THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was coy Monday about whether she would meet Iranian delegates at an international conference on Afghanistan, and she urged Tehran to play a positive role in helping stabilize its neighbor.
"I believe that there will be an opening by this conference that will enable all the countries, including Iran, to come forward," Clinton told reporters aboard her plane en route to The Hague for Tuesday's conference. "The fact that they accepted the invitation to come suggests that they believe there is a role for them to play, and we're looking forward to hearing more about that."
More than 80 countries and international organizations will be attending the conference, aimed at jump-starting political support for Afghanistan in the wake of the new U.S. strategy for the region, which President Obama announced last week. Clinton said she would be sharing the administration's policy review during the conference.
"We want to share the review in person with the friends and stakeholders in Afghanistan's future and encourage them to begin thinking hard about what each can do to support governance, security, economic assistance, regional cooperation, all of the necessary steps that we have to see fulfilled," she told reporters aboard her plane.
JERUSALEM, Israel (CNN) - As Israel's prime minister-designate struggles to form a government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began a full day of meetings with Israeli political leaders.
At a morning meeting Tuesday with President Shimon Peres, Clinton repeated her warnings that rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel "must cease."
Clinton said she did not understand the motivation behind the attacks and called them cynical, adding that "any nation, including Israel, cannot stand idly by when its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks."
Clinton, accompanied by the U.S. special envoy on Mideast peace, George Mitchell, said it is a sensitive time as Israel tries to form a new government.
"The democratic process has its ups and downs," she told Peres, but "I want you to know that we will work with the government of Israel that represents the democratic will of the people of Israel."
Peres expressed concern about security threats to Israel from Iran. Israeli officials worrying that the Obama administration might go too far in its efforts to talk with Iran. The Israeli media say Israel plans to present Clinton with proposed "red lines" on talks with Iran that would include harsher sanctions against Tehran and a "Plan B" if the U.S.-Iran dialogue does not work.
Also Tuesday, Clinton will meet with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, Labor party head Ehud Barak and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert.
Wednesday, she will visit the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, conferring with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (CNN) – Hillary Clinton says her first overseas trip to Asia as secretary of state is aimed at creating a "network of partners" to tackle problems that no nation can deal with alone, including the global economic crisis.
En route to Asia on Sunday, Clinton told reporters that the economy would serve as the backdrop of her trip, and she intends to explain steps the United States is taking with its $787 billion stimulus bill. She said she will be "seeking cooperation on ways that we are going to work through these very difficult economic times."
Clinton is slated to travel to Japan, China, South Korea and Indonesia to discuss a range of issues, including mutual economic recovery, trade, the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation and reversing the global warming trend.
The trip represents a departure from a diplomatic tradition under which the first overseas trip by the secretary of state in a new administration is to Europe.
Speaking at the New York-based Asia Society last week, Clinton said the Obama administration wants to "develop a broader and deeper" relationship with Asia, a region that has felt overlooked by the United States despite its growing global importance.
"It demonstrates clearly that our new administration wants to focus a lot of time and energy in working with Asian partners and all the nations in the Pacific region," she said, "because we know that so much of our future depends upon our relationships there."