Rice hopeful of Mideast peace before Bush leaves

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is holding out hope of a Mideast peace agreement before President Bush leaves office.

Rice spoke today at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

In her words, "God willing and with the good will of the parties and the tireless work of the parties, we have a good chance of succeeding."

Rice is wrapping up a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in hopes of furthering the announced goal of brokering a Mideast peace deal by year's end.

Rice says she's had "very good" discussions. But she has offered few specific signs of progress.

Rice is on her seventh trip to the region since talks were relaunched. While Israel and the Palestinians say all key issues have been under discussion, there has been no word on agreements or breakthroughs.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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