Friday, July 28, 2006
Rice tickles the ivories while the mideast burns
Rice has Mideast on her mind at Asian summit - Yahoo! News: "KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took a day off from her bid to untangle the Middle East crisis, but fallout from the fighting trailed her to an East Asia security summit.
Rice flew all night from Europe to Malaysia to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum (ARF), after a crisis conference in Rome and visits to Beirut and Jerusalem.
But amid signs she could be preparing a return trip to the Middle East, she found new foreign policy problems, including opposition to Israel's Lebanon offensive and North Korea's intransigence on nuclear talks.
A senior State Department official said she would leave Malaysia on Friday, a day earlier than first thought -- but Rice refused to reveal her destination.
'I have not yet made a determination about my further travel,' Rice said.
'I am willing and ready to go back to the Middle East at any time,' she said at a press conference with Southeast Asian ministers and dialogue partners.
Earlier, when asked whether a new Middle East shuttle was being planned, Rice told reporters on her plane: 'Stay tuned.'"