Rice to discuss ME with Annan, Solana

Rice's trip meant to "get everybody on the same page about the facts."

rice 298 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
rice 298 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to New York to discuss the crisis in Lebanon with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the European Union foreign policy chief, Annan's top deputy said Wednesday. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that Israel intended to work with the international community on the basis of the G-8 declaration which called for the deployment of an international supervisory force in south Lebanon to bring about a cease fire in the region. Annan, Rice and Javier Solana will have a private dinner Thursday evening after Annan briefs the full UN Security Council on Lebanon, said UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. Malloch Brown said Rice's trip is meant to "get everybody on the same page about the facts of what's happening in this very confusing situation." He said there would be a larger meeting with senior UN and US officials, members of a UN mission that has been in Mideast, and others either before the dinner or on Friday. Annan and the three-member UN team that was just in the region are returning to New York on Wednesday. It was unclear whether the mission, led by Annan's political adviser Vijay Nambiar, would also report to the council. "There is no doubt that the ability of the international community to influence these extremely dangerous events in the region will be enormously helped if everybody is as close to each other as possible in terms of the messages they're delivering to the leaders of the region," Malloch Brown said. Rice is likely to make a trip to the Middle East this weekend, but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said she had not yet fixed a date. "She wants to time it so that it is useful and helpful in getting a cease-fire that is lasting and brings a durable cessation to violence," he said. On Tuesday, Rice held a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in which she said she would make a trip to the troubled region when it will be "helpful and necessary." First, Rice said, she would receive an assessment of the situation from the UN team on Thursday.