American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to meet today with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders in an attempt to strengthen the ceasefire and encourage renewed contacts between Israel and the Palestinian unity government expected to be established in the near future.
Official sources say that Rice's visit to Jerusalem is designed to show American support for the negotiating process which began on Sunday with the ceasefire and that is expected to lead to the setting up of a Palestinian national unity government.
Prime Minister Olmert is expecting Rice’s visit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho to encourage him to step up his efforts in establishing a new Palestinian government which he hopes will accept the principles of the Road Map as well the terms of the Quartet.
Rice is to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem after her talks with Abbas. She will ask Olmert to help boost PA President Abbas by alleviating the siege on the Gaza Strip and removing roadblocks in the West Bank.