Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman began a visit to the U.S. on Monday. Lieberman meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday.
In his meeting with Clinton, Lieberman and the Secretary of State spoke about the deteriorating situation in Syria, developments in Egypt and reconfirmed Israel's commitment to the two-state solution.
Clinton further confirmed the U.S. "unshakable commitment" to the U.S. relationship, not only to security, but also "to Israel's democracy."
Lieberman thanked Clinton for the U.S. resolute stand on the Iranian issue, and said that the U.S.'s recent steps, which included tightening sanctions on Iranian banks, send an important message to the region.
Unlike Lieberman's previous visit to the U.S. Department of State, this time only official photographers were allowed in, and there were no statements to the press. Speaking to Haaretz, Lieberman said the meeting with Clinton was "very good," and that it was not full of pleasantries, but rather consisted of a deep discussion of the issues.
Later on Tuesday, Lieberman met with Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain.
Before the meeting, McCain told reporters that "on Syria, we should start considering all options, including arming the opposition. The blood-letting has got to stop." Iran, McCain said, "hasn't renounced (its) path toward the acquisition of nuclear weapon." McCain also expressed to Lieberman his continued support and appreciation for efforts that the Israelis make on our behalf.
The Israeli Foreign Minister said that "we are waiting for Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and we express our appreciation for the support of Israel… we appreciate the very crucial decision of sanctions against Iran, and we continue to monitor it closely."
Upon his arrival, Lieberman attended a dinner organized by the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, with dozens of congressmen.
Also on Monday, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said she expected the talks with Lieberman to revolve around "Iran, Iran, and more Iran." She added that although she is optimistic about the Arab Spring, it was unfortunately "turning into an Iranian winter."
When asked about the recent unity agreement between the rival Palestinian factions, Ros-Lehtinen briefly replied: "Trouble, trouble."
When she asked Lieberman what kind of regime might emerge in Syria after Assad's downfall, Lieberman said he would be happy to respond and consult on "all these sensitive issues." However, the press was then hurried out of the conference room.
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