White House aide Susan Rice to visit Israel for talks


National Security Adviser Susan Rice will travel to Israel on Wednesday and Thursday for regularly scheduled meetings with Israeli counterparts, the White House said on Tuesday.

Rice's visit, the first in her role as national security adviser, comes as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have collapsed. The Obama administration made clear that Middle East peace process talks are not on the agenda for her trip.

Rice is leading a multi-agency U.S. delegation to the U.S.-Israel Consultative Group that regularly brings together senior members of the governments of both countries to discuss bilateral and regional security issues, the White House said. The U.S. delegation includes representatives from the departments of State, Defense, Treasury and the intelligence community, the White House added.

Rice is due to meet separately with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.

Israel suspended participation in U.S.-brokered negotiations with the Palestinians after President Mahmoud Abbas' unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist group Hamas, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization.

Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Dan Grebler