Damage from WikiLeaks will take years to undo: Hillary Clinton

Last Updated: Monday, January 10, 2011 - 20:46

Dubai: Ahead of her meetings with several
Persian Gulf leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has
said that it would take years for the US to undo the damage
caused by the WikiLeaks revelations.

"I think I will be answering concerns about WikiLeaks for
the rest of my life, not just the rest of my tenure as
secretary of State," Clinton told reporters as she embarked on
a five-day visit of Arab countries, many of which were stung
by revelations by the whistle-blower website about private
talks between American diplomats and regional leaders.

According to the leaked American cables, Saudi Arabia`s
King Abdullah repeatedly urged the US to "cut off the head of
the snake" by launching military strikes to destroy Iran`s
nuclear programme.

Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, the Bahraini king was also
quoted as saying that Iran`s nuclear programme should be
stopped by any means, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-
Nahayan, the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi saw "the
logic of war dominating" when it comes to dealing with the
Iranian threat.

America`s chief diplomat also likened her recent overseas
travels to an extended "apology tour" to reassure allies who
suffered embarrassment because of the disclosures of thousands
of secret American diplomatic cables.

Clinton, who is on her second Middle East trip in less
than a month, said she has sought to "affirmatively raise" the
WikiLeaks issue in meetings with Arab officials to address the
problems head-on, Washington Post reported.

Clinton will visit the United Arab Emirates, Oman and
Qatar, where leaders are concerned about Iran`s nuclear
ambitions and growing influence in the region.

Some of Iran`s Arab neighbours were particularly
aggrieved by leaked State Department cables that showed them
privately urging the Obama administration to take a harder
line against Tehran`s nuclear ambitions.

Clinton said she had quipped to one of her aides that
she needed a tour jacket, similar to the ones used by rock
bands, that would have a "big picture of the world and would
say `The Apology Tour` " on it, the Post said.

Although the intensity has abated somewhat, the fallout
from the WikiLeaks affair "is still in the atmosphere," she
said.

Clinton`s trip comes ahead of a new round of
international talks with Iran, tentatively scheduled for
January 21-22 in Turkey.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 10, 2011 - 20:46

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