U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Israel for two days of talks to push a new peace plan for the Middle East.
Mr. Powell is to begin talks shortly in Jerusalem with the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom. These talks will set the stage for a busy day of meetings Sunday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
He is scheduled to meet Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his new Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen.
But the secretary of state will not meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. This in line with U.S. and Israeli policy to isolate Mr. Arafat, who President Bush says should be replaced.
Mr. Powell is expected to urge both sides to take confidence-building measures to ensure the success of the road map to peace plan.
The plan is supported by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The document calls for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.