Rice Blames Israeli Politics for Peace Delay

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CBNNew.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blamed the political situation in Israel for failure to reach a negotiated peace by year's end.

"Even though there was not an agreement by the end of the year, it is really largely because of the political situation in Israel," Rice told reporters aboard Air Force One as she and President Bush returned from a meeting of Pacific Rim nations in Peru.

Despite concentrated efforts by outgoing President Bush and Secretary Rice, including two visits by Bush and many more by Rice to the region since the November 2007 U.S.-sponsored conference in Annapolis, Maryland, there has been little substantive progress.

Meanwhile, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Bush will meet in Washington on Monday for their last official visit before both leave office.

Olmert will also meet with Vice President Dick Cheney, national security advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of State Rice and various Jewish congressmen and community leaders.

Olmert, who announced his resignation in September in the midst of pending criminal indictments, is presiding over an interim government until elections on February 10. Bush leaves office on January 20.

On Monday evening, Olmert and his wife, Aliza, will join the President and first lady Laura Bush for dinner at the White House.

Source: The Associated Press

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