Rice, Abbas meet

A Palestinian state is in the best interest of the U.S. and the region, Condoleezza Rice told reporters.

The United States Secretary of State and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas held a press conference Monday after their meeting in Ramallah.

Abbas and Rice spoke about Palestinian expectations for a November peace conference in Annapolis, Md., sponsored by the United States. Abbas also asked Rice to work to prevent Israel from seizing Palestinian land in eastern Jerusalem, to halt the work at the Mugrabi gate and to stop construction of the security fence.

Rice is in the region on a four-day visit in an effort to bring together the two sides in advance of next month’s conference dealing with the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Rice has warned against expecting any major breakthroughs during this visit and said she will likely return for more shuttle diplomacy in advance of the parley.

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