Clinton seeks stronger ties with Arab allies

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's trip to the Persian Gulf is intended to strengthen ties with Arab allies, rally support for fresh penalties against Iran, and promote democracy and security across the Middle East.

Clinton was to depart Washington late Saturday for the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. Leaders in those countries are concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions and growing influence in the region.

Clinton also will be looking for more Arab backing for the new government in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority.

Her visit comes amid spikes of unrest in Arab nations such as Tunisia and Algeria, and deep unease with Egypt's recent elections. 

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