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Rice heads for Rome after Middle East mission

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Rice heads for Rome after Middle East mission


It has been another day of intense diplomatic activity with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visiting Israel. After talks with her, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed the campaign against Hizbollah would continue. Olmert said Rice agreed that disarming Hizbollah and deploying an international force in southern Lebanon were the key objectives. She also met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the conflict in Gaza. She said there was a need to remain focused on establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. There will be some relief that Israel has agreed to allow airlifts to Lebanon. But Rice is likely to be pressed by European leaders at a conference on the crisis in Rome tomorrow to call for an immediate ceasefire.

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