Clinton in Egypt for talks

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Egypt Sunday to begin talks on efforts to rebuild Gaza and find a way to peace in the Middle East.In her first visit to the region since becoming the United States’ top diplomat, Clinton came bearing the prospect of $900 million in aid, provided Palestinians renounce violence, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Clinton is expected to push President Barack Obama’s commitment to finding a “two-state solution” that establishes a sovereign Palestinian state at peace with Israel.

“We want to strengthen a Palestinian partner willing to accept the conditions outlined by the Quartet and the Arab summit; in other words, a renouncement of violence, a recognition of Israel, and a commitment to abide by the previous agreements entered in by the Palestinian Authority,” Clinton said.

Clinton will confer with other regional and world leaders in Sharm el-Sheik before visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank Tuesday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a special envoy to the region, also are expected to take part.

“I wanted to come to hear for myself first-hand from people in Gaza, whose lives have been so badly impacted by the recent conflict,” Blair said at a school in Beit Hanun. “These are the people who need to be the focus of all our efforts for peace and progress from now on.”

The cease-fire between Hamas militants in Gaza and Israel has been tenuous at best since the Israelis pulled back from a three-week incursion this year.

Five Palestinian smugglers were killed Sunday when a tunnel they were in collapsed because of heavy rain, the Telegraph reported.


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