After meeting with Shimon Peres, Hillary Clinton said the US and Israel must work together to face changes sweeping the Middle East. Also on the agenda were Iran's nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The US Secretary of State briefed the Israeli president on discussions with Egypt's newly elected president and military leadership. Some in Israel fear that the Islamist administration in Egypt might seek to renegotiate a 1979 peace treaty. President Mohamed Morsi assured Clinton that Egypt plans to abide by the treaty.
Clinton, who arrived in Israel late Sunday - on the last leg of a 13-nation, nine-day tour - hailed the revolutions in the Arab world as a "moment of great change and transformation in the region."
"It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity," Clinton said. "It is a chance to advance our shared goals of security, stability, peace and democracy."
The pair also discussed the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which Israel, the US and other countries have called a cover for a weapons drive. Iran denies this.
Israel, widely thought to be the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear weapons capacity, has made clear it could strike Iran on its own if diplomacy fails. Peres, who favors diplomacy over a military strike, expressed confidence in Washington's tough stance toward Iran.
"The measures that you have taken, are beginning to have their impact," Peres told Clinton in public remarks. "We appreciate very much your position. We trust its depth and dedication and determination, and we feel partners of this coalition."
It was Clinton's first visit since US-brokered peace talks with Palestinians broke down in 2010 over Israel's refusal to halt the building of settlements. Clinton spoke later on Monday with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, but there was no immediate comment from either side on the meeting. She had met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris at the start of her trip.
mkg/mz (AP, AFP, Reuters, DPA)