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Rice in Middle East to push peace talks


Tel Aviv : US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Sunday began a new round of talks to try to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward in Jerusalem.

Rice met Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss among other things Israel’s settlement policies in the Palestinian territories.

Rice Saturday on the flight to Tel Aviv had labelled as “a problem” the announcement that Israel was building around 1,300 new dwellings in an area of the Palestinian West Bank as a part of Jerusalem.

According to Israeli radio, Livni said before the meeting that she wanted to inform the US official of progress in negotiations with the Palestinians.

Rice is also to meet Israeli premier Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak before travelling to Ramallah to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.