FACTBOX: Key foreign policy statements by Obama, Clinton
(Reuters) - Sen. Hillary Clinton will testify on Tuesday at a congressional hearing on her nomination by President-elect Barack Obama to be U.S. secretary of state.
Obama surprised many by choosing his former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination to be his top diplomat.
Below are some of their statements and key differences on foreign policy during the Democratic primary season. Analysts said these were magnified in the heat of the campaign and will be minimized at Tuesday's hearing.
Obama opposed the Iraq war before he was elected to the Senate and has said he would withdraw U.S. troops within 16 months of taking office on January 20. He says his early opposition to the war shows he is best placed to make a "clean break" from the Republican approach.
Clinton was more reluctant on the campaign trail to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. She refused to apologize for her 2002 Senate vote authorizing the war but said she would like to have that vote back to do over.
Obama has said that the United States will have to "engage in tough, direct diplomacy with Iran."
He has also raised the possibility of presidential talks with Iranian leaders, saying: "I reserve the right as president of the United States to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if I think it's going to keep America safe."
Clinton charged that Obama's openness to meeting Iranian leaders was evidence of his naiveté about foreign policy. She has threatened to "obliterate" Iran if it used nuclear weapons against Israel.
But Clinton also has argued for opening up a diplomatic track with Iran, which the United States suspects of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Richard Holbrooke, one of Clinton's top foreign policy advisors who brokered the 1995 agreement that ended the Bosnian war, suggested U.S. contacts with Iran should start via private and confidential channels.
Obama has called U.S. friendship with Israel "unbreakable" and has vowed to ensure the security of the Jewish state. He said he would make a sustained push to achieve the goal of two states -- a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state. He has said diplomatic efforts could moderate Syria, which would help stabilize the region and better secure Israel.
On Sunday, Obama said: "The reason it's so important for the United States to be engaged and involved immediately, not waiting until the end of their term, is because working through the politics of this requires a third party that everybody has confidence (in), wants to see a fair and just outcome."
Clinton, who is considered a favorite of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, also has stressed the need for Arab-Israeli peace. She says the fundamentals are a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank in return for a declaration that the conflict is over, recognition of Israel's right to exist, guarantees of Israeli security, diplomatic recognition of Israel and normalization of its relations with Arab states.
(Reporting and writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Bill Trott)
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