Rice calls for talks with Israel, Lebanon

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced plans Friday for talks with Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese leaders as part of a new U.S. diplomatic effort in the Middle East conflict, but warned that the United States would not support a cease-fire that fell short of disarming Hezbollah and restoring Lebanese government control.

On the eve of her foray into the crisis, Rice warned against the “false promise” of an immediate end to hostilities that would only trigger more violence “five or nine months” down the road.

“There are no answers that are easy, nor are there any quick fixes,” Rice said at a news conference outlining talks scheduled in Israel on Monday and a meeting about Lebanon with U.N., European and Arab officials on Wednesday in Rome.

“What I won’t do is go to some place and try to get a cease-fire that I know isn’t going to last,” she said.

The Bush administration is instead trying to develop a three-pronged plan that will address the political, economic and security aspects of an eventual resolution, Rice said. But she tried to lower expectations of what would be achieved during her trip.

“A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing, and to threaten innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region,” she told reporters at the State Department. “That would be a guarantee of future violence.”

The goal is to ensure that southern Lebanon is not a haven for private armies that attack neighboring states and “throw the whole country into chaos,” Rice said.

At the United Nations earlier Friday, Rice, Secretary General Kofi Annan and Security Council members met to discuss terms for a new international military force to deploy in Lebanon.

But there are deep fissures emerging over the mandate of its mission, and whether it would be dispatched to simply separate the warring parties or to tackle the dismantling of Hezbollah’s well-armed militia. The U.N. force’s structure, size and mandate will be discussed further in Rome, when Rice meets with the new Lebanon contact group.

On her trip, Rice will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, U.S. officials said. But in a noticeable gap in her trip, Rice will not go to the Arab world, because Arab leaders are concerned about hosting a U.S. visit that will not include a call for an end to hostilities.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were all uninterested in hosting a visit at this juncture, according to U.S. and Middle East officials.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners advise the public of of colorful fentanyl.  (Photo provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration)
After rainbow fentanyl pills found in Tulalip, police sound alarms

Investigators are concerned the pastel-colored pills may end up in the hands of children.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

A view of a 6 parcel, 4.4 acre piece of land in Edmonds, south of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Housing authority seeks more property in Edmonds

The Housing Authority of Snohomish County doesn’t have specific plans for land near 80th Avenue West, if its offer is accepted.

Most Read