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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Israeli government may have postponed Rice trip for internal political reasons

The report states:
 "It emerged Monday that Rice's visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in which she was expected to prod both sides to carry out proposed U.S. benchmarks aimed at resuming peace talks, was delayed due to a political crisis brewing in Jerusalem."
Draw your own conclusions.
Last update - 10:31 08/05/2007   
By Haaretz Staff

A senior government source said that the decision to postpone a visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is "unprecendented," Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
It emerged Monday that Rice's visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in which she was expected to prod both sides to carry out proposed U.S. benchmarks aimed at resuming peace talks, was delayed due to a political crisis brewing in Jerusalem.
Rice was due to arrive around May 15, but Israeli and Palestinian officials said the visit would be postponed due to the storm threatening Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government.
The radio quoted the source as saying Tuesday that the delay could be interpreted in the region as Washington's belief that there is no way to advance the peace process at the moment due to the turmoil in Israel.
According to the report, the source said that the decision to postpone had taken them by surprise, and that even as late as Monday, there had been coordination meetings with American officials at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed the change in plans and suggested Rice was putting off the trip because of the Israeli political turmoil.
"It's possible that she could make a stop in the Middle East on this trip, although I would not expect, on this trip, that she would travel to Israel and the Palestinian areas," he said. "There's obviously a lot of politics in Israel that they are working through at this point but we are going to continue our efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian track."
It was not immediately clear when Rice would return to Israel and the Palestinian Authority or where else she may visit in the Middle East on the trip.

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