Clinton in Egypt for renewed Mideast peace talks


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will continue an attempt to broker peace in the Middle East on Tuesday when she and special envoy George Mitchell meet leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Egypt.

The negotiations involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are part of a process aimed at closing a peace deal within the next 12 months. The process kicked off earlier this month during a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas in Washington that Clinton hosted.

Clinton and Mitchell are expected to continue talks with the leaders in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

This isn’t Clinton’s first attempt to participate in an attempt to secure a two-state solution.

As first lady, though not a principal negotiator, she traveled to the Middle East to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in support of President Bill Clinton’s policies on the issue. The president eventually hosted Israeli and Palestinian leaders at Camp David, Maryland, for what proved to be unsuccessful final-status talks.

Now, as secretary of state, Clinton has a second chance and a more direct platform to help the parties reach a comprehensive settlement.

Should Clinton help shepherd an agreement, it would “fulfill a longtime desire to succeed in this area,” said Ned Walker, who was U.S. ambassador to Israel during part of President Clinton’s second term.

“She has something of a long history of being involved” in the region, said Walker, who also used to be an assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. “This would be a great fulfillment for her personally and for the administration and the country.”