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Kissinger says Hillary Clinton Would Be Outstanding Diplomat

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has told an Indian audience that Senator Hillary Clinton would make "an outstanding appointment" as America's top diplomat. The elder statesman, who served in Republican administrations, says if President-elect Obama chooses Mrs. Clinton it would show "great courage" on his part. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman has this report from New Delhi.

One of America's elder statesmen says U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton has a great intellect and would be outstanding in his old job.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Henry Kissinger made the remark at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in New Delhi.

Kissinger, who was Secretary of State under two Republican presidents, says it would be a courageous act for President-elect Barack Obama to appoint his former Democratic Party primary rival as the top American diplomat.

"To appoint a very strong personality with an independent constituency into a Cabinet position requires a lot of courage," Kissinger said.

Kissinger said Senator Clinton, if she accepted, would have to be subordinate to her former rival - an event that would be a "symbol of a new approach."

The comments came amid political speculation in Washington that Mr. Obama is considering bringing the wife of former President Bill Clinton into his Cabinet.

Indian media has also been rife with reports the President-elect is looking to name Mr. Clinton as a personal envoy to try to solve the Kashmir territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Asked about that, the 85-year-old Kissinger provoked much laughter in the audience when he quipped "there is a limit to the number of Clintons you can appoint" at one time.

The former Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford administrations says the Obama White House will not be able to pick one international problem and make it a priority. Kissinger suggested the need for new institutions globally to give urgent attention to nuclear proliferation, climate change and energy issues.

Kissinger also warned the incoming administration in Washington that major countries cannot allow Tehran to ignore repeated warnings in response to its threat to acquire nuclear weapons.

"We have a time limit on issues like nuclear proliferation - a time limit imposed by the acquisition of technology, by, especially, Iran," Kissinger said.

Kissinger says if Iran becomes a nuclear state it would be "a blow to the international order in general."