Peres invites Bush to visit Israel next year

President Shimon Peres on Wednesday invited US President George W. Bush to visit Israel during the country's 60th anniversary celebrations next year. Peres was speaking before meeting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Peres, 83, a veteran statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, took office as Israel's ceremonial president last month. "We are nearing our 60th anniversary," Peres said. "I truly hope we shall celebrate it in an atmosphere of peace, and I shall use your good offices to invite President Bush to the celebrations next May." Rice is meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss Bush's call for a Mideast peace conference in the fall. She had meetings scheduled with Israel's foreign minister, defense minister, premier and president on Wednesday and was set to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other officials on Thursday.