Middle East Turmoil Takes Center Stage in Washington

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is coming to Washington on Thursday at the invitation of Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the Middle East turmoil with diplomats from the United States, the European Union and Russia.

"I hope we will all have a chance to review where we are, and where we go from here, and what steps have to be taken to press ahead with the peace issue," Annan told reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Annan's meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the State Department.

In addition to Powell, Annan will be meeting with Javier Solana, a representative of the European Union; Foreign Minister Josep Pique of Spain, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union; and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, according to a United Nations spokesman.

"I hope in Washington all of us will have the chance to speak frankly and share ideas and decide what happens next," said Annan.

While the four are conferring, the House is scheduled Thursday to consider a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism and commending President Bush for his leadership in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to House Republican Leader Dick Armey.

The resolution, which supports Israel and condemns "ongoing support of terror by Yasser Arafat," is being sponsored by House Republican Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.

The White House is not happy about the resolution, fearing that it could interfere with fragile peace efforts. But it is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

The Senate plans to take up a similar resolution very soon, one that will support Israel as a "front-line state in the war against terrorism."

The so-called "Lieberman resolution," introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) has the strong support of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who called it "a very appropriate way with which to state our continued allegiance and alliance with Israel."

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