Clinton Says US Willing to Engage Syria, Iran

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2009 8:02 PM CST
Secretary of State-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., listens to a question as she testifies on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Hillary Clinton signaled a willingness to directly engage Iran and Syria in talks once she's secretary of state—a prospect she had denounced as "naive" during the campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports. In her confirmation hearing—she is expected to be easily approved later this week—Clinton said the US should not delay starting a dialogue with Tehran about its nuclear ambitions "if we determine that there is a genuine intent to engage."

On Syria, Clinton's written statement had a similar sentiment: "I believe that engaging directly with Syria increases the possibility of making progress in changing Syrian behavior." She said the US must see how far Damascus is willing to go to break ties with extremist groups. Clinton also suggested that the US may soften its policy on Cuba.