Secretary of State confirms US commitment to two-state solution

Israel Materials 3 March 2009 13:24 (UTC +04:00)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Tuesday her administration's commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On her first visit to the region since being appointed the US' top diplomat, Clinton also expressed her support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Acting Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, indicating a continuation of the old administration's policy of backing Abbas' West Bank-based administration in its struggle with the radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza, reported dpa.

"I emphasized President (Barack) Obama's and my commitment to working to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians," Clinton told reporters after meeting Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem.

She said new Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who has already visited Israel and the Palestinian areas last month and was accompanying her on this 36-hour trip, would continue his efforts as a new Israeli government was created.

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu of the hardline Likud party is likely to form a narrow right-wing government, after outgoing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party refused to join the coalition he is trying to form following February 10 elections.

Clinton also strongly condemned ongoing rocket fire at Israel from Gaza despite a ferocious, 22-day offensive which ended in January.

"The continued rocket attacks against Israel must cease," she said.

"On behalf on the people who are in Gaza, these rocket attacks are cynical and as I pointed out yesterday there is no doubt that any nation including Israel cannot stand idly by while its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks."