The State Department announced yesterday that Secretary Rice will act on the President’s direction at the United Nations General Assembly to lead a new “diplomatic effort” in the region by visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories Sunday through Thursday.
According to the announcement, Secretary Rice will work to:
- Consult with the leaders of those nations who have a vision for a more moderate, peaceful, democratic, stable and prosperous Middle East
- Speak with them about Israeli-Palestinian issues; the general situation in the region; moving forward on the democracy agenda; and the threats to peace, stability, and moderation that range from Iran and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
The State Department says the trip will focus more on initial consultations with the neighboring leaders than a clear plan of action toward peace. In terms of whether she will directly address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the State Department spokesperson said, “I’d say it is an important component… Again, this, I would characterize more as a trip centered around consultations and really to follow up on some of her conversations that she had at the United Nations over the past couple of weeks and to go to the region and further explore some of the ideas that are out there and to see what the possibilities are; and have her focus with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian issues, really center on the security-related issues to see how we can move that forward; and then also as that relates to existing agreements like the Gaza movement and access agreement, how we might be able to move that forward. But I suspect that this is going to be a trip more about consultations in those areas.”
This trip will hopefully be just one of several Secretary Rice will make to the region. To make your voice heard – along with thousands of other Americans – that you want Secretary Rice to be engaged in active and sustained diplomacy in working toward a two-state solution, please go to CALME’s main page here.