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US prepares to present Middle East peace plan

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US prepares to present Middle East peace plan


Diplomatic efforts to end the Middle East crisis are intensfying but the international community remains divided over calls for a truce. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has dismissed growing pressure for an immediate ceasefire saying that it would do nothing to resolve the short or long-term situation.

“A ceasefire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and the terms of their choosing, and to threaten innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region. That would be a guarantee of future violence,” she said.

The United Nations has echoed Washington’s position. Middle East envoy Terje Roed Larsen says all sides recognise the need for major political changes. “If indeed a ceasefire is going to take hold, there has to be several international conferences where the key players meet in order to use leverage on the parties,” he said. The first such conference will take place in Rome on Wednesday where Rice and EU leaders will meet officials from Lebanon and other Arab states. However there will be no representatives from Syria, Iran or Israel.

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