Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would visit the White House for talks in coming months, US Secretary of State &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/14846_Condoleeza.html' target=_blank>Condoleeza Rice said last night. Mr Sharon and Mr Abbas were to have their first summit today. It was to be hosted by Egyptian President Sharm el-Sheikh in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and was expected to focus on security steps to stabilise a fragile de facto ceasefire, as Reuters reported.
Dr Rice named US Lieutenant-General William Ward to act as security co-ordinator for a budding new peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He was previously commander of the NATO Stabilisation Force in postwar Bosnia and had previous assignments to Egypt, Somalia, Germany and South Korea. General Ward would visit the region in the next few weeks "to make an initial assessment and will assist the Palestinian Authority to consolidate and expand their recent efforts on security, and encourage resumption of Israeli-Palestinian security co-ordination ", Dr Rice said. - Reuters, AFP, Los Angeles Times.