US Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Israel today (Saturday) for a round of talks on restarting the Middle East peace process by implementing a new international peace plan.
Mr. Powell will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials before going to the West Bank on Sunday to meet with the new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas.
On the flight to Israel, Mr. Powell told reporters that the Israelis and Palestinians need to take immediate steps to ease tensions and move the peace process forward. In the Secretary's words, "Let's get on with it."
Mr. Powell said it is clear the Palestinians must improve security to stop terrorist attacks, and the Israelis must take steps to ease restrictions on Palestinians.
The Secretary of State will discuss with the two sides the new "road map" to Mideast peace proposed by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia. The plan lays the groundwork for creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.
After his talks with the Israelis and Palestinians, Mr. Powell will brief officials in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
The White House says Prime Minister Sharon will meet President Bush again in Washington on May 20th.