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Clinton discusses Iran, Egypt with Israeli officials

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 16, 2012 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before their meeting on July 16, 2012.
Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before their meeting on July 16, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clinton and Israeli officials discuss Iran, Egypt, other regional issues
  • Israel's president lauds U.S. role in trying to resolve Iranian nuclear crisis
  • The visits wrap up a two-week trip through Europe, Asia and the Middle East
  • Clinton is scheduled to return to Washington on Tuesday

Jerusalem (CNN) -- The United States and Israel must work together in "smart, creative and courageous" ways to resolve vital regional issues, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday in Israel, the last stop on her two-week trip through Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Clinton met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, discussing Egypt, Iran, Syria, efforts to reach a peace agreement with Palestinians, and other issues.

"It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity," Clinton said after her meeting with Peres. "It is a chance to advance our shared goal of security, stability, peace, and democracy, along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future."

A key issue was Iran, whose efforts to build a nuclear program have unnerved many world leaders, resulting in condemnation and sanctions from the United Nations. It has also raised the specter of military action by Israel against Iran.

Tomatoes thrown at Clinton's motorcade
Peres thanks Obama, Clinton
Clinton urges smooth Egypt transition

"There is a world agreement that the Iranian government is after nuclear weapons and that its policy of terrorism is endangering everybody. There is a global understating that we must do everything we can to prevent Iran from endangering others," Peres said, according to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office.

"The coalition you are building and the measures you are taking have an impact," he said. "You are making the Iranians understand that this is just the beginning and that all options are on the table."

Clinton also met Monday with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at her hotel in Jerusalem.

Before departing the Middle East for Washington, Clinton was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is now serving as the official envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East -- the group of four nations working to mediate a peace deal.

On Sunday, Clinton was in Egypt, meeting with the head of the country's military leadership, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, whose military council is in a political tug of war with new President Mohamed Morsy.

Egypt's military leaders took control of the government after a popular uprising toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, promising to hand over control after elections.

But after this year's elections, the military council issued a decree stripping the presidency of much of its power. And more than two weeks after Morsy took office, the country remains in the throes of domestic political chaos

Clinton met with Morsy on Saturday and urged him to assert the "full authority" of his office. She stressed that it is up to the Egyptian people to shape the country's political future, but also said the United States would work "to support the military's return to a purely national security role."

Clinton and Tantawi discussed the political transition and the military ruling council's ongoing dialogue with Morsy, said a senior State Department official, who described the meeting on condition of anonymity.

When Clinton visited Alexandria on Sunday for a ceremony marking the reopening of the U.S. Consulate there, protesters threw tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle as the staff walked to their vans after the ceremony. Riot police had to hold back the crowd. Clinton was uninjured, but a tomato hit an Egyptian official in the face.

Clinton is scheduled to return to Washington on Tuesday after a two-week trip that also took her to France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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