Rice raises settlement construction issue in talks with Israeli leaders
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she will press Israeli officials about settlement construction during her visit to the region. Rice conveyed ongoing Israeli construction in areas the Palestinians want for their future state "has the potential to harm the negotiations."
Rice's statement Sunday comes as she starts a visit aimed at prodding Israelis and Palestinians closer to a final peace deal. Speaking ahead of a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Rice said she would bring the construction issue up with Livni.
On Saturday, Rice called continuing Israeli settlement building "a problem" and said Israel had not done enough to ease restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank. "Look, it's a problem and I think it's a problem that we're going to address with the Israelis," Rice said.
Israel announced last week it would build 1,300 new housing units in east Jerusalem.