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Condoleezza Rice Returns to Middle East

  • VOA News

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has returned to the Middle East and met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Rice arrived in Israel on Saturday for her second visit to the region this week. Israeli officials say they are interested in hearing her ideas. Following talks in Israel, Rice plans to meet with Lebanese officials.

Rice told reporters she expects tough talks with officials from both sides. She said the matter is emotional and difficult.

President Bush says Rice will use the trip to work toward an acceptable UN resolution for the Security Council to discuss when it begins talks Monday on a possible multinational force for southern Lebanon.

In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Mr. Bush said Rice will help Israel and Lebanon seize the opportunity to achieve a lasting peace. He says the current fighting is part of broader struggle between freedom and terror across the Middle East.

In the opposition Democratic Party's radio address, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said the United States would have been in a better position to deal with the conflict if it had a permanent Middle East envoy in the region.

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