Rice wants to discuss ‘destination

Condoleezza Rice told Jewish leaders that she was ready to discuss the “destination” of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, while adhering to established conditions for bringing it about. The U.S. secretary of state met Thursday with leaders of 13 Jewish organizations ahead of a Feb. 19 summit she’s planning with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Participants quoted Rice as saying that discussing final status does not mean dropping the “road map” peace plan, which requires the Palestinians to end terrorism and Israel to freeze settlement building before an agreement is reached. The shift appears to embrace the Clinton administration principle of discussing details of a final agreement, something President Bush has avoided until now, believing the sides weren’t ready. Rice insisted that the United States would not impose a deal. “There will be no surprises for Israel when we walk into the room,” Rice said.

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