Clinton Stresses Partnership, Support for Mideast in Transition

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a United Nations meeting on Middle East peace and security today that partnerships and commitment are required to help the region find stability.

“Emerging democracies need champions, not fair-weather friends,” Clinton said today, describing meetings she’s held with leaders from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen on the margins of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. “I expressed to each of them America’s unwavering support for their country’s continued journey along the democratic path.”

Clinton praised work by Germany to increase cooperation between the Arab League and the United Nations, which together appointed a joint special envoy to seek a diplomatic solution to the violence in Syria.

The U.S. is one of 28 countries and international organizations working through the Deauville Partnership to support democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa.

Yesterday, the top American diplomat announced a new professional and cultural exchange program to bring Arab League officials together with their U.S. counterparts.

“I believe in the potential of multilateral organizations,” Clinton said, “and as secretary of state, I have made it a priority to deepen our engagement with regional organizations that are playing a growing role in world events, from the African Union to ASEAN to the Arab League.”

Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Arabi said the exchange was “very important” to the group and that U.S. leadership is vital to the Middle East.

“Most of our, I would say, problems depend on what the United States will do to resolve them,” al-Arabi said in public remarks yesterday. “Just to refer to Palestine, we need the United States participation. Now we have Syria; we need United States participation, active participation.”

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