US makes new Mid-East peace bid
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has begun a visit to Israel seeking to add fresh impetus to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. ( BBC )
Despite four months of negotiations since the Annapolis summit, there is still little sign of tangible progress.
Ms Rice's visit comes when talks between the Israelis and Palestinians appear to have lost all momentum.
She is expected to urge both sides to do more to fulfil their commitments to the peace plan known as the road map.
She will be holding meetings in Jerusalem and the Jordanian capital Amman, just three weeks after her last visit.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of flouting the road map by continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and by failing to relax the restrictions on ease of movement for Palestinians there.
For its part, Israel claims the Palestinians are still not doing enough to crack down on militants.
Ms Rice is hoping significant progress can be achieved before President George W Bush's visit to the region in May.
He has expressed confidence in a framework peace agreement being reached before he leaves office in January.
However, few Israelis or Palestinians share his optimism.