U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank Thursday for talks on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack confirmed Tuesday the two will meet in the town of Jericho with foreign ministers from moderate Arab states and G-8 nations.
The spokesman said the meeting is a positive sign for restoring long-stalled dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Late last week, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The truce has largely held despite sporadic rocket fire by militants into Israel.
On Tuesday, Mr. Abbas welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remarks that he is ready for peace talks if a new Palestinian government recognizes Israel and militants release a captured soldier.
The U.S. also welcomed Mr. Olmert's speech, saying it holds a lot of promise.
The State Department spokesman said Condoleezza Rice will not necessarily hold a corresponding meeting Thursday with Mr. Olmert.