Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Tuesday that Israel must loosen controls at border crossings to allow freer passage for Palestinians and economic development in areas that would one day be an independent Palestinian state.
Rice spoke in the Canadian capital a day after reports that a top Mideast envoy had criticized Israel for moving too slowly on negotiations to open borders around the Gaza Strip.
Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza over the summer after nearly 30 years. The territory, now under Palestinian control, is on the other side of Israel from the larger
Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, and Palestinians must cross Israel or go through Egypt to pass between the two areas.
"It is very clear that the crossings issues need to get resolved," Rice said.
She did not specifically call on Israel to change its border policies, but did not dispute the findings of envoy James Wolfensohn that Israel was stalling in the restoration of movement across the borders.