U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to arrive in the Middle East at this hour for two days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Ms. Rice held political talks in Turkey today (Sunday), then flew to Israel. She plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (late today) in Jerusalem, and will travel to the West Bank Monday to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarters in Ramallah.

The U.S. secretary of state says she hopes to lend support to recent progress Israelis and Palestinians have made toward restoring the peace process. Mr. Abbas and Mr. Sharon are to meet Tuesday, in a summit hosted by Egypt, to work on reviving the so-called "roadmap" to peace.

Ms. Rice will not attend the summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. She says the United States wants the peace process to be led by the parties most directly affected, and other states in the region.