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Gaza crisis centered on Clinton´s diplomacy agenda

Source: Xinhua | 01-24-2009 07:52

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- In cyclone-like international phone-call diplomacy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has centered the Middle East crisis on her agenda, showing her determination to challenge the tough issue.

Clinton has phoned leaders or her counterparts of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, Germany, Czech, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Mexico, spokesman Robert Wood said on Friday.

"The secretary expressed the desire to work closely with them," Wood said, adding that most of the phone conversations were focused on the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

"The Obama administration hasn't fully enunciated its Middle East policy. It will do so in "an appropriate time," said the spokesman.

The policy on the Palestinian militant group of Hamas would not be bargained, according to Wood, Clinton has "made very clear what Hamas needed to do if it was going to play a constructive role in the region."

"The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets," Clinton said last Tuesday in a hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

"However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians," Clinton said.

Israel launched a massive military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on December 27, in an attempt to disable Hamas' rocket attacks into Israel and arm-smuggling from Egypt, and to isolate Hamas' leadership in the territories.

The two sides announced a cease-fire on Sunday. The 22-day-longconflicts, however, caused severe humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip with at least 1,300 people were killed, some of them were women and children.

Obama said on Thursday that he will sent the Middle East envoy George Mitchell to the region as soon as possible, in an effort to "help the parties ensure that the cease-fire that has been achieved is made durable and sustainable."

"It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors," Obama said at the appointment ceremony for Mitchell.

According to Obama, in order to reach the durable cease-fire, Hamas must end its rocket attacks, Israel must complete the withdrawal of its troops from the Gaza Strip, and the international community must take effective measures to prevent Hamas from rearming.

The president, just like his predecessors, reiterated the steady support for Israel. "Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats."


Editor:Zhang Pengfei