U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is heading Sunday to the Middle East for visits to Oman, Saudia Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, and Turkey.
U.S officials say Mr. Cheney's talks will cover Iraq, the situations in Lebanon and Syria, Iran's rising influnce in the region, violence in Gaza, and soaring gasoline prices in the United States.
He is expected to encourage Saudi Arabia to step up diplomatic ties with Iraq.
Cheney also is expected to encourage Israel and the Palestinians to move forward with a peace deal.
In Turkey, the U.S. vice president is expected to discuss Turkey's recent incursion against Iraq-based rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.