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Rice In Italy Following Mideast Trip


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Rome for talks with Italian and Vatican officials, following a Mideast tour that included meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Ms. Rice will hold talks with Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini Tuesday, but her meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was canceled as the Italian leader is suffering from influenza.

The Secretary's meeting with Pope John Paul was canceled for similar reasons.

Speaking about her Mideast trip today, Monday, Ms. Rice expressed confidence in an upcoming meeting, Tuesday, between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

She said both leaders have accepted separate invitations to visit the White House, and said Washington will give more than 40 million dollars in aid to the Palestinians in the next three months.

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