Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed receives US secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Oman. Image Credit: Mohammed Mustafa

Muscat: Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged Middle East nations to fulfill the high aspirations of youth in the region.

"We see a generation larger than any we have ever seen coming of age in the greater Middle East," she told a select gathering of civic society people at the Bait Al Zubair in old Muscat district.

Clinton added that young people in the Middle East were looking for opportunities and freedom for greater voice in their society.

Clinton said the youth were connected globally but were focussed locally.

"They want to see improvement in their own circumstances,” she said, adding that non-government organisations can play a key role in empowering the youth.

"Some government embrace civil societies and recognise the role of NGOs but some government shut the doors to citizens working to improve some sections and communities."

"We, in USA, believe that NGOs play critical role in empowering citizens, articulate needs, push for education and health care and progress in human rights," she said in her 13-minute talk.

She acknowledged Tawasul - Oman’s first think-tank – that is working with women in the country for a larger role in the Majlis Asshura elections due for October this year.

Clinton also stressed on women's empowerment for the Middle Eastern countries to succeed in the 21st century.
Replying to a question during interaction with the audience, Clinton said that women can play a key role in ending any conflict.

“You cannot wipe away history and differences but you can begin to create some awareness of common concerns,” the former first lady of the US advised women in the audience while replying to a question by a woman on Arab-Israeli conflict.

She pointed out to her efforts as former First Lady of the US in Northern Ireland, where she got Protestant as well as Catholic women to talk.

"Women played a major role in pushing the politicians to find some solutions," Clinton stressed, further adding: "It was very clear that there just couldn't be a divide when people on both sides were suffering in the same way."

Clinton suggested that Arab and Israeli women could provide a similar impetus for peace in the region.

The US Secretary of State reiterated that the joint demands from women concerned about their families' futures could "press government and leaders to make the necessary decisions that will lead to sustainable peace."

Clinton, who is on a four-nation tour of the region, praised Oman’s progress in last 40 years under Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed.

Clinton said that she would like to take Oman’s success formula to other places "near and far".

"If I could bottle the ingredients that has made Oman so successful, I would take to some other places near and far and try to persuade people and leaders alike to make same decisions and walk the same path [as Oman]," she said.