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Rice back in Israel again to boost peace talks
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09:01, November 05, 2007

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Sunday morning on her third visit to the region in six weeks, aiming at closing gap in Israeli-Palestinian talks ahead of a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference.

Livni told Rice that any diplomatic agreement will only be implemented after the Palestinians fight terror, according to the statement released by Israel Government Press Office.

"The problem is not the joint declaration in Annapolis (in the U.S.) but what it will include. There is no tension in the talks with the Palestinians, but there are problems and disputes over the Road Map (peace plan)," Livni was quoted as saying. Livni emphasized Israel would not relinquish its demand that the road map plan be implemented, despite the Palestinian suggestion to advance talks independently from it.

On her flight from Turkey to Israel on Saturday, Rice had dampened hopes of a breakthrough on her latest trip.

"I absolutely don't expect there will be agreement on a document," she told reporters on the plane.

Rice is later scheduled to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and to speak at the Saban Forum in Jerusalem. She is also expected to press Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to agree on the wording of a document about Palestinian statehood to be presented at the upcoming peace parley in Annapolis, Maryland.

The conference is tentatively scheduled for the end of November or early December, but no invitations have been issued yet because of the discord between the two sides.

It remains unclear whether Rice will be able to bridge the differences between the Israelis and the Palestinians during this trip and to set a date for the much-touted meeting. It also remains uncertain which Arab countries will attend.

Source: Xinhua



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