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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next week to address a conference in Israel and meet Israeli and Palestinian officials, an American official said on Thursday.
ABC News reported that Rice would meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a three-day visit, but this was not immediately confirmed.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Israeli President Shimon Peres was hosting the conference that Rice would address on Wednesday. Peres had originally invited President Barack Obama but he was unable to attend and Rice was deputizing, he said.
Rice's speech to the conference would cover U.S. foreign policy generally and not be specifically devoted to the Middle East, the official said.
U.S. Middle East diplomacy has been entrusted to presidential envoy George Mitchell, who ended his latest shuttle mission to the region on Sunday with no sign of any imminent resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Mitchell met two Israeli negotiators in Washington on Thursday to continue talks on moving peace efforts forward and is scheduled to see Palestinian officials next Tuesday.
Obama has said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will report to him by mid-October on Mitchell's attempts to revive the peace talks, suspended since December.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said this week that Clinton would not make the report until after Mitchell's meetings next week.
(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip at the United Nations and Arshad Mohammed in Washington)