U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to travel to New York for a high-level meeting on the Middle East crisis with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
A senior U.N. official, Mark Malloch Brown, says the meeting over dinner on Thursday will be aimed at forging a common position on the crisis. He says European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will attend the meeting.
Malloch Brown says Mr. Annan is seeking an immediate end to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and what U.N. officials refer to as an "enhanced stabilization force" to calm regional tensions.
Rice has said there should be a ceasefire as soon as possible but not until, in her words, "conditions are conducive" for one.
Alsoon Thursday, Mr. Annan will brief the U.N. Security Council on the findings of a high-level diplomatic mission that visited the region this week.
The mission spoke with officials in Lebanon and Israel but did not visit one of its key destinations, Syria -- which refused to see Mr. Annan's special advisor on Syria-Lebanon issues, Terje Roed-Larsen.
Syria's U.N. ambassador said Wednesday Mr. Roed-Larsen was not welcome because of his insistence that Syria comply with a Security Council resolution that demands the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.