives in New Orleans on Sunday to speak at a conference of U.S. Jewish leaders that Biden also will address. President Barack Obama will be visiting Asia during Netanyahu’s U.S. trip, which also includes a four-day stay in New York.

“I will, of course, meet with the senior leaders of the United States, with Vice President Biden and subsequently with Hillary Clinton,” Netanyahu told parliament.

He gave no date or venue for the meeting with Clinton, but Israeli officials said it was likely to take place in New York.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts of the Obama administration — the president and his people — to find a way to advance the peace process,” Netanyahu said in his speech, giving no sign of bending in the settlement impasse.

 

(MS)

Clinton Makes Bid to Improve Ties with Muslim-Majority Malaysia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, smiles after being received by Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman at SkyPark Subang Terminal on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 in Subang, Malaysia. (Getty Images /AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

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November 01, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Malaysia for talks on improving relations with that Muslim-majority nation as she continues a tour of Asia.

Clinton arrived in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, late Monday, from Cambodia. On Tuesday, she is expected to hold meetings with her Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman, and with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in place of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is ill.

Ahead of Clinton’s visit, her top diplomat for Asia, Kurt Campbell, said Malaysia has made “enormous progress” on issues such as proliferation of weapons, and political coordination and strategic dialogue with the United States. He said “few nations” have come as far as Malaysia in terms of relations with the U.S.

Clinton also is due to hold talks with Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is on trial on sodomy charges that could see him jailed for years.

He previously served six years in prison on separate sex and corruption offenses until being released in 2004

Malaysia’s official Bernama news agency said Clinton’s delegation also will sign an agreement with Kuala Lumpur on science and technology cooperation.

Secretary Clinton also is scheduled to engage in public diplomacy with Malaysians by speaking at the International Institute for Islamic Thought and Civilization in the capital.

She is the first U.S. secretary of state to make a bilateral visit to Malaysia since Warren Christopher in 1995. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Malaysia in a multilateral context in 2006 to attend a regional forum.

Earlier in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Clinton expressed support for a U.N.-sponsored tribunal that is prosecuting the country’s former Khmer Rouge leaders. She said the tribunal’s work is “necessary to ensure a lasting peace.”

She also agreed to reopen talks on settling Cambodian debts to the United States of $445 million owed from the 1970s.

Some information in this story was provided by AFP.

Photostream : U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Cambodia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is welcomed by Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni during her visit to Phnom Penh November 1, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, meets with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace on Monday, Nov. 1, 2010, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Clinton on Monday urged Cambodia to confront its tortured past by ensuring the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s and improve its current human rights record. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) listens to Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, as she stands in front of photos of victims during her visit to Khmer Rouge notorious security prison Tuol Sleng (S-21) in Phnom Penh November 1, 2010. From 1975-1979 an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned, tortured and killed in S-21, once a high school turned into an interrogation centre, during the Khmer Rouge regime. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, talks with a group in a center during a visit to a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation in Siem Reap province, about 230 kilometers, 142 miles, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Hillary is in northern Cambodia, about as far away as one can get from the intense political battle going on back home. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) listens to Van Sina, 25, a human trafficking victim, beside another victim, Somana, 20, at the Siem Reap AFESIP rehabilitation and vocational training center October 31, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) visits the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap October 31, 2010. Clinton's visit to Cambodia is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since 2003. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea )

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, rear center, poses for photo together with Cambodian children during her visit to a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation in Siem Reap, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. Clinton was in the midst of a two-week, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Clinton urges rights progress in Cambodia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, foreground, walks through a barbed wire gate of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly the Khmer Rouge regime's notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2010. Clinton urged Cambodia to improve its human rights record and ensure the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

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November 01, 2010 PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (KATAKAMI / AJC.COM) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday urged Cambodia to confront its tortured past by ensuring the Khmer Rouge are brought to justice for crimes against humanity in the 1970s and improve its current human rights record.

In the capital of Phnom Penh, she visited a former school that served as the main Khmer Rouge prison and torture center and appealed for the Cambodian people and government to overcome a legacy of impunity for abuses. The government has refused to allow a U.N.-backed court trying top Khmer Rouge leaders to prosecute lower-ranking members.

Clinton toured the infamous S-21 prison where as many as 16,000 people were tortured before being executed for alleged coutnterrevolutionary behavior. The ultra-leftist Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution during its 1975-79 reign.

“It’s a very disturbing experience and the pictures — both the pictures of the young Cambodians who were killed and the young Cambodians who were doing the killing — were so painful,” she told students after the tour. “But I also came away very impressed because a country that is able to confront its past is a country that can overcome it.”

“Countries that are held prisoner to their past can never break those chains and build the kind of future that their children deserve,” Clinton said. “Although I am well aware the work of the tribunal is painful, it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace.”

The Khmer Rouge tribunal closed its first case in July when it convicted the regime’s chief jailer and head of S-21, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. A second trial is expected to start next year for the four top surviving Khmer Rouge leaders.

But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the trials will stop there, despite U.N. wishes to bring lower-ranking officers to justice for murder, torture and other crimes. The U.N. says progress has been blocked by political interference from Cambodian officials who oppose more prosecutions.

Critics accuse the Cambodian leader of trying to limit the tribunal’s scope to prevent his political allies from being indicted. Hun Sen once served as a Khmer Rouge officer and many of his main allies are also former members of the group.

In talks with Hun Sen later Monday after meeting the students, Clinton is expected to say that the U.S. wants to see the next trial proceed quickly and judiciously, according to U.S. officials.

Clinton also plans to tell Hun Sen that his government, which has been harshly criticized for cracking down on opposition groups, must do more to protect human rights. She will meet with opposition leaders before departing for Malaysia on the next leg of a two-week, seven-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific.

Last week, Hun Sen told visiting U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon that he must close down the U.N. human rights office in Cambodia, which he accuses of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Cambodian officials are expected to keep up their push for forgiveness from the U.S. of about $445 million in Vietnam War-era debt. Washington has balked, arguing the country has the means to repay the low-interest loans.

Hillary ‘excited’ about Australia trip

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) walks with Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the sidelines of the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits in Hanoi on October 30, 2010. Clinton said that maritime rows should be settled by international law, in defiance of China's call to handle them directly with its neighbours. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

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October 30, 2010 (KATAKAMI / THE AGE.COM.AU ) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told Prime Minister Julia Gillard she cannot wait to visit Australia next week.

Mrs Clinton met Ms Gillard on the sidelines of the 16-nation East Asia Summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Saturday.

The pair spoke briefly and posed for the cameras as they left a VIP lunch. 

Asked if she was looking forward to her visit to Australia, Mrs Clinton said: “Very much.

“I cannot wait to get there.

“I was just telling the prime minister how excited I am.”

Before parting ways, the pair shared a kiss and Mrs Clinton said: “It’ll be fun.”

“I will make it fun,” Ms Gillard replied.

Mrs Clinton and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates will be in Australia from November 6 to 8 for the 25th AUSMIN talks.

They will meet Ms Gillard, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith to discuss regional and global issues.

It will be Mrs Clinton’s first visit to Australia since she was appointed secretary of state in 2008.

 

(MS)

Clinton voices support for UN tribunal in Lebanon

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Fifth Annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

October 21, 2010 BEIRUT (KATAKAMI / AP)  – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Lebanon should not tolerate any attempt to discredit the U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The State Department said Clinton spoke to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman by phone Wednesday.

Speculation that the tribunal could indict members of Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah has fueled a political crisis in the country. Hezbollah contends the tribunal has been poisoned by witnesses who have given false information.

Hariri, Lebanon’s most prominent politician after the 15-year civil war ended in 1990, was killed by a truck bombing.

US, Pakistan Convene Strategic Dialogue

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

October 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA / REUTERS) — U.S. and Pakistani officials are meeting in Washington Wednesday to begin a third round of a strategic dialogue started earlier this year.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will lead the three days of talks.

The U.S. is expected to offer Pakistan as much as $2 billion over five years to help fight insurgents along its border with Afghanistan.

The offer is seen as part of an effort to ease tension stemming from recent NATO and U.S. military strikes on the Pakistan side of the border. U.S. impatience with Pakistan’s hesitance to fight insurgents has also stirred tensions.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Pakistan is beginning to cooperate more and that this week’s meetings will be an opportunity for U.S. officials to outline to the Pakistanis what else must be done.

U.S. President Barack Obama is also holding talks on Pakistan and Afghanistan Wednesday with his security advisers at the White House.

President Obama’s closed-door discussions are likely to cover Washington’s support for the Afghan government’s recent efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban, as well as U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The three-day U.S.-Pakistan meetings will include talk of refocusing U.S. civilian aid to help Pakistan rebuild after its devastating floods. The defense and military chiefs of the two countries will also take part in the strategic dialogue

Tensions erupted last month after a NATO helicopter mistakenly killed two Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Pakistan responded by closing a key crossing point for NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan, an action that exposed the trucks to attacks by Pakistani militants.

The United States apologized for the deaths, and Pakistani authorities reopened the crossing after ten days.

The U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue began in Washington in March and continued during Secretary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan in July.

Some information in this story was provided by Reuters.

Photostream : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Slovakian Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Slovak Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda shake hands at a joint press conference following a bilateral meeting October 19, 2010 at the State Department in Washington. (Photo : MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speaks at a news conference with Slovakian Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda at the State Department on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 in Washington. (Getty Images / AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, holds a news conference with Slovakian Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda at the State Department on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 in Washington. (Getty Images/AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Getty Images)

Photostream : Hillary Clinton in Serbia

Serbian President Boris Tadic and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make their way to speak to the press following meetings at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with Serbian President Boris Tadic on October 12, 2010 at the presidential palace in Belgrade. Clinton is to discuss with Tadic the start of the EU-sponsored talks between Serbia and breakaway Kosovo. (Photo : MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) shakes hands with Serbia's President Boris Tadic after their joint statement following their meeting in Belgrade October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) takes part in a meeting with Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic ( 4th right) at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo / Mandel Ngan, Pool)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses with Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac ahead of a meeting at the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (Getty Images / AP Photo / Mandel Ngan, Pool)

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U.S. after Netanyahu proposal: Our position on settlements hasn’t changed

 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), looks on as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel (L) and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (R) shakes hands as they re-launch of direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian Authority at the State Department in Washington, DC, on September 2, 2010. (Getty Images)

 

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October 12, 2010 (KATAKAMI) — Netanyahu offers renewal of settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as Jewish state; U.S. State Department says Obama administration committed to Israel’s democracy as a Jewish state.

The U.S. State Department on Monday dodged a direct response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to extend the settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state, saying that the U.S. position on settlements hasn’t changed.

“Our position on settlements is well known. As we’ve noted we would like to see the settlement moratorium extended. Beyond that, we are not going to get into the substance of our discussions with the parties,” a U.S. State Department official said when asked by Haaretz for a response to Netanyahu’s Knesset speech.

“U.S. policy has been consistent. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton are committed to Israel’s democracy as a Jewish state,” he said.

Netanyahu spoke at the opening of the third session of the 18th Knesset on Monday, and proposed an exchange of gestures to the Palestinians, wherein Israel would renew its settlement freeze if the Palestinian Authority would recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.

The Palestinians quickly issued a statement saying they reject the offer and that “the issue of the Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter,” emphasizing that Israel must freeze the settlements before they could return to U.S.-backed peace talks.

HAARETZ

Clinton in Sarajevo to push for Bosnian reforms

October 12, 2010. (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would press Bosnia’s quarrelsome leaders on Tuesday to set aside deep ethnic divisions and bring the Balkan nation more fully into Europe’s fold, U.S. officials said.

Clinton, on a diplomatic swing through the Balkans, would step up U.S. pressure on Bosnia’s Serb, Croat and Muslim leaders to enact political and economic reforms that could open the door to both European Union and NATO membership, the officials said.

Since the 1992-95 war in Bosnia in which about 100,000 people were killed, it has lagged in reforms and remains near the back of the queue of Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU and NATO membership.
“It is fair to say that the political process is stalled,” Philip Gordon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters during Clinton’s flight to Bosnia on Monday.

“That is one reason the secretary wanted to come here and underscore for the parties their need to move forward with the types of reforms that will strengthen their candidacies for European Union membership and NATO membership,” said Gordon.

Clinton’s arrived just over a week after presidential and parliamentary polls in the former Yugoslav state which appeared to do little to change ethnic rivalries that have dogged the uneasy union of its Muslim-Croat federation and Serb Republic.

The deadlock has set back Bosnia’s chances of EU and NATO entry, with leaders unable to agree on constitutional reforms or on dividing fixed military assets — conditions that Western nations say are essential if it is to meet membership standards.

Gordon said Clinton would stress to leaders of all three communities, starting with Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, that it was time to follow through on the promises of U.S.-brokered 1995 peace accords which ended Bosnia’s war.

“The rest of the region is moving toward Europe and Bosnia is going to have to overcome these ethnic divides,” said Gordon.

Clinton’s visit is her first as secretary of state to Sarajevo, a city that dominated the headlines during the administration of her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

She will travel on to Belgrade where U.S. officials say she will urge Serbia’s leaders to follow through on an offer of talks with the former Serbian but ethnic Albanian dominated province of Kosovo, which declared independence two years ago and remains a point of friction for the region.

Clinton will visit Kosovo on Wednesday, seeking to emphasize the U.S. commitment to equal rights for its Serb minority population, before moving on to Brussels for discussions with her NATO counterparts.

Photostream : Hillary Clinton in Sarajevo

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US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is pressing political reforms to the restive Balkans with the hope that such changes will lead to the region's full integration into the European Union and NATO. Clinton arrived Monday night in Sarajevo, the capital of ethnically divided Bosnia-Herzegovina, which just held elections, to urge the country's new leadership to make EU membership a priority. She then travels to Serbia and its now-independent former province of Kosovo to encourage the bitterly divided sides to normalize relations. (Getty Images)

 

 

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton waves as she walks out of airplane, upon arrival at Sarajevo airport, late on October 11, 2010. Secretary Clinton arrived in two-day visit to Bosnian capital on her tour of the Balkans. Clinton's visit to Balkans also includes visits to capitals of Serbia and Kosovo. (Getty Images)

 

 

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, centre left, is greeted by unidentified officials, on her arrival, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is pressing political reforms to the restive Balkans with the hope that such changes will lead to the region's full integration into the European Union and NATO. Clinton arrived Monday night in Sarajevo, the capital of ethnically divided Bosnia-Herzegovina, which just held elections, to urge the country's new leadership to make EU membership a priority. She then travels to Serbia and its now-independent former province of Kosovo to encourage the bitterly divided sides to normalize relations. (Getty Images)

 

 

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, on her arrival, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is pressing political reforms to the restive Balkans with the hope that such changes will lead to the region's full integration into the European Union and NATO. Clinton arrived Monday night in Sarajevo, the capital of ethnically divided Bosnia-Herzegovina, which just held elections, to urge the country's new leadership to make EU membership a priority. She then travels to Serbia and its now-independent former province of Kosovo to encourage the bitterly divided sides to normalize relations. (Getty Images)

 

 

Kosovars walk near a billboard with a photo of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pristina October 11, 2010. Clinton travels to the Balkans on Monday, seeking to buttress the fragile peace that was one of her husband's chief foreign policy achievements as president. Clinton will urge reconciliation for Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, which battled through the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and dominated the news when former U.S. President Bill Clinton was in office. (Getty Images)

 

Clinton unveils $500 million in new aid for Pakistan

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July 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD (KATAKAMI / MSNBC)   — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Monday to convince skeptical Pakistanis that American interest in their country extends beyond the fight against Islamist militants by announcing a raft of new aid projects worth $500 million.

The projects, which included new dams for badly needed electricity and hospitals, are part of a $7.5 billion aid effort to win over Pakistanis suspicious about Washington’s goals here and in neighboring Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are being killed in ever greater numbers in an insurgency with links to Pakistan.

Mistrust over U.S. intentions in Pakistan is in part due to Washington’s decision to turn away from the nuclear-armed country after enlisting its support to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

“Of course there is a legacy of suspicion that we inherited. It is not going to be eliminated overnight,” said Clinton following talks in Islamabad.

“It is however our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the United States is concerned about Pakistan for the long term and that our partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies,” she said. “We have moved beyond a standoff of our misunderstandings that were allowed to fester and not addressed … to a position where we’re engaged in the most open dialogue that I think our two countries have ever had.”

Clinton said the U.S. will complete two hydroelectric dam projects to supply electricity to more than 300,000 people in areas near the Afghan border, will renovate or build three medical facilities in central and southern Pakistan and will embark on a new initiative to improve access to clean drinking water in the country.

Strategic partnership
These projects and several others focused on promoting economic growth will cost some $500 million and will be funded by legislation approved by Congress to triple nonmilitary aid to $1.5 billion a year over five years. The initiatives mark the second phase of projects begun under a new and enhanced strategic partnership.

Despite these initiatives, Clinton faces challenges in appealing for greater Pakistani cooperation in cracking down on militants who use their sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch cross-border attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Many analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target Afghan Taliban militants in the country with whom it has historical ties because they could be useful allies in Afghanistan after international forces withdraw.

Pakistan has shown more interest in supporting Afghanistan’s push to reconcile with Afghan Taliban rather than fight them, a tactic that the U.S. believes has little chance of succeeding until the militants’ momentum on the battlefield is reversed.

Clinton said Monday that any insurgents who wish to reconcile must lay down their arms, renounce any partnership with al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan’s constitution.

“We would strongly advise our friends in Afghanistan to deal with those who are committed to a peaceful future where their ideas can compete in the political arena through the ballot box, not through the force of arms,” said Clinton.

The U.S. has pushed Pakistan and Afghanistan to improve their often frosty relations and prodded the two countries to seal a landmark trade deal Sunday that was reached after years of negotiation. The pact, which eases restrictions on cross-border transportation, must be ratified by the Afghan parliament and Pakistani Cabinet.

U.S. officials said they believe it will significantly enhance ties between the two countries, boost development and incomes on both sides of the border and contribute to the fight against extremists.

Clinton will later fly on to Kabul for an international conference as the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan runs into mounting doubt in the U.S. Congress. (*)