Clinton talks Iran and peace during last-ditch Israel trip

By Jennifer Lipman, July 17, 2012
Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has made what is expected to be her last official visit to the Middle East to encourage all parties to return to the peace process.

The US Secretary of State, who has pledged to step down no matter what is the result of November's presidential election , met both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday. She also held talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

Speaking afterwards , she reiterated the fact that "peace among Israel, the Palestinian people and all of Israel's Arab neighbo u rs is crucial for Israel's long-term progress and prosperity".

She also commented on the US position regarding Iran and its pursuit of nuclear capabilities. "We all prefer a diplomatic resolution, and Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision," she said. "The choice is ultimately Iran's to make. Our own choice is clear: We will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Her comments came after President Barack Obama admitted that the failure to bring about change over the Israeli Palestinian situation was one of the biggest regrets of his first term in office.

He told an interviewer: "I have not been able to move the peace process forward in the Middle East the way I wanted.

"It's something we focused on very early. But the truth of the matter is that the parties, they've got to want it as well."

Last updated: 10:15am, July 17 2012