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Hillary Clinton: Coming Months Will Be ‘Crucial’ For Mideast

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the event "Equality for Women is Progress for All" at the United Nations on March 7, 2014 in New York City. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the event “Equality for Women is Progress for All” at the United Nations on March 7, 2014 in New York City. (credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. first lady and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke about the country’s longstanding friendship with Israel and the importance of keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran as she accepted a lifetime achievement award from the American Jewish Congress on Wednesday.

Clinton, widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, spoke at the group’s gala in Manhattan, introduced by actress Julianna Margulies.

She said the coming months would be “crucial” for the region, both in the attempts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians and in efforts to make sure Iran doesn’t acquire nuclear weapons. She said that both goals were vital to the United States’ interests.

Clinton, 66, went over her own history, talking about some of the steps she had taken in the peace process while serving as secretary of state for President Barack Obama and steps to increase international pressure on Iran.

“I pursued the peace negotiations in large measure because I think the status quo is unsustainable, and I want to do everything I can … to keep testing, to keep pushing,” she said.

The American Jewish Congress is an association of Jewish Americans seeking to defend Jewish interests through public policy advocacy, using diplomacy, legislation and the court system, according to its website.

The Stephen S. Wise Award for Lifetime Achievement also has been given to President Harry Truman and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren among others.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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