Ramallah, West Bank- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Palestinian leaders on Saturday.
The hastily arranged visit, Rice”s third this year, was itself a sign of the importance Washington places on the removal of Jewish settlements from the occupied Gaza Strip as a step towards reviving peacemaking.
Rice held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his ranch on Friday to push for close coordination with the Palestinians on the withdrawal, set to start next month.
She was due to meet President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian officials in the West Bank, who complain that Israel is keeping them in the dark about crucial issues.
"We need information how the disengagement will take place, when, where will it begin, what is the fate of the border crossings, what is the fate of the Palestinian airport," Abbas told Reuters in an interview. "We”re not getting any answers."
Rice waved as she arrived at the Muqata compound in Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian leadership.
A senior U.S. State Department official said that in meetings with the Palestinians, Rice would: "encourage continued effective use of the security forces to enforce the ”calm”."
"The goal is to spur them on to effective action (by the security forces) and effective cooperation (with the Israelis)," said the official, who did not want to be named.