Peres to Clinton: Israel is ready to assist in Mideast transition

Shimon Peres told Hillary Rodham Clinton that Israel was ready to do what it could to facilitate transition among its neighbors to democracy.

“We see this occasion as an occasion for better and for good will to cooperate in every possible way to enable this change to take the course into the 21st century for all the Middle East people and escape their poverty and problems and wants,” the Israeli president told the U.S. secretary of state before their meeting Monday afternoon.

Peres is in Washington to meet with President Obama on Tuesday. Statements from some Israeli leaders have suggested that they believe the Obama administration is moving too fast in encouraging some nations to transition to democratic governments as a result of the “Arab Spring,” the tumult now sweeping the region.

U.S. officials, in turn, have suggested that Israel and the Palestinians could help ease the process by resuming peace talks.

Clinton told Peres that it was an honor to host him in Washington and that “President Obama is very much looking forward to seeing you and discussing the issues that you have raised and your perspectives and the way forward, which will hopefully realize the better outcomes that we all wish for.”

“Our task together is to deepen and broaden our friendship, our relationship, our partnership to look for ways that we can work toward the kind of future that you have always believed in and that you have held out as a promise for the children of Israel and the children of all the countries of the Middle East,” Clinton said.