Rice to go to Mideast


Condoleezza Rice will visit Israel and the West Bank next week.

The U.S. secretary of state’s visit will be part of a larger Middle East tour that she will undertake with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates from July 30 through Aug. 2. Rice’s talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah toward the end of her tour will focus on “the development of a political horizon” for the Palestinians, her office said – a reference to the latest Bush administration initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace and Palestinian statehood.


Last week, Bush called for an international meeting to bring together Israelis, Palestinians and some of their Arab neighbors to discuss issues that have blocked the resumption of peace negotiations and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The meeting is tentatively timed for September to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

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