Rice: US shows new interest in old peace plan

The United States is offering new support for a dormant Arab proposal it hopes will hold promise for peace among Israel and its Arab neighbors and spur efforts to resolve the underlying question of a political settlement for the Palestinians. "I hope that this speaks to the clear need for an Israeli-Arab reconciliation to accompany ... the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said after a Mideast strategy session with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday night. Rice, who confirmed speculation she would travel to the region this month, sees the plan as a potential parallel to an Israeli-Palestinian peace drive the United States helped launch in 2003 that has also been in mothballs as violence rose and Israel-Palestinian relations deteriorated. "The Israelis would have their own ideas about how an Israeli-Arab reconciliation could take place, but I always think that it's a favorable matter when people are talking about resolution of long-standing conflicts," Rice told reporters.