Iran General NewsIsrael to focus on Iran threat in talks with...

Israel to focus on Iran threat in talks with Clinton

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ImageAFP: Israel will focus on Iran in talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her first official visit this week, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

ImageJERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel will focus on Iran in talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her first official visit this week, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

"Israel will underline the gravity of the Iranian nuclear threat" and reaffirm its opposition to any contacts with the Hamas movement running Gaza, spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

Her visit "will be an occasion to meet with the next Israeli leadership and take stock with the outgoing government of the state of peace negotiations with the Palestinians," Palmor said.

Clinton is due to arrive in Israel on Monday night from a Gaza reconstruction conference in Egypt. She is due to meet with Israeli officials on Tuesday in Jerusalem and with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Wednesday.

Her visit comes with no new government yet formed in the Jewish state and with the growing possibility that hawk Benjamin Netanyahu will preside over a right-wing coalition that will likely put it at odds with US President Barack Obama's stated pledge of vigorously pursuing the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israel and the Palestinians relaunched their peace negotiations to much fanfare at a US conference in November 2007 but the talks have made little progress since and have been on ice since Israel's devastating war on Hamas-run Gaza in December-January.

Clinton is due to meet Netanyahu during her stay, as well as outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

In Ramallah she will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad.

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