U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced plans to hold a three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Rice told reporters on Monday in the Egyptian town of Luxor that the meeting will bring together Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. She said the talks will look at issues leading eventually to a Palestinian state.
Speaking after meeting with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, Rice said this will be the first time in six years that Palestinian and Israeli leaders will examine the issues necessary for peace.
A U.S. official said the meeting will be held in the coming weeks. Egypt has offered to host it.
Rice is now in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for talks with King Abdullah.
As Rice announced her initiative, Israel announced plans to build new homes in the occupied West Bank.
In newspaper advertisements today, Israel's Housing Ministry invited bids for the construction of 44 new housing units in Ma'aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem.
Israel is required to freeze settlement activity under the so-called road map for peace. Israel says the road map permits what it calls the "natural growth" of settlements.
A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack said U.S. policy opposing new settlement activity has not changed.
On her tour, Rice did not meet officials of the Palestinian governing group, Hamas. The U.S. says Hamas is a terrorist group. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Rice is bringing a dangerous vision to the Middle East.