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Secretary of State Rice Flies Back to Middle East

  • Heda Bayron

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has headed back to the Middle East in a second attempt to bring calm to the region this week. VOA's Heda Bayron reports from Kuala Lumpur, where the top U.S. diplomat discussed the crisis in Lebanon at a regional security forum.

Secretary Rice flew out Saturday, taking a package of proposals to the Israeli and Lebanese governments to try to end the crisis.

In Malaysia Friday, Asian diplomats at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah militants.

At the forum, Rice said the United States is concerned about humanitarian conditions in Lebanon. But she added changes must be made to the situation, including full Lebanese government authority in Hezbollah-controlled areas.

"We have to help the parties establish conditions for an early ceasefire that nonetheless does not return us to the status quo ante," she said.

Rice will meet with Israeli and Lebanese officials to discuss a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution next week.

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