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Time for a Palestinian State -Rice

PALESTINE, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed Israelis and Palestinians Monday to reach concrete understandings ahead of a US peace summit, saying the time had come for a Palestinian State.

Confirming that an international meeting would take place in Annapolis, Maryland, Rice said the creation of a Palestinian state was essential and that efforts to that end were US President George W. Bush's highest priority. "Frankly it is time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," Rice told a news conference after meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank on her seventh visit to the region this year.

"The US sees the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution, as absolutely essential to the future of not just the Palestinians and Israelis, but also the Middle East and indeed to American interests.

"We have got quite a long time to go but we are not going to tire until I have given my last ounce of energy and my last moment in office.

"This is going to be a serious and substantive conference that will advance the cause of the establishment of a Palestinian State. We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op," she said.

West Bank, Tuesday, AFP

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