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Rice Ends Overseas Tour Focused on Mideast


The White House says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will brief President Bush Saturday on their trips to the Middle East.

Rice left London Friday to return to Washington after a trip to the Middle East, Germany and Britain aimed at reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and gaining support for the U.S. security plan for Iraq.

The secretary said on Thursday that she expects the pace of contacts on Middle East peace efforts to accelerate in the coming weeks.

The activity will be capped by Rice's three-way meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in mid-February.

While in London, Rice met late Thursday with Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Her trip also took her to Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Kuwait, she won support from moderate Arab nations for a U.S. plan to send more troops to stabilize Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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