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Rice Extends Middle East Visit to Press for Border Accord

  • VOA News

Aides to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice say she has decided to extend her stay in the Middle East to try to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal opening a key border crossing in the Gaza Strip. Ms. Rice was set to return to Jerusalem late Monday from Jordan, where she offered the Jordanian people U.S. condolences in the aftermath of suicide bombings that killed 57 people last week in Amman. Earlier today, Ms. Rice said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were still facing several unresolved security issues at Rafah. But she also said the obstacles could be overcome with creativity and will from both sides. Israel closed the Rafah crossing shortly before withdrawing from Gaza in September. Re-opening the checkpoint for Palestinian travel and trade is widely seen as key to reviving the shattered Palestinian economy.
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