Iran General NewsClinton says Iran-Syria outreach is "testing waters"

Clinton says Iran-Syria outreach is “testing waters”

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ImageReuters: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the Obama administration was "testing the waters" in its diplomatic overtures to Iran and Syria this week.

ImageWASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the Obama administration was "testing the waters" in its diplomatic overtures to Iran and Syria this week.

On Thursday, Clinton said she planned to invite Iran to an international conference on Afghanistan, likely to happen later this month, and two senior U.S. officials will be in Syria this weekend as part of the new U.S. strategy to speak to its enemies, a shift from the Bush administration.

"We have a sense of urgency in the Obama administration. We believe that there are a lot of challenges and threats that we have inherited that we have to address but there are lots of opportunities," Clinton told National Public Radio.

"We are being extremely vigorous in our outreach because we are testing the waters. We are determining what is possible. We are turning new pages and resetting buttons and doing all kinds of efforts to create more partners and fewer adversaries," she added in the interview.

Clinton said final details of the venue and timing of the Afghanistan conference had not been set yet but countries with an interest in stabilising Afghanistan would be invited, including Iran.

"Iran, for example, is deeply concerned about the importing of narcotics into Iran from Afghanistan. There are a lot of reasons why Iran would be interested," she said.

But Clinton, who has proposed a date of March 31 for the conference, indicated the United States had not heard yet whether Iran was interested in coming.

"Obviously it is up to them to decide whether to come," she said.

(Reporting by Sue Pleming; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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