Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves Sunday on a five-day trip to the Middle East.

Rice is expected to meet with Saudi King Abdullah in Jeddah and hold talks with Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak and foreign minister Aboul Gheit. Later, she will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

President Bush said he is sending Rice to the region to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders, to help Palestinians reform their security services and to support the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Ms. Rice last visited the region in July, during the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.