Solana: Rice to visit Mideast to promote peace

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to the Middle East this month to try to promote peacemaking, senior European diplomat Javier Solana said after they met on Thursday. Asked if Rice were optimistic about prospects for peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians, Solana told reporters: "I don't think that optimism is the word. We have to stick to the word realism." Rice reviewed her plans at the State Department with Solana, the senior European Union diplomat who will make his own, separate trip to the area this month. They also had lunch at the White House with Stephen Hadley, President George W. Bush's national security adviser. "We will try to see how we can give a push to the peace process," Solana said. He declined to say whether Rice would try to set up a peace conference.