Condoleezza Rice says “resolve” is needed to the end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but that she had no specific plan. The US Secretary of State is continuing her week-long visit to the region: she has already had talks with Israel’s foreign minister.
At a press conference Rice said: “It is a time when extremist forces are attempting to make it impossible to have the kind of Middle East in which Israelis and Palestinians and other people of the Middle East can live in peace and in which democracy can make progress, but we are determined to resist their efforts and also to strengthen the hand of those who wish to resist their efforts.”
Today, Rice is to meet the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and later Jordan’s King Abdullah. The initiative is part of a wider strategy, Arab states have said that if the US wants their support in Iraq it must engage more in the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
On Saturday one issue is thought to have been resolved. Palestinian government workers signed an agreement to end a four-month strike over unpaid wages. The crisis began after the West imposed an aid embargo on the Hamas-led government over its refusal to recognise Israel’s right to exist. The action quickly turned to violence as workers clashed with security officials.