Following an earlier meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud
Abbas, U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, met in Jerusalem with
the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.

The Israeli Army Radio reported that Rice urged Olmert to strengthen the Gaza cease-fire deal, and expressed American support to what she described as the “Israeli restraint of violations to the truce by Palestinian groups”.

A source at Olmert's office reported that he informed Rice on his meeting with Omar Suleiman, Egypt's Intelligence Chief, regarding the cease fire and the efforts to release the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

The source added that Olmert and Rice also discussed the Iranian issue.

Commenting on Olmert's speech made earlier this week, Rice said that it is an important step that could advance the peace process in the Middle east.

During the meeting, Rice updated Olmert on the talks she held with the Palestinian President in the West Bank city of Jericho.

On Monday, Olmert delivered a speech in Sder Boker and said that Israel would accept a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank in exchange for Palestinians relinquishing their demand for a return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

The issues of Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem are considered the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Olmert's Chief of Staff Yoram Turbowitz, his military adviser, Major General Gadi Shamni, the prime minister's diplomatic adviser, Shalom Turgeman, and his media adviser, Asaf Shariv, attended the Olmert-Rice meeting.

The American delegation included U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch and National Security Council Director for Near East and North African Affairs Elliot Abrams, Haaretz added.

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