The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travelled to Israel from Lebanon on a visit aimed at creating conditions for what she called a “sustainable ceasefire” in Israel’s war with Hizbollah. Rice has said the circumstances must be right for any ceasefire to be declared. She reiterated the US view that Hizbollah is to blame for the conflict:
“We need always to be cognisant of, and looking to, what kind of Middle East we are trying to build. It is time for a new Middle East. It is time to say to those who do not want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail, they will not.”
Yesterday Rice met with leaders in Lebanon, including the pro-Syrian speaker of parliament, but had no direct contact with Hizbollah. There are unconfirmed reports she is to return to Beirut for more talks at a later stage. Rice will discuss the crisis with world leaders at an international conference in Rome tomorrow.