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US working for Gaza truce: Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the United States is working with Israel and regional partners to establish a durable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2009 11:01 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the United States is working with Israel and regional partners to establish a durable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

"We are discussing with the Israelis and with others what we can do to bolster the possibilities of getting to the durable ceasefire that we are all seeking," Rice told reporters on Thursday.

"And I think you know that there are several elements to that and we are working with regional partners and also with the Israelis," she added without offering details.

The Israeli government said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will travel to Washington on Friday to conclude a US Israeli agreement on measures aimed at preventing arms smuggling into Gaza.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dispatched Livni on a last minute mission "to sign a comprehensive US Israeli agreement aimed at treating the issue of arms smuggling," his office said in a statement.

The trip follows intensive discussions in recent days between senior US and Israeli officials, including a telephone conversation between Rice and Olmert earlier on Thursday.

Israeli Foreign Ministry director general Aharon Abramovich arrived in Washington on Thursday to prepare the agreement on "the long term treatment of the issue of arms smuggling into Gaza," according to a senior official.

The understanding would include intelligence sharing on arms smuggling and monitoring of smuggling routes into Gaza, he said.

The Israeli offensive in Gaza has left more than 1,100 Palestinians dead since it began on December 27.