JERUSALEM -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. will "vigorously" pursue the creation of a Palestinian state. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, she said pursuit of a peace agreement that includes a Palestinian state "seems inescapable."
Clinton also said the U.S. will send two envoys to Syria for "preliminary conversations."
The statement is the most significant sign yet that the Obama administration is considering restoring ties with the Damascus regime.
Clinton says the U.S. does not "engage in discussions for the sake of conversation," but that there must be benefit for the U.S. and its allies.
She says there is "no way to predict" what direction U.S.-Syria relations will take, but believes "it is a worthwhile effort to go and begin these preliminary conversations."
Clinton is making her first visit to the region as secretary of state. She spoke Tuesday alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of a meeting later in the day with prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu's criticism in the past of peace talks with the Palestinians and the possibility of Palestinian independence has raised concerns that his new government could clash with the U.S.
Clinton said earlier in the day that the U.S. would work with any Israeli government. But she says the U.S. "will be vigorously engaged in the pursuit of a two-state solution every step of the way."