U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice told Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that the U.S. expects Israel to make more goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians in the coming days.

During their Saturday meeting in Jerusalem, Rice specifically asked Mofaz to release more Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons, carry out significant steps to further ease daily life conditions of the Palestinian population and to hand over security control of more West Bank cities to the PA.

Rice will meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Vice Premier Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

Rice landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday morning for a series of meetings with top officials on both sides.

Rice’s trip marks the second time she has held separate meetings with the two leaders in the region. Sharon and Abbas plan a summit just afterward, on Tuesday.

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