'Israelis, PA privately discussing deal'

Rice says talks should intensify in next few months, claims all key issues being discussed seriously.

rice walks the walk 224. (photo credit: AP)
rice walks the walk 224.
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are privately discussing a peace deal and the negotiations should intensify in the next few months, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday. "I do know how seriously they are discussing all of the key issues," Rice told reporters on Air Force One as she returned from a Middle East trip with US President George W. Bush. "I think you're going to see them intensifying those discussions over the next several months." Rice said negotiations were continuing behind closed doors. "I can tell you for certain that there is more going on in private but that's the way people actually negotiate," Rice said. "They're not going to talk in front of the cameras about what it is they're doing and if they did, the negotiations would be dead on that day," she said. Responding to Arab criticism that Bush leans too far in supporting Israel, Rice said, "The president isn't pro this or pro that. The president is pro-democracy and pro-peace."