Rice Struggling to Make Headway on Mideast Trip

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may have to be postponed
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2007 7:43 AM CDT
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat, center, upon her arrival at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his position on the upcoming peace conference in talks with Condoleeza Rice today, asserting that Palestinians and Israelis must agree on a joint document outlining the steps to peace before the conference, the AP reports. This differs sharply from the Israeli position Rice heard yesterday in Jerusalem, which is that no statement of principles should be negotiated before the conference.

Rice is on a four-day shuttle mission, attempting to find common ground in advance of the conference, scheduled for late next month in Annapolis, MD. State department officials suggested yesterday that it may be postponed; Rice tried to dial down expectations yesterday, saying the meeting isn't likely to produce any significant "breakthroughs," and she cautioned Israel to be "extremely careful" in the precarious time before the conference.