Clinton affirms commitment to resolving Mideast conflict

January 14th, 2009 - 12:40 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 13 (DPA) US secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the Obama administration will put “every effort” forward to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Speaking before a Senate panel during her confirmation hearing, Clinton said she and president-elect Barack Obama are “deeply sympathetic to Israel’s desire to defend itself” against rocket attacks by Hamas.

Clinton, however, said the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip is a reminder of the humanitarian suffering that has taken place on both sides of the conflict, and that it should serve as a impetus to reinvigorate the peace process.

Clinton, 61, was making her first appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since Obama chose his former rival to head the State Department. Clinton’s nomination is expected to clear Congress’ upper chamber.

The focus of the US role in the world must rely on diplomacy, Clinton said, but acknowledged there are times when military force is necessary. Clinton vowed to break with President George W. Bush’s more idealistic approach to foreign affairs, saying US relations with the rest of the world should instead be grounded in “principle” and “pragmatism.”

“When we work hard, diplomacy can work,” Clinton said.

The New York senator and former first lady’s nomination as the top US diplomat brings a familiar face to the world at a time when the Obama administration, which takes power Jan 20, seeks to rebuild the US image in the world after eight years of Bush’s unpopular policies.

Clinton’s nomination, however, required that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, disclose all of his business activities around the world and his dealing with foreign governments, including donations to his charity causes.

The former president’s activities has raised some concerns among senators that his international ties could present ethical and conflict of interest issues.

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