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Rice Ends Talks With Israeli, Palestinian Leaders

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has gained agreement from Israel to lift some restrictions on the Palestinians after talks with top officials from both sides.

Rice did not make any public comments as she left Israel Thursday, after meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Israel agreed to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip at regular intervals over the next month.

News reports also say the United States has proposed a $20 million plan to boost Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security force.

The plan is part of a larger U.S. goal to support Mr. Abbas and his more moderate Fatah faction in its power struggle with the militant group Hamas.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also said Israel agreed "to consider favorably" the use of tax revenues it collects on the Palestinians' behalf for humanitarian projects for the Palestinian people. Israel has withheld the revenue after Hamas took power in March after winning Palestinian elections.

Wednesday, Rice met with Mr. Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and pledged to "redouble" U.S. efforts to improve conditions for the Palestinian people.

Mr. Abbas said talks between his Fatah party and Hamas on forming a unity government have broken down. He said he is considering future moves.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh - a Hamas leader - accused Rice of serving Israel's interests.

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