Secretary of State Clinton hosting the re-launch of direct negotiations with Palestinian President Abbas, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, September 2, 2010. ©AP Image
The Middle East presents the United States with some of its most pressing security and political issues. The U.S. Government has renewed its commitment to the region to increase prosperity, promote freedom, and counter extremist ideology. A comprehensive and lasting peace is the United States’ number one priority for the Middle East. The United States will continue to help build a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq; counter the malign influence of Iran and its nuclear ambitions; and promote political, social, and economic progress throughout the region.
The United States is engaged in significant diplomatic efforts to bring about a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, which we define as peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon, as well as full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states. The United States is advancing a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the promotion of negotiations between Israel and the PLO. The goal is for the parties to conclude an agreement within a year to address the major compromises on the core issues necessary to implement a two-State solution and end the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Throughout the process, the United States will play an active and sustained role in facilitating the discussions and offering proposals for overcoming any impasses that arise.
Engagement with Iran. The Iranian government’s nuclear program, its destabilizing activities in the region including its support for terrorism, and its repression of its own citizens undermine U.S. Government efforts to foster peace and security in the Middle East. While we have engaged Iran on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests, the response to our engagement efforts so far has not been encouraging. Nevertheless, because of this Administration’s efforts to engage Iran, we are in a stronger position within the international community. The international community is increasingly united in calling on Iran to live up to its obligations and pursue meaningful engagement to resolve the concerns of the international community, as was evidenced in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 as well as accompanying sanctions enacted by the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, and, most recently, South Korea. The United States has furthered its resolve through the implementation of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA).