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Rice not to visit Middle East before peace conference
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12:14, November 17, 2007

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not travel to the Middle East region before the upcoming Middle East peace conference due to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.

"I wouldn't anticipate that she's going to be going on any foreign travel between now and Annapolis," McCormack said.

"She's doing a lot of different phone calls regarding the Annapolis conference, both in the run-up to it, as well as what comes after Annapolis," he said, adding that Rice is in close contact with "all the major players" who are expected to attend the peace conference.

Rice has visited the Middle East region several times to prepare for the peace conference.

The Middle East peace conference is tentatively slated to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 25-27, according to U.S. media. But the White House has declined to confirm the date.

However, the peace conference looks to be thin on content, mostly serving as a stage to begin formal negotiations on a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, the New York Times said in a report Monday.

The Middle East peace process has been stalled due to the violence between the two sides as well as the internal conflicts of Palestinian factions.

Source: Xinhua

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