Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Tuesday against increased international pressure on Israel, saying the country would not take "shortcuts" in the peace process with the Palestinians, reported dpa.
"The world must support the process that is being conducted and not expect Israel to carry out shortcuts which would hurt its ability to safeguard its needs," Livni said ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and of Sunday's meeting of international peace mediators in Egypt.
Livni met US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch to prepare for the Rice visit and meeting of the "Quartet" of Middle East peace sponsors - the US, European Union, Russia and United Nations, a statement by her office said.
Leaving for a five-day trip to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt Wednesday, Rice is due to hold talks in with Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Thursday and with Palestinian officials in Ramallah on Friday.
She is then scheduled to attend Sunday's Quartet meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.
The meeting marks one year since Israel and the Palestinians agreed at a US-sponsored summit in Annapolis, Maryland to revive peace negotiations after seven years of violence and make "every effort" to reach a peace deal before US President George W Bush leaves office in early 2009.
But the Annapolis talks have stalled amid a dispute over Jerusalem, as well as over political turmoil in Israel, where Ehud Olmert has resigned the premiership to fight corruption charges and new elections are now scheduled for February 10.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in Bucharest Monday and in Amman Sunday he did not believe it was still possible to reach a deal before the end-of-year deadline.
He reiterated the Palestinians are not interested in a partial agreement that excludes a settlement on Jerusalem, which Olmert is trying to push for during his final months at the head of a transitional government.
Reacting to Abbas' statement, State Department spokesman Robert Wood conceded Monday "the Israeli election does complicate things." But he said the US would "continue to work" with the parties to achieve a two-stae solution to the conflict.