Hillary meets Netanyahu, calls for durable outcome
Jerusalem: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who rushed to the West Asian region to defuse the crisis in Gaza, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called for efforts to achieve a "durable outcome" for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Hillary flew to the region, cutting short her travel to Cambodia, where she was attending the ASEAN meeting with US President Barack Obama, as part of American efforts to de-escalate the tension.
She will now travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian officials and to Cairo to meet Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi.
Hillary, who is on a fire fighting mission to the region met Netanyahu for more than two hours.
"The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike," Hillary told reporters in a joint media availability with Netanyahu here - her first stop in her current visit to the region.
According to State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, Hillary met Netanyahu for more than two hours last night in Jerusalem, as also the Israeli Foreign and Defence Ministers, National Security Advisor and other officials.
"They briefed her on the situation in Gaza and the threat posed by continuing rocket fire to Israeli cities and towns. The Secretary offered condolences for Israeli citizens killed and wounded in attacks today and over the past several days," Nuland said in Washington.
Ahead of her meeting with Netanyahu, Hillary told reporters that Obama has emphasised on "durable outcome" in his multiple conversations with the Egyptian President.
"We appreciate President Mursi's personal leadership and Egypt's efforts thus far. As a regional leader and neighbour, Egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process.
"I will carry this message to Cairo tomorrow. I will also be consulting with President Abbas in Ramallah," she said.
She said the US would work with its partners in Israel and across the region towards an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.
Netanyahu said that Israel is "trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage" which is aimed directly at its civilians, and doing so by minimising civilian casualties.
On the other hand, he said the "terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximise the number of civilian casualties".
"Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its
civilians," he said.
"If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that. But if not, I am sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people. This is something that I don't have to explain to Americans," Netanyahu said.
Following the meeting, Nuland said in a statement issued in Washington that Hillary and Netanyahu discussed efforts to de-escalate the situation and bring about a sustainable outcome that protects Israel's security and improves the lives of civilians in Gaza.
"They also consulted on her impending stops in Ramallah and Cairo, including Egyptian efforts to advance de-escalation. They pledged to stay in close touch as she continues her travels," said Nuland.