Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the U.S. will do everything it can to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East, as the first direct talks between Israel and Palestine started this month after a 20 month hiatus.

“In the weeks and months ahead, President (Barack) Obama and I will do everything we can to help advance the cause of a comprehensive peace, not only in the Middle East, but across the world, and inside the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans,” she said in her remarks at an Iftaar held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

“In the Middle East, it is ultimately up to the people of the region to determine their own future,” she said.

“Just in the past week, we are reminded by the resumption of Middle East peace talks that progress always, always must be possible in spite of difficulty. And when there is a willingness to engage, to convey respect to those of differing views, we can work toward reconciliation,” she said.

“I believe with all my heart that most people in the world are united by a shared desire for a peaceful future in which all our children, regardless of where they were born or how they worship, can have that opportunity to become all that they are meant to be in the name of the Almighty and in furtherance of our common humanity,” Ms. Clinton said.

“As I said when I welcomed Israeli and Palestinian delegations, peace needs champions on every street corner and around every kitchen table, and not just there, but everywhere,” Secretary of State said.

“So I hope that we at these tables and at similar tables everywhere where people are meeting in the spirit of Ramadan to break-fast, we will reflect on how we each can demonstrate that a different future is possible, a future built on the universal human values of mutual respect and inclusion,” she said.

Welcoming guests to Iftaar, Ms. Clinton said the Holy Month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world fast and pray, and strive to do good deeds.

It’s also a time for reflection and introspection, for charity and for compassion, she said.

“Ramadan teaches and reinforces values that are honoured by millions and tens and hundreds of millions of people from other faiths and beliefs,” she said.

“So tonight, while we celebrate together, let us consider how we can build broader and deeper bonds of mutual understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among people of all faiths in the year to come, here at home and abroad,” Ms. Clinton said.

“Let us also reflect on how we can improve our efforts to ensure that we create more opportunity for more people in more places to live up to their own God-given potential,” she said.

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