US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice intends to visit the Middle East in an attempt to seek calm the region, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. He added that Rice intends to visit t“at some point in the future” without giving further details on the timing.
Israeli ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon said that “now is not the right time for Rice to travel to the Middle East.”
Rice just returned from a trip to Russia and there is no timetable has been set for a Middle East visit.
Ayalon added that the conditions in the Middle East “are not conducive for her visit,” the Australian News Agency reported.
Meanwhile, McCormack said the US is currently focusing its diplomatic efforts on the UN after several European leaders called for international intervention in Lebanon.
McCormack said Rice would focus on what he described as the "roots" of the current violence, referring to the Lebanon based Hezbollah party.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan said the members of the security council would start to work on a detailed agreement that deploy multinational security force in south Lebanon.
Israeli air strikes have killed 41 people across Lebanon overnight on the sixth day of a bombardment that has caused the heaviest destruction in Lebanon in more than 20 years.
Lebanon’s special envoy to the UN Nouhad Mahmoud said the presence of any international force can contribute to easing the crisis but a peaceful settlement to the conflict must be reached politically. She also said that now was not the time for a visit by Rice.