US Vice President Dick Cheney will travel to the Middle East and Turkey later this month to ratchet up the US effort to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said Monday. ( dpa )
Cheney's trip to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Turkey begins on March 16. During meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Cheney will remind them of their obligations under the roadmap peace plan.
"His goal is to reassure people that the United States is committed to a vision of peace in the Middle East, that we expect relevant parties to uphold their obligations on the road map," President George W Bush said.
Bush's goal of reaching a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement by the time he leaves office next year has been endangered by some of the most intense violence in years between the Israeli military and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
"This is a part of the world where people have heard promises before, and they've been vague promises," Bush said, urging an end to the violence. "Now, they've got a president and an administration willing to work for two states, two democracies, side by side in peace."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni later Monday.