(dpa) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday in Tokyo called for Israel to move on with the Middle East peace process.
Rice met with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Tokyo and expressed concerns over the attacks against Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip.
Rice was quoted as saying that Olmert confirmed his nation's commitment to push peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
She told reporters after the meeting that Hamas must stop rocket attacks against Israel to avoid violence from escalating.
Rice left Tokyo Thursday and planned to travel to the Middle East from Washington on Monday to meet with leaders of the Palestine and Israel.
Olmert, who was on a three-day visit in Japan, reiterated his commitment to concluding agreements with the Palestinian side before the end of 2008.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also expressed Japan's readiness to support the Middle East peace process.