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US, Egypt Disagree on Timing of Cease-fire Between Israel, Hezbollah


The top diplomats from the United States and Egypt have publicly disagreed on the timing of a proposed cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit spoke during a joint press conference after holding talks Tuesday in Washington.

Gheit said a cease-fire is "imperative," and that officials must bring the conflict to an end as soon as possible.

Rice responded that everyone agrees a cease-fire should happen as soon as possible, but not until - in her words -"conditions are conducive to do so." She said a resolution to the crisis cannot be reached hastily and must have what she called "lasting value."

Rice also said she will travel to the region when it is appropriate, necessary and helpful to do so.

Meanwhile, UN diplomat Terje Roed-Larson said a UN delegation has presented Israel with "concrete ideas" on ways to end the violence between Israel and Hezbollah. Roed-Larson met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem Tuesday.

Livni said Israel will be ready for a cease-fire if Hezbollah returns captured soldiers and Lebanese troops take over control of areas along the Israeli border. She said Israel also needs a guarantee of future disarmament of Hezbollah.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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