Police Probe of Olmert Plagues Rice Peace Trip

Investigation could trip up peace deal Rice calls 'achievable'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 5, 2008 4:19 AM CDT
In this handout photo released by the Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, meet in Jerusalem, Monday, May 5, 2008.    (AP Photo/ GPO, Moshe Milner, HO)
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(Newser) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's talks in Jerusalem yesterday to bolster the Mideast peace process were overshadowed by an intensifying police investigation into activities by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reports the New York Times. A court gag order is keeping investigation details under wraps, but observers indicate the probe is linked to bribery.

“The issue under investigation is serious, of that there can be no doubt,” said an Israeli newspaper columnist, who predicted that Olmert "will have to resign his post if not more" if accusations are proved true. The probe is seen as a potentially major stumbling block to the peace process. But Rice, who held meetings with Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, was optimistic, calling an Israeli-Palestinian accord this year “an achievable goal.”