Hillary Clinton Says Mideast Peace Talks 'Constructive'

Secretary of state also weighs in on Tea Party movement, daughter's wedding.

ByJoshua Miller
September 16, 2010, 6:46 AM

Sept. 16, 2010— -- Peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis have been "constructive" and the United States hopes Israel will extend its moratorium on settlement construction, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour of "This Week."

"It took a lot of political capital for Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to achieve this moratorium," Clinton said today in Jerusalem. "It had never been done before.

"At the same time, it's been in effect for the time that it was set for and the talks are just starting."

The United States has worked hard to create a "conducive atmosphere" for negotiations, she said.

Clinton is in Jerusalem for the second round of U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Israeli government, led by Netanyahu, and the Palestinian Authority, led by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Clinton also said she expects the Tea Party's bark to be a bit stronger than its bite when it comes to its impact on U.S. foreign policy.

"Is it possible to have the president's foreign policy agenda furthered, even if a lot of Tea Party candidates do end up" winning, Amanpour asked Clinton in the interview, which is scheduled to air Sunday on ABC News' "This Week."

"Well, I've seen a lot of people run for office and say a lot of things and then when they have the burden of holding office and the responsibility that goes with it," Clinton said. "I've seen them become very sobered, very quickly, about the challenges we face domestically and internationally.

"You know, nobody said it better than Mario Cuomo, who said, 'You campaign in poetry, and you govern in prose.' Sometimes the poetry can get kind of hot," Clinton said with a laugh, "and a little over the top, but the prose brings you down to earth."

Cuomo is a former governor of New York.

Clinton insisted that no matter who wins in November, she will continue to make the case that the Obama administration's international efforts are "in furtherance of America's interest."

She emphasized that there is bipartisan support for national security, which, Clinton said, included not only defense but also diplomacy and development.

Amanpour asked the Secretary of State what her reaction was to the release of the American hiker, Sarah Shourd, from Iranian custody.

"Great relief," Clinton said. "I was so pleased that this young woman was able to come home. I want the other two young Americans, Josh and Shane, to come home as well."

"As a mother," the Secretary said, "I've met with their mothers and I just can't even imagine how painful the experience, they themselves have had inside prison, but then, of course, the pain that their families feel. So, thankfully, she'll be given a chance to be reunited now."

Amanpour pressed Clinton on whether the $500,000 bail was paid. "That was privately arranged," Clinton said, denying any knowledge of whether money exchanged hands.

Clinton Dishes on Daughter's Wedding Prep

Amanpour also asked Clinton about daughter Chelsea's recent nuptials to Marc Mezvinsky.

"Of all the things you've undertaken over the last several months," Amanpour asked, where was her daughter's wedding preparation, in terms of difficulty?

"If you don't tell anybody, it was at the top," Clinton said. "It was the most wonderful experience, but as I confessed, leading up to it, it was stressful.

"I think being mother of the bride is stressful under any circumstances. Doing it long distance, jet-lagged, on planes, in the midst of diplomatic negotiations, made it a little more so."

The full interview will air Sunday on "This Week."

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