US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is preparing for her Mideast visit next week, meeting today in Washington with Dov Weisglass, a top aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Despite an emerging Mideast cease-fire, Weisglass will make it clear that it's too early for formal peace talks. Israel believes a truce between the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups must not replace the first phase of the “roadmap” peace plan--which demands that terror groups like Hamas be dismantled. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said that won't happen, but until it does, Israel is not prepared to discuss final status issues like Jerusalem, refugees and a Palestinian state.
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