Rice to visit Turkey, Middle East early November

By Xinhua

Washington : U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Turkey and the Middle East from Nov. 1 to 6, the State Department announced Wednesday.

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Rice is to attend an international meeting on Iraq in Istanbul, Turkey on Nov. 2-3, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

But before the Istanbul meeting, Rice will have talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara in a bid to ease tensions soaring after deadly clashes on the Iraqi border between Turkish forces and Kurdish rebels.

The White House reiterated earlier in the day its call for Turkey to show restraint as Turkish forces took aim at Kurdish rebels operating in northern Iraq.

Rice will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah from Nov. 4 to 6 to support the “serious effort underway to draft a joint document that could lay the foundation for negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians, the spokesman said.

Rice’s scheduled visit to Israel and the Palestinian autonomous region is believed to be part of preparation for the U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference due to be held in Maryland, the United States, before the end of the year.