The Bush administration is signaling its intention to remain involved in the Middle East peace process at the highest levels, sending the president's national security adviser to the region, just as Secretary of State Colin Powell wraps up a trip there.
White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer says National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice will meet with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a two day trip to the region beginning Saturday. She will first travel to London, where she is to give a speech on Thursday.
Secretary of State Powell is now wrapping up a trip to the region, where he met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He also held consultations with senior United Nations, European Union and Russian officials about the so-called road map to peace for the Middle East.
White House spokesman Fleischer describes the Rice visit as another step in getting both sides to build on the progress made at a summit earlier this month in Aqaba, Jordan with President George W. Bush, where the Israeli and Palestinian leaders both pledged to take steps to implement a road map for peace.