U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will postpone her trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah which was due to begin next week, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.
"The secretary will postpone a planned step in Jerusalem and Ramallah until the end of the month," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Rice, originally to leave Washington Monday for a five-day tour to the Middle East, Africa and with a stopover in Lisbon, preferred to remain home amid a fierce debate over the war in Iraq, McCormack said.
"Obviously we all know there is a lot of national discussion about Iraq," the spokesman added.
But just before McCormack made the announcement, U.S. President George W. Bush said he would send Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the Middle East in August.
The coming visits will reaffirm an American initiative to beef up international support for the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Bush told a White House news conference.