U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the advance of democracy and growing opposition to terrorism is making Middle East peace a realistic hope.
Speaking in Jerusalem Sunday, Mr. Rice urged Palestinians to fight terrorism and promote democratic reforms. And she said Israel should take no action that would, in her words, "prejudge a final settlement" with the Palestinians.
She spoke at a conference that included Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said Palestinians must choose between the path of peace and terrorism.
Monday, Ms. Rice is to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, international Mideast peace envoy James Wolfensohn said time is running out for Israel and Palestinians to reach a deal on opening the Gaza Strip's border.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.