U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Jordan from Oct. 14-18 in preparation for a U.S.- sponsored Middle East peace conference, the State Department said Thursday.
During the visit, Rice will meet with leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority in support of the ongoing efforts "to lay a foundation for serious negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible," McCormack said.
Before traveling to the Middle East, Rice will leave Washington on Oct. 11 for Moscow, where she will join U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates for talks with their counterparts on missile defense and other issues, McCormack said.
According to U.S. media reports, the United States has picked Annapolis, Maryland., as the expected site of a Middle East peace conference in November.
Rice will host the meeting and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are expected to attend. U.S. President George W. Bush may attend parts of the meeting.
The Middle East peace process has been stalled due to the violence between the two sides as well as the internal conflicts of Palestinian factions.