DHAKA: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel late on Sunday for meetings Monday with top Israeli leaders on Iran, Egypt, Syria and the frozen peace process with the Palestinians.
It is her first visit to Israel since September 2010.
Iran’s growing nuclear threat is expected to play a large role in her talks Monday with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, defence minister Ehud Barak and president Shimon Peres.
But there is much speculation that Hillary’s trip is connected to the United States presidential race and it is timed to counter Jewish-American public perception that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel later this month means that he is more committed to Israel than the Obama administration.
During Clinton’s visit, it is expected that Israeli leaders will reiterate their request that the US free Jonathan Pollard, who has been in an American jail since 1987 for passing classified information to Israel.
The heads of the Knesset’s Jewish factions are expected to hand her a letter asking for Pollard’s freedom.
BDST: 2020 HRS, JUL 15, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor