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US pushing for Middle East progress

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The United States is making a last minute effort to bridge the differences between the Israelis and the Palestinians ahead of the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis.

Fifty countries and organisations will try to kick-start the stalled peace process, but they are still trying to establish a framework for the talks.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will try to resolve some key issues tonight when she has dinner with Israel's foreign minister and the chief Palestinian negotiator.

Meanwhile George W Bush has released a statement saying he is personally committed to a plan that would result in a Palestinian state.

Mr Bush called the meeting an "important opportunity" to advance peace and freedom in the Middle East. © 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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