ABU DHABI - The United States is upbeat about the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state in two years’ time, and it said a two-state solution is the best way to resolve the long-drawn conflict in the Middle East.
In an interview on MBC1’s talk show Kalam Nawaem (Sweet or Soft Talk) at the Zayed University, visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said an acceptable two-state solution for both Palestine and Israel would be achieved in two years with both states recognising the existence of each other. The show will air on Monday at midnight.
Clinton said the US administration respected Palestine’s sovereign status and was also committed to Israel’s security and the co-existence of the two countries.
“The United States is committed to a two-state solution. We are committed to a state for the Palestinian people and committed to security for the Israeli people. We are pursuing that every single day. If it works, the (regional) conflict will be resolved and each side has to make decision that is very difficult for them,” she told the audience that included Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The former US first lady said the two-state solution would have been achieved 10 years ago, but the lack of confidence of both parties put paid to hopes for peace. “We are working all the time. Literally, every time... we work to instil confidence among the two parties to solve the problem.”
She also said the Israelis must leave the West Bank for a peaceful solution to the issue and bring about lasting peace in the region. “This conflict has to resolve. There is an essential role from outside to bring the two sides closer to help solve the conflict,” Clinton stressed.
Clinton emphasised that all issues, including the status of Jerusalem, refugees and Israeli settlements must be solved before achieving the two-state solution.
On Iran, the US Secretary of State said Tehran had the right to have nuclear technology but only for peaceful purposes. “Iran has the right to have peaceful nuclear energy, but the international community (including the US) will not allow the country to have nuclear weapons that could trigger an arms race in the region and further disturb regional peace.”
“The big concern for the future (in the region) is Iran and its weapons that threaten the neighbours… we can’t allow anyone to cause conflicts that could be disastrous in the (Middle East) region,” she warned.
She also claimed sanctions had slowed Iran’s nuclear programme. “With the sanctions, Iran had technical problems in its nuclear programme, helping slow it down,” she said.
About the ongoing referendum in Sudan that might split the country into two sovereign states comprising the Arab north and Christian south, she said it was a positive move with the credit going to the government in Khartoum.
“The credit for the peaceful resolution of the conflict should go to Khartoum. So far, the vote has been peaceful and I hope it will end with a peaceful solution and both Khartoum and Juba will have peaceful relations in the future (if the vote goes in favour of the south).”